By: Mike Still (@mikestill94)
Photo caption: Jackson Tachinski is back for his senior year, and will lead the Trojans under centre. Photo by Gavin Simon.
Over the next month, manitobafootballfeed will be previewing each of the 31 varsity teams battling for supremacy in the Winnipeg High School Football League, which kicks off its regular season on Wednesday, Sept. 5. Below is a breakdown of the Vincent Massey Trojans.
Team: Vincent Massey Trojans
Head Coach: Kelsey McKay, entering 10th season with the program
Conference/Division: Gustafson Conference, Division 1
2017 Regular Season Record: 5-2
2017 Playoff Record: 1-1 (lost in semi-final to St. Paul’s)
Last season was largely considered a re-building year for the Vincent Massey Trojans, who missed out on a trip to the ANAVETS bowl for the first time since 2014. This was likely due in part to the fact that the team returned just a quarter of its roster from the year prior.
This year however, the Trojans are loaded with returning talent, as they have eight returning starters on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.
Offensively, coach McKay’s team has “veteran players at all skill positions, including the offensive line.” Leading the charge under centre will be grade 12 quarterback Jackson Tachinski. The six-foot-three, 195 pound pivot has a year of varsity experience under his belt, and will look to improve on his performance from last season. He was also recently a member of Team Manitoba’s U18 provincial team squad.
Tachinski will have plenty of weapons at his disposal in 2018, including a two-headed monster in the backfield in #CFC100 Vaughn Lloyd and fellow grade 12 Breydon Stubbs.
Lloyd (five-foot-eight, 171 pounds) returns to the squad after a productive 2017 campaign, and also represented Manitoba at the Canada Cup earlier this month. Stubbs (six feet, 180 pounds) is a new addition to the team, after a successful run with the St. Vital Mustangs of the Midget Football League of Manitoba, where he is a former league MVP. The latter was also a multi-time offensive MVP for Manitoba during this year’s Canada Cup.
Up front, the offensive line will be anchored by six foot, 260 pound grade 12 Mark Rauhaus, who can line up at either centre or guard. He is also agile, having ran a 4.9 40 yard dash in the past, and was another member of Team Manitoba’s roster for the 2018 Canada Cup.
Other players to keep an eye out for are junior receiver Shadrack Nkiasi-Nsebwir and fellow grade 11 Victor Olaniran, who will suit up at offensive tackle. Both players are currently ranked in the #CFC100 for the 2020 class.
Coach McKay is quite excited about what his team will bring to the table in the front seven, saying that “the defensive line and linebackers will be tough to run against and are also loaded with veteran experience.”
Leading the way will be the dynamic duo of grade 12’s Kyler Filewich and Jack Shaffer at the defensive end positions.
Filewich is ranked in the #CFC100 entering the season, and at six-foot-eight, has the size to wreak havoc in his senior year. He’ll also line up at tight end, in order to further employ his athleticism. To top it all off, Filewich is also an elite-level basketball player whose parents both played for the University of Manitoba.
Shaffer (six-foot-three, 220 pounds) is also coming off an appearance with Team Manitoba at the Canada Cup, and has an effective pass rush that should be even more potent in 2018.
Other seniors to keep an eye out for are DB/QB Quinn Adolfson and fellow defensive backs Brandon Kamenz and Keyshawn Gaskin, who will anchor the cornerback positions. A few up-and-coming stars include junior WR/DB Jayden Zimmer and sophomore linebacker Maxim Bosc.
Short and long-term goals
Coach McKay had a significant amount of representation at both the U16 and U18 provincial level this summer, and hopes to “start the season healthy,” due to this fact. The team is also looking forward to battling against the Riffel Royals (Regina High Schools Athletic Association) in a cross-province tilt during Labour Day weekend.
Long term, Coach McKay’s goal is to have his team back competing in the ANAVETS Bowl, and “to be playing our best at that time, hoping to compete with the likes of [last year’s finalists] St. Paul’s and Dakota.”