Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Media
June 1 was National Signing Day for the Canadian Junior Football League.
The expansion Quinte Skyhawks wasted no time announcing their first signing in franchise history.
Through their social media pages, the Skyhawks announced “History was made this morning at 12:05 a.m! CJFL football has landed in the Quinte region and we are so excited to introduce our first signing, Belleville native Jacoby Dillon to our junior program!”
Dillon, from Eastside Secondary School and a member of the Skyhawks varsity team, is listed as a 6-foot-2, 175-pound defensive back.
Three other signings were also announced by the Skyhawks, including 6-foot, 195-pound quarterback Carter Stephens from Centennial Secondary School as well as 5-foot-11, 160-pound defensive back Liam Wood from Trenton Secondary School and 6-foot-5, 350-pound offensive lineman Zack Goodsell from the Quinte Skyhawks varsity team. Stephens and Wood have also played varsity football for the Skyhawks.
Head coach and offensive coordinator for the Skyhawks is Warren Goldie, a former coach at Queen’s University. The staff also includes defensive coordinator Taylor Eskins, defensive line coach Rick Thompson and defensive backs coach Dylan Bell.
Quinte will play in the CJFL’s Ontario Conference with the GTA Grizzlies, Hamilton Hurricanes, London Beefeaters, Ottawa Sooners and St. Clair Fratmen.
The mission statement of the CJFL is “to provide the opportunity for young men aged 18 to 22 to participate in highly competitive post-high school football that is unique in Canada. The goal of the league is to foster community involvement and yield a positive environment by teaching discipline, perseverance and cooperation. The benefits of the league are strong camaraderie, national competition and life-long friends.”
Other CJFL conferences are the British Columbia Football Conference (Kamloops Broncos, Langley Rams, Okanagan Sun, Valley Huskers, Vancouver Island, Westshore Rebels) and the Prairie Football Conference (Calgary Colts, Edmonton Huskies, Edmonton Wildcats, Regina Thunder, Saskatoon Hilltops, Winnipeg Rifles).
According to a release from the CJFL:
“When a player signs he is essentially signing for his entire junior football career as the player then becomes the property of that team.
So many considerations are made before signing with a CJFL club; location, team support, roster depth, coaching staff, scholarship program, etc all weighs in on a player’s decision.
National Signing Day is not only exciting for the players, but the coaches as well. Their ideas, hopes and hard work will finally come to fruition as they start to fill their roster spots.
Following National Signing Day coaches can continue to recruit and sign a player immediately if he’s a good fit for their team. That said the bulk of the players ready to play in the CJFL will sign today.
Once players sign on the dotted line, coaches can begin developing their schemes and systems around their potential starters. They can also begin preparing for their Main Camp along with Week 1 of the regular season, still to be determined as restrictions from COVID-19 are ongoing.”