GREENHILL – It’s not common nowadays that someone from Pictou County is mentioned when discussing football, but two locals have made a name for themselves after being named to the Football Nova Scotia U-17 team.
Maynard Wilson and Cole MacIsaac, both 15 years old, will represent the province at the Wilson Challenge from July 4 to 13 in Montreal. This is the first time either of them has been selected for a provincial team since starting to play the sport.
“I’m a little nervous with scouts watching to see how we play,” said MacIsaac, a linebacker on the team. “You aren’t always on your ‘A’ game, so it’s a little nerve-wracking.”
Originally the pair were selected for the U-16 team, but with a few positions to fill on the U-17 team they were moved up. Regardless of which team they made, Wilson said he also felt nervous about playing in a national event, but wasn’t as nervous about making the team initially.
“The coaches all seem to love me because I was the biggest guy on both teams (U-16 and U-17),” said the 6’5, 280 pound offensive lineman.
Wilson is still relatively new to the sport, having only played for two years, while MacIsaac has played for eight.
Both play out of Truro with Truro Minor Football, where MacIsaac was from originally, as there is no football association in Pictou County.
“I lived in Truro before here and a friend told me about it,” said MacIsaac. “I’ve been playing since. I started playing flag when I was six and tackle when I was seven. I’ve loved playing since.”
That same process is how Wilson got involved.
“Cole told me about it because he thought it’d be a good idea because of my size,” he said.
During the fall the pair played in the bantam division of TMF, where both ended up being named MVPs – Wilson for offence and MacIsaac for defence. They said that likely helped them get an invite to the provincial team tryout from one of the coaches of the U-16 team.
“They held the camp where they looked at your vertical, 40-yard dash and agility,” said MacIsaac. “They cut 20 after the first week or two, but then the U-17 guys were looking for a few extra guys, so we moved up.
“At first I was confident I could make the U-16 team because I knew all the guys and felt I fit in that skill category. I got a little hesitant though when there were a lot of guys left in my position.”
Now that they’re on the team the duo travel to Lantz two times a week for practice, which wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for Cole’s father Gordon. Wilson’s mother, Amanda, said she is thankful for him being able to help in that way.
“For someone to take him under their wing and take him there that means a lot,” she said.
With only a few weeks until their trip to nationals the team is preparing for their tournament tuneup game against the U-18 team on June 15. Their practices will also continue, while off the field they continue to fundraise for their trip.
The cost is fully covered by the players, so the pair is selling tickets to a Father’s Day basket and will hold a few barbecues before they leave. This weekend they will be at the flea market in New Glasgow selling tickets for any donation.
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris