The Springfield Sabres enter Division 3 as a fresh face in the Winnipeg High School Football League. But their coach is not new to the game, nor are a number of their key players.
Tom Walls is a former head coach of the Churchill Bulldogs as well as in New York, where he spent 19 years. He, along his wife Shandy also started the highly successful Sunrise Coyotes program in 2013, where a number of graduating bantam players will coming from for the Sabres’ inaugural season.
“Short term, our goal is simple, get better every day,” Walls says.
“Long term is more complicated. Obviously we want to establish a football program that will prosper for years to come, but our long term goal is more about what we hope to see develop with our players. We hope to instil habits and values which will make them excellent employees, spouses, and parents. If we can do that, the wins and losses will take care of themselves.”
Leading the charge offensively are Johnny Toledo and Wesley Kwan, two key members of a Coyotes squad that made it to back-to-back MMFA bantam championships, winning the latter. Defensively, Kolby White, Ross Dick and Corbin Dunn are players to keep an eye out for.
But the biggest x-factor for the squad is quarterback Tommy Walls.
“[Tommy] has spent the offseason diligently working every day on some aspect of the game,” Walls says.
“He shot up three inches and put on 15 pounds. He is young (grade 10) but but approaches football with poise and maturity. He could be our offensive difference between being one dimensional and being able to keep defences off balance.”