Pitt Marauders sport new look for 2011

Jacob Gowler rolls out of the pocket and looks down field for a receiver at practice Monday at Pitt Meadows Secondary School. Gowler will be quarterbacking the Marauders junior team this season.

Jacob Gowler rolls out of the pocket and looks down field for a receiver at practice Monday at Pitt Meadows Secondary School. Gowler will be quarterbacking the Marauders junior team this season.

The Pitt Meadows Marauders are gearing up for their third year of senior AA high school football this season, but little remains of the team that made it to the Mainland AA Conference playoffs last year.

With the majority of the team having graduated last season, only five players from last year’s varsity squad are returning this year.

There’s also a host of new faces behind the bench as former Pinetree Secondary coach Matt Todd takes the reins from Dave Holleran.

Heading up the program is Kris Little, who will continue as head coach of the school’s junior football squad.

Little said the senior team will have to rely on speed and execution this season

“We don’t have a lot of size at the senior level, both in numbers and in actual physical size,” says program director Kris Little. “It will be all about speed for them. Our conditioning will have to be very good if we are going to compete with the bigger teams.”

That said, Little says he expects the team to make a repeat appearance in the playoffs this year, despite playing in a tough division.

Little says he expects big things from linebackers Ben Zabierek and Sergio Cabrera, as well as strong-side safety Cole Ram. Joe Schuster will get the nod at quarterback after playing back-up for the seniors last season as a Grade 10.

Rashaun Simonese will also be a force to reckoned with on both sides of the ball.

Todd said he has been pleased with the teams progress so far this preseason.

While the senior team has just 25 players currently on their roster, Little says there are plenty of juniors that can be called upon to fill in roster spots.

“If we can get through this year, we’ll have a strong program for years to come,” said Little.

The Marauders junior and Grade 8 teams have had strong registration, and will both likely have more than 35 players on each team.

Once piece that has long been missing from the school’s football program has been a teacher-coach. Bruno Chu will finally fill that role this season.

Chu was hired to take over teaching duties from Pitt Meadows athletics director Rich Goulet, who suffered a stroke earlier this summer.

Goulet is on the mend, and expects to continue coaching the school’s senior basketball team later this year.

Chu, a former high school football player in Alberta, will be helping out the teams’ offensive and defensive lines.

• The Pitt Meadows Marauders senior football team play their home opener Friday, Sept. 30 against Moscrop.