It was before Justin Palardy, he said, and also before his assistant coach Jason Smith’s time in bantam. It’s been a decade since Truro could boast the best bantam team on the provincial gridiron.
That could all change on Sunday, when the Freightliners head to Acadia to meet the Dartmouth Destroyers for the title.
“They’re feeling good,” Borden said of his team. “It’s like anything else, they get excited.”
And they have plenty of reason to. The kids will get the full star treatment, enjoying their own personal stalls in the locker room and coming onto the field through the same tunnel as the Canadian Interuniversity Sport teams. To top it off, the game will be broadcast on Eastlink.
The team isn’t nervous, however, said two team leaders, Kamryn Matheson and Torro Gabrielli.
“I’m pretty stoked,” Matheson said. “It’s going to be awesome.”
The Freightliners plowed through the Halifax Argos in the semifinal on Wednesday night, winning 33-0. The Truro team has lost just two games this season – one against the Argos and the other to the Destroyers.
“(Wednesday) was great because that team beat us this year and we knew we should have beat them,” Borden said. “We fumbled in the first half, we fumbled inside the five, we fumbled all over the place. That stuff happens.”
But things changed as the season went on. Truro has always been a late-blooming team, Borden said, usually due to their late start in the summer. When the team started to gel, everything changed.
“That’s what they finally figured out in the last three games – if you work together as a team, you get stuff done,” Borden said. “If you don’t, things fall apart. (The result has) been incredible.
The players have also noted the difference.
“We’re just playing as a unit with more teamwork,” Matheson said. “The defence is coming together and we’re shutting them down. Last game, they didn’t even get a touchdown on us. Our offence is firing – our line is blocking great.”
But there’s still room to go, Gabrielli added.
“We’re really good now, but we can all do better. Everywhere – all the basics.”
The Freightliners come into the game on short rest. The team had to play on Nov. 7, again on the 11th, and now again on Sunday.
“In my opinion, it’s terrible,” Borden said. “It’s a very unfortunate thing… (Football Nova Scotia) put the kids at risk. We have some kids that are bruised up, badly bruised up, and they have to recuperate by 4:30 Sunday.”
The kids are less worried, however, as the excitement is building overtop of the bruises. Despite the short rest, Borden is confident in his team.
“If we play the game we are capable of playing, we’ll take them with no problem. But win or lose, all we want from our boys is to do the best they can.”