Tyler Brechin doesn’t hold back.
Whether it’s a matter of going all out on the field, or candidly suggesting how talented his team is, the 17-year-old isn’t shy.
“I want our team to win a championship,” said Brechin, a multi-talented player about to begin his first season with the Sault Sabercats varsity team.
And Brechin, whose club is set to open the Ontario Football Conference season on Saturday against the Brantford Bisons (4 p.m. at Superior Heights), has no doubt the 2019 Cats are capable of going all the way.
“I think we have a really, really, good team,” said the six-foot, 195-pounder. “Our defence is really strong and I think our offence is just as strong.”
A season ago, the Cats finished the regular campaign with a 6-2, win-loss record. They defeated the Bisons 33-16 in a West semifinal, before dropping a 33-8 decision to the Waterloo Predators in the division final.
And Brechin, who played quarterback for the Cats junior varsity a season ago, could help make the difference in 2019.
A Grade 11 student at Korah Collegiate, Brechin, who has starred at numerous positions, is arguably the most dynamic player in the city.
He had never played the sport prior to entering Korah and getting introduced to junior football in 2016 as a Grade 9 student.
After winning the junior league MVP award for the 2017 Colts high school team, he moved up to senior last fall and helped Korah secure city, Northern Ontario Secondary Schools Association (NOSSA) and National Capital Bowl championships.
The 2018 Colts were undefeated and Brechin, who played slotback, linebacker, safety, defensive end, quarterback and punter, won the Alex Denman Trophy as the local High School Senior Football League’s most outstanding player.
At the time, his high school head coach, Tom Annett, called Brechin “probably the best pure natural athlete I’ve coached, ever.”
Asked what he hopes to contribute to the 2019 Sabercats varsity team, Brechin, a Grade 11 student, didn’t hesitate.
“I want to bring as much to the team as I did to the senior Colts last fall,” he said.
But he also added this: “I wouldn’t have accomplished what I did with the Colts if it wasn’t for the coaches and my teammates at Korah.”
Sabercats head coach Matt Premo can’t wait to unleash Brechin on any and all varsity opponents.
Premo plans to use his first-year player at slotback. He’ll also do the punting for the Cats, while returning punts and kickoffs.
The coach also spoke of using Brechin in the defensive secondary at times and even giving him a chance to run the ball when he relieves starting quarterback Jordan Robinson-Wright.
“He’s definitely a special athlete,” Premo said of Brechin. “He has size, strength, speed and the ability to make plays. He’s a game-changer.”
Which is exactly what the first-year varsity player strives to be.
“I want to make big plays for us,” Brechin said. “I want to be tough, compete hard and contribute on and off the field.”
Most-recently ranked No. 38 by canadafootballchat.com in its top 100 U-Sports prospects for 2020, Brechin has been invited to play in that website’s prospect game on June 1 at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa.
It’s a chance to show what he can do in front of university coaches and recruiters from throughout Canada, and, according to canadafootballchat.com, the clash will be televised by TSN.
Along with helping the Cats win their first championship, Brechin says he’s simply determined to keep getting better day after day.
“He has a strong work ethic and he’s a smart football player, for sure,” said Robinson-Wright, who went on to describe Brechin as “a phenomenal athlete.”
The quarterback also spoke of how he expects his new varsity teammate to be a big part of the Sabercats passing game.
“The more you get the ball in his hands, the more you increase the chance of seeing a big play,” Premo added.
Notes: The Cats junior varsity team also opens its 2019 OFC season on Saturday.
The JV team is slated to face Oakville in a 1 p.m. start at Superior Heights.