By Justin Prince
The Windsor AKO Fratmen are preparing for their home opener after winning their first game last week.
Coming off a 35-14 win against the Hamilton Hurricanes at Tim Hortons Field last Sunday, the Fratmen are preparing to face the London Beefeaters at home on Aug. 22. During the team’s first press conference at the Windsor-Essex Television studios Aug. 19, Fratmen president and owner Mike Morencie said he expects “a pretty spirited game” against their rivals after incidents on and off the field between the two teams last season. When they met last season, the Fratmen beat the Beefeaters 30-17 at Windsor Stadium.
“I tell my players ‘one play at a time, one quarter at a time, one half at a time, one game at a time, one win at a time,’ and that’s the kind of mentality that we’ll take going into the London game,” said Fratmen head coach Mike Lachance. “We know what to expect out of them. I don’t think there’s going to be any surprises. We’ve played the team three times a year for the past few years, so we’ll expect their best shot.”
The Fratmen had both positives and negatives to take from their win against Hamilton. The AKO Fratmen had 279 yards on offence while scoring four touchdowns. The team also forced five turnovers on downs, three fumbles and one interception in the victory. The Fratmen also had 16 penalties for 160 yards in the win. Lachance said it was a great game for confidence, but the team will need to work on some aspects of their game, including discipline and defensive assignments.
“We’ve got a lot to improve on,” said Lachance. “It was kind of one of those coach’s dream games where you play well enough to beat the opponent up a little bit, but at the same time, you can watch film and correct a lot.”
One of the main impact players who has thrived so far is wide receiver Llevi Noel. Noel, who played for the University of Toronto Varsity Blues last season, was described by Morencie as a physical specimen. The 2014 Canadian Interuniversity Sport Football Second-Team All-Canadian is also a potential first-round Canadian Football League draft prospect according to Morencie, who had spoken with CFL officials. Noel was named the team’s Offensive Player of the Week and had 92 receiving yards and a touchdown against the Hurricanes.
“Our first practice a couple weeks ago, Stephen Russo, one of our wide receivers, said ‘I wasn’t aware we signed (Detroit Lions wide receiver) Calvin Johnson. When did that happen?’ as he whipped defensive back after defensive back after defensive back,” said Morencie. “He’s a great young man with a ton of athletic ability and he’s going to be real tough for other teams to stop in the future.”
Lachance said it’s important for the team to not get ahead of themselves after their win in Week 1. He said there’s always competition in practice, meaning if someone doesn’t have 100 per cent effort mentally during practice, then they might get replaced in the lineup. He plans to work as hard as he can to prevent his team from having a letdown if they lose to London, but is confident that won’t happen with the leadership on the team.
“Two words. Short memory. It’s what you need to be a great football player in this league,” said free safety and Fratmen Defensive Player of the Week Richard Veenstra, when asked the same question. “You need to have a short memory for the positives and the negatives.”
The team’s season home opener will be held at Windsor Stadium and will start at 7 p.m. The Fratmen also announced all other home games will be played at École Secondaire Catholique E. J. Lajeunesse, which Morencie said should be ready for their second home game against the Grand River Predators Sept. 12.