2018 Niagara Regional Raiders Alumni

Jaxon Aquilina

Justin Atherton

Nicholas Barrette

Damonte Brundidge

Dillon Caldwell

Kyshawn Carson

Matthew Christie

Wesley Couture-Burke

Alex Cubitt

Zachary Davenport

Tyson Delic

Christian Desroches

Benny Ferrara

Brandon Finikin

Taye Frazer

Ryan Gatchell

Sebastian Gottfredsen

Damien Graham

Brandon Gundrum

Weston Hilchey

Justin Ide

Mohammed Irandost

Nicholas Krutul

Brian Lane

Joe Luchyshyn

Teddy Mansell

Eric McCutchin

Shawn McMillan

Kam McNeil

Bryson Mitchell

Kaleb Patrong

John Peele

Austin Price

David Raza

Jake Richardson

Colin Rudel

Rhys Rusby

Dallas Seabrook

Nolan Smith

William Sonego

Alexander Stephenson

Devin Stewart

Courtney Thomas-Harris

Erik Tomasson

Jeff Venzon

Ryan Wach

Raiders Annual Combine

Photo Credit: Gabriel Shubat Photography

Game Footage from 2018 International Border Bowl: New York Patriots @ Raiders

2018 August 26th Fratmen

2018 September 9th Grizzlies

2018 September 16th Befeaters

2018 Player Profiles and Marketing

Welcome back to another Niagara Raiders Player Profile! This time, I had the opportunity to chat with rookie running back Matthew Christie to look ahead to his first CJFL season.

As a rookie, what encouraged you to join the Niagara Raiders this year?

Being able to play at the next level of football, while being able to stay around my friends and loved ones was probably the biggest encouragement for joining the Raiders. 

Tell me about your high school football experience.

Playing Thorold Golden Eagles football was probably one of the best experiences of my life honestly. Some of my best friendships were born from playing a sport you have in common with someone, and I will never forget the coaches on the team who pushed me to be the player that I am now.

Who were the role models that inspired you to play football?

I would have to say my older brother. Like myself, he also grew up playing football and he has always been sort of a motivational factor for me. He found his success with the sport, so now its my turn.

What do you feel are your greatest strengths at the running back position?

My greatest strengths at my position would have to be excelling at power running. There is no better feeling then barreling through holes to pick up crucial first downs. I would also have to say being able to pick up blocks and blitzes is key to my strengths. I am a reliable power-back styled runner and lead blocker for my team.

How are you preparing in the offseason for your first CJFL season?

Putting in work in the weight room and on the field. Footballs all about who works the hardest on and off the field. Right now im working my hardest off the field so I can do my best work on the field.

What are your goals for this 2018 Raiders campaign?

Personally, I want to make the top fifty list of players in this conference, but as a team, I wanna help form a bond with players and help the team grow stronger together.

Who is the greatest running back of all time?

It’s actually hard to answer that but if I had to choose I would have to go for my idol, Marshawn Lynch. He’s a player you can rely on for hard first downs, and if he spots any opportunity for a big gain, you know he’ll take it. I try to model my game like his.

What are your long-term aspirations in pro football?

It is pretty hard to say right now. If I ever come across a chance to play in the CFL when I am eligible, it would be an amazing opportunity that I would highly consider taking up.

-Interview by Justin Gravestock

The Niagara Raiders are proud to announce their Raiders Player Profile! I had the opportunity to interview wide receiver and special teams contributor Isaac Beek. Here is our discussion. 

What brought you to the Niagara Raiders?

My Head Coach from Sir Winston Churchill (St. Catharines) had told a few players that he was helping coach a CJFL team and wanted some of us to join, unfortunately the others weren’t interested, but I was. I spoke to Coach Peter Perron about it after our championship season and he gave me Head Coach Brad Anderson’s card. I gave him a call and he said I could come out and play for them if I liked so of course I did.

Tell me about your first season with the organization.

I’ve only played one season with the Niagara Raiders so far but I plan to keep playing with this team until either I get scouted or I can no longer play for them. It was absolutely one of the greatest experiences of my life and I can’t wait for the upcoming season to start.

What does your offseason regimen consist of?

Mainly just touch football because I don’t yet have a gym membership. I workout at home when I can and play indoor touch football on Saturdays.

Last season, you were recognized as a CJFL Special Teams Player of the Week. Tell me about that experience. 

I was really shocked honestly when I made Player of the Week! As a rookie, one of my biggest goals was to make a good mark in the league as soon as possible and thanks to our great Special Teams coaches & players, they helped me achieve something I didn’t think was possible. I was more then honoured when I was given a Special Teams Player of the Week award!

Favourite football player all time?

I would have to say that my favourite football player of all time would have to be Odell Beckham Jr. The man has great agility, amazing catching skills, insane speed coming off the snap getting down field and avoiding tackles, and apart from his attitude on the field sometimes he’s just all around a fantastic player. Definitely a role model for those hoping to be the best receivers they possibly can!

Who is the GOAT?

100% Carson Wentz is the GOAT! The guy is literally the New Age Michael Vick. He’s big, he’s fast, great in the pocket & outside the pocket if he has to be, & amazing at staying on his feet & breaking free when the whole D-Line has collapsed on him!

What are your expectations for the 2018 season?

Expectations are definitely to grow stronger as a team & work on team growth on and off the field, & just hope for the best this season. We have a lot of new talent coming on board so looking to leave a mark this season for sure.

