Airdrie Irish are off to a good start this season, already winning their pre-season game 24-12 over the Central Alberta Buccaneers in Lacombe.
Anton Bellot is the Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator for the Airdrie Irish, as well as one of their Alumni, having played for the Irish from 2016 to 2019.
“I stopped playing in 2019 due to an injury to my knee, but I still have a love for the game. I was named the head coach of the Irish in March of 2021. This is my second year at the helm.”
Bellot says last year's record of a 1-3 regular season didn't truly show the progress the team made.
“We were in very competitive games, and a couple of plays here and there could have really had a different outcome. It really solidified a really solid base for us. The last thing I told our players is, this is just the beginning.”
Their lone win was against their rivals, Calgary Wolfpack with a win of 77 to 32.
“We are always looking to improve our team and it was a really good year successfully coming off the pandemic.”
According to Bellot, some changes have been made to the coaching staff.
“Stephen McLean, he is our Offensive Coordinator for the year, a man I truly respect and someone whom I've coached with and played with over the years. Brent Schershel, our Offensive Line Coach, really rounded out the staff as well as Scott Sargent, our Wide Receiver's Coach. He's also a great addition.”
When it comes to the football team, Bellot says they have some pretty good veterans surrounded by some really good, athletic local talent and he is excited to see how it all comes together.
“I think one of the goals that we would have as an organization is to host our home playoff game. That'll be huge for our organization but more importantly for the community of Airdrie to host high-level football in the Alberta Football League.”
While other teams are set on winning championships, Bellot says his team is focused on their 1-0 mentality.
“Did we attend practice, did we watch film, did we get a workout in, did we focus on doing the little things in an extraordinary way today. It doesn't matter what happened yesterday, it doesn't matter what happens tomorrow, we just focus on the present right now. That's one of the other things that we're really enforcing and we're looking forward to seeing where that takes us.”
The Irish look to kick off the season on June 4 at 3:30 pm at Ed Eggerer Athletic Park against the reigning champs, the Central Alberta Buccaneers.
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