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Taber bantam Rebels hoping to get infusion of numbers

Posted on August 9, 2013 by Taber Times

Are you ready for some football?

Taber bantam Rebels head coach Garrett Simmons hopes the answer to that question is yes, as the team is looking to add a few more players to the roster this summer.

The Rebels will open camp Monday, Aug. 19 with a 6 p.m. practice at W.R. Myers High School, in preparation for a Southern Alberta Minor Football Association season that starts with a Sept. 7 road game in Medicine Hat against the Hawks.

“I’d be a lot more comfortable with another five players on the team — minimum,” said Simmons, who added this year’s version of the bantam Rebels looks to be a little short on numbers. “We didn’t have a great turnout for spring camp, and I don’t think we’re going to reach our typical number of over 30 players this summer, without some new faces.”

The team should have a talented core of returnees, but with a number of second-year bantam from last year moving on to the high school ranks, there are some spots up for grabs.

“We could definitely use a little more size,” said Simmons, who added most of his starters on the offensive and defensive lines graduated from bantam after last season. “Right now, it looks as though we will have mainly first-year players on the line, so a few more kids going into Grade 9 this fall would certainly be welcome.”

From a talent standpoint, Simmons added the Rebels should be fine at the skill positions, with a deep group of running back and receivers ready to go for September.

“It could be the most talented group of running backs I’ve ever had,” said Simmons. “Our quarterback is going to be very solid, so I’m not worried about anything there, and we should have enough receivers to keep opposing defences from keying on our running game.”

But in the game of football, depth is always at a premium. The coach added getting more players in camp will be key to the team’s ability to compete over the course of the seven-game regular season and into the playoffs.

“We had our starting running back go down in practice last year before the first game, and one of our starting receivers go down in week two, so you never know,” said Simmons of the two bad-luck injuries that impacted the Rebels in 2012. “We stayed healthy at every other position the rest of the year and last year, we had some depth to fall back on when guys went down. As it stands this season, that depth maybe isn’t there right now. Two or three more linemen wold go a long way towards filling out the depth chart.”

Those interested in playing for the bantam Rebels this fall, who are entering Grade 8 or Grade 9 this fall, can e-mail Simmons at familysimmons@hotmail.com for more information.

Practice sessions will go at 6 p.m. each day between Aug. 19-23. Players can also register on Aug. 19 at 6 p.m. at Myers, and will also be able to pick up their equipment that same day.

Rebels will kick off regular season play Sept. 7 and will host games Sept. 14 (Parkside at noon), Sept. 21 (Brooks at 2 p.m.), Sept. 28 (Medicine Hat Colts and 1 p.m. and Oct. 5 (Pincher Creek at 11 a.m.) before hitting the road Oct. 8 (Coaldale at 7 p.m.) and Oct. 12 (Raymond at 1 p.m.).

“The nice thing about bantam is the kids take a bus to road games, so parents don’t have to travel across the province with their kids every weekend like they do for some other sports,” said Simmons, who added the league split into two different divisions for 2013, as the Rebels landed in the Medicine Hat-based division. “We should have a lot of competitive games.”

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