Rob Vanstone: Not even a pandemic could stop the Thom Trojans

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Lejeune and Henry are not only valuable as players, but also as recruiters and leaders.

“In a situation like Thom, as coaches we have to be salesmen, too,” Audette says. “That’s what Jeremy and Gabe are helping me with — just getting out there and letting kids know that being a Thom Trojan is something to be proud of.

“You just can’t put up a sign-up sheet and get 60 kids in our school. it doesn’t work that way. We’ve got to make them see this as a real positive thing.

“Just being out there as a teacher every day, seeing kids that I know and seeing kids that I don’t know, is exciting. We’re trying to do the legwork to let kids know that we’re trying to offer something fun and something that they can really be rallying around with pride.”

In addition to serving as the head coach, Audette runs the defence. Assistant coach Quintin Cheverie runs the offence. Al Neufeld is handling the administration side of the operation.

Ordinarily, non-teachers would help out as community coaches, but the staff has been limited to faculty members for safety reasons.

Thom had 35 players sign up for football and typically has about 30 participants in each practice.

The blueprint includes possible plans for an intra-squad scrimmage. Groundwork is also being laid just in case some football can be played in the spring, with an eye toward further down the road.

“By no means are we going to throw up our flag and say ‘we’re back’ and ‘we’re done,’ because there’s a lot of work to do,” Audette says. “We’ve still got a ways to go to get kids committed for the long term.”

rvanstone@postmedia.com

twitter.com/robvanstone

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