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SVRSS Tigers take to the field

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A chill in the morning air and the leaves starting to change colour means more than just the onset of fall – it’s also time for another year of high school football.
The Swan Valley Regional Secondary School Tigers ended last year on a winning note, taking the consolation prize in the playoffs, the Murray Black Cup, and they enter this season with high hopes of building their season on that momentum.
Head coach Justin Petelski enters his third year helming the Tigers feeling there is some real enthusiasm from this year’s squad.
“We started this past Monday, and it’s the best turnout we’ve had to start a year that I’ve seen,” said Petelski, a longtime proponent of the high school team, having previously coached both the offense and the offensive line. “The first night we had 24 players out, and on the Friday, we had 27. So, the numbers look good – we usually get a few more when the school year starts.”
Coaching a football team requires plenty of help on the sidelines, and Petelski has several coaches to aid him this year. This includes previous head coaches Reg and Rod Ellingson (who in fact coached Petelski when he was a player). Reg Ellingson will guide the offense while Rod Ellingson will coach the defense.
As well, Ian Mullin will work with the offensive line and is also a junior coach, Scott Ellingson serves as an offensive assistant and is a junior coach as well.
The Tigers enter the year with some work to do on the defensive side of the ball - all the defensive starters from last year have moved on.
“We don’t have any starters on defense, but we do have seven returning starters on our offense,” noted Petelski.
Heading up this group of returning players is quarterback Damian Chernyk. He started as a Grade 10 player last year, and still has two years of football in front of him. The Tigers also return Grade 12 running back Clayton Spencer, who Petelski says they will likely lean on heavily this year.
Also returning is Ryan Bardwell, a Grade 11 receiver, who could be a big help to the offense this year.
“We also have two returning offensive linemen, but we are definitely going to have some holes to fill,” said Petelski.
The Tigers have around two more weeks of practice before their season gets under way on Sept. 8 in Dauphin against the Clippers. The first home game for the Tigers will be Sept. 15 when they host Virden.

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Derek Holtom
REPORTER
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