Most schools would instantly regress if they lost their starting quarterback, running back and tight end.
Most schools aren’t Upper Canada College.
The Blues are seeking a berth in the Metro Bowl after losing in The Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Association (CISAA) finals to rival St. Andrew’s College 27-22 last season.
St. Andrew’s was the eventual Metro Bowl finalist, adding even more lustre to the rivalry.
UCC assistant coach John-Paul Cavalluzzo, who works with head man Dave Shaw, understands the impact of the three pivotal members of their offence who have graduated.
“Losing (quarterback) Seamus Power and (tight end/defensive end) Peter Hannon and (running back) Alex Malone absolutely is kind of devastating to our offence,” Cavalluzzo said after Thursday’s practice.
Taking over at quarterback is a familiar name: Power’s younger brother Liam has won the starting role, and Cavalluzzo is very optimistic about the new faces of the team.
“(Liam’s) a bit more athletic, and a little bit less of a thrower so our offence is going to be more run-oriented this year.
“We have two great tailbacks, Pelle Jorgen and Christopher Amoah. With those three guys in our backfield we should be well suited to go deep into the playoffs in our league championship,” Cavalluzzo said.
UCC’s junior varsity team went 3-2 last season and many of the players from that squad will have to adjust to the nuances of the senior game if the Blues are to remain a Metro Bowl contender.
“We do run a more advanced system on offence and defence and typically our JV guys are the ones who are making those mental mistakes, because our varsity guys have been in the varsity program for two or more years,” Cavalluzzo said.
UCC opens their season against Trinity College School on Saturday, a team that they trounced last October 50-7. Cavalluzzo outlined UCC’s preparations and strategy going into this weekend’s opener.
“We basically have been studying tape from the past four games we played against them from the past four years. All we can do is watch that tape and game plan from what their defensive coordinator showed us in the past.
“We’re hoping to add a few different wrinkles offensively this year and hopefully we can begin using our new offensive weapons this Saturday,” Cavalluzzo said.
Still, even with a new arsenal of gifted offensive stars, the loss to St. Andrew’s last year still lingers. UCC’s sophisticated playbook and attention to detail will be needed if they are to reign supreme.
“Each game we play against SAC is very close, and I think we come up with incredible game plans for playing St. Andrew’s College because they always do have a very talented team,” Cavalluzzo said.
“I think if we stay the course and continue to focus on our game plan against St. Andrew’s and any other team that we can definitely win our league and obviously compete with anyone in Southwestern Ontario.”