The Highland Academy Community League was developed to allow potential players for the Highland Wildcats squads to get into American football and gain more experience through competition in their local area. This was great if you went to school in one of the five high schools based in the city of Inverness. However if you were outwith the city, all of a sudden you were cut out of this vital early experience and were at a disadvantage to other players. After receiving interest from young people in the Alness, Dingwall and Fortrose area it was decided to set up a development team combining the High Schools in these areas and play fixtures against four of the other HACL teams.
Youth Development Officer, Robbie Paulin, commented, “after speaking to Lewis Taylor, who attends Dingwall Academy, and hearing his enthusiasm I though this was something we needed to do. There were others showing a lot of interest from these areas and it just felt such a waste to cut them out purely because they didn’t attend an Inverness Secondary school. The way the Community League schedule has worked out means that there will be a slot on each of our four game days for the Stags to get a friendly against one of the other teams. Unfortunately it might mean that they won’t get to play all the other teams however I feel that this is a big step forward and also opens things up to be further developed in 2015 with the team perhaps getting added fully into the league or even splitting into Fortrose Academy, Dingwall Academy and Alness Academy!”
The Black Isle Stags will play four scrimmage games at the Bught Park against the competing Community League Teams:
Saturday, 8 February – Inverness Royal Academy Sharks – 2:30pm
Saturday, 15 February – Inverness High School Predators – 2:30pm
Saturday, 22 February – Culloden Academy Raptors – 2:30pm
Saturday, 8 March – Millburn Academy Eagles – 2:30pm
The team is also off to a good start with players already getting actively involved in fund raising. Lewis Taylor (13) – who came up with the name for the development team – is having a fund raising event on 20 December.
“It is outstanding to see a player that is already so into his team and enthusiastic for the sport that he is willing to give up his time and put in the effort to raise money for the club,” Paulin continued.
Practice for the Black Isle Stags starts in January where they will be training along side the other Community League teams in the combined Saturday practices. The team is still recruiting so sign up today if you’re interested!