Any long-term goals in professional football?

Ever since elementary school I’ve wanted to play professional football, so when I got into high school I joined the Sir Winston Churchill Bulldogs & now I’m playing in the CJFL. My goal now is to make it to the CFL & hopefully one day the NFL. That’s been my dream for a very long time & I’ll do whatever it takes to make that dream a reality!

-Interview by Justin Gravestock

This article features right tackle Weston Hilchey who will be playing his second CJFL season with the Niagara Raiders.

How have you balanced attending Brock University, and playing Raiders football?

It has not been an easy task as school and football would often overlap. A decision had to be made as to whether to miss a few classes or practice. Luckily, I had friends in my courses who could send me the notes for classes that I missed. 

What are your goals for the 2018 season?

My goals for the 2018 season are to do whatever I can to help the team win and be successful. I will look to improve on my individual aspects of the game from last year, in order to help myself compete on the field.

Which skills will you look to develop from year one to year two in the CJFL?

Timing and power are skills that I would like to develop for this year. Getting off the ball faster with more strength and power, to ensure that I am accurately, and effectively, able to make my blocks. As well, my run blocking was an aspect that struggled last year, and is a crucial aspect to be able to effectively make plays on the field.

Who inspired you to play football?

I can’t specifically think of one person who inspired me to play football. It was always a sport that I wanted to play. From touch football in elementary school to actually stepping onto the field in high school, it was just always something I had wanted to do.

What does your offseason workout program consist of?

I felt that I lacked upper body strength last season and have made it a goal of mine to become stronger for this season. I have made it a goal to be in the gym six times a week over the offseason, focusing on both strength and cardio, to ensure that I am in the best possible shape for the upcoming season.

Do you consider yourself versatile along the offensive line?

I would consider myself a versatile offensive lineman. I have played every position along the line except for centre at some point in my football career. I feel that I am smaller than your ideal lineman type, however, I feel that I can make that up with speed and athleticism.

Who is the best offensive lineman in the NFL today?

Eagles left tackle Jason Peters. He dominates with a mix of power and agility. He used to be a former tight end which gives him an additional amount of athletic ability. 

What are your long-term goals in pro football?

I don’t really have any individual long-term goals for pro football per se. It has never been a goal of mine to make it to the next level, although I would not turn down the chance if it came. It would be great to see this team have a good run at the playoffs and to get to be a part of it. In all honesty, I just enjoy being on the field getting to experience the game with the guys around me.

-Interview by Justin Gravestock

Justin Gravestock (Author of the Player Profiles above), Brad Anderson, Paul Dayboll Coordinator of the Public Relations Program at Niagara College

Welcome to another Raiders Player Profile! For this edition, I introduce you to David Raza, a wide receiver set to begin his third year as a proud Niagara Raider.

How prepared do you feel for your third CJFL season?

Coming back from an injury that cut my 2017 season short, I’ve been working really hard to get back into shape, and I feel as ready as I have ever felt. I’ve gained a little bit more mass, and I have kept up with my offseason training religiously. I personally think I will never be 100% ready for a season since there is always something that needs improvement. I feel my conditioning and weight training is on the right track for this season.

What are your goals for the 2018 campaign?

My goal for this 2018 campaign, is to out work yesterday. If I improve from last season, then I am achieving my goals. I’d love to be considered the best wide receiver on the team, and that’s a goal of mine, but there’s a lot of talent at the wide receiver position. We could all have that title.

What are your strengths at the wide receiver position?

I believe my strengths at wide receiver revolve around my route running, and my ability to be mentally tough. Being a wide receiver is all about positioning your self properly on the field at the right time during a play, and that takes a lot of football knowledge to identify the defense and what coverage they are showing. I also believe it takes a lot of mental toughness to play receiver. When it comes to blocking and being physical, this sport requires a lot of that. When the ball’s hanging up in the air and you have to go up and get it knowing the safety is head hunting, it takes a lot of mental toughness and I feel I display that in my game.

Who inspired you to play football?

I was inspired to play football by my brother and my cousin. They both persuaded me to play when I was in grade six. They both played competitively and for their high schools and it intrigued me to try the sport. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the sport. You can’t name me one other sport that has this much strategy and this much physicality involved to compare to football.

What does your offseason regiment consist of?

My offseason consists of being in the gym four to five times a week, eating properly, and getting to the field every once and a while to work on fundamentals. I like to stay in tuned with the game playing touch football three times a week on three different teams, I feel as a receiver it’s a great place to fine tune your game, since it’s a smaller field and it helps me focus on the fundamentals of what a receiver does, footwork, route running, and working on my hands.

How close is this football team off the field?

This team is close off the field. We’re a group of buddies, as soon as you join this team you feel like you’ve just made thirty new friends, from coaches to teammates we all get along really well. It’s a fun environment to be around, there’s always someone down to hit the gym or even hangout. I think this team has a strong core group where the “brotherhood” feeling comes from and it disperses itself to the rest of the team.

Who is the greatest wide receiver of all time and why?

Two words…..Randy Moss. His ability to go up and high point the ball mixed in with his quickness and ability to run the cleanest routes makes him an all time great. The highlight reel this guy has is outstanding, there isn’t many receivers nowadays that are or were as dominant as Moss. Being a 49ers fan though, I can’t forget Jerry Rice, he was an all time great and I wish I got to see him play. Id have to say both of these guys are GOATs, and my all time favourites.

What are your long-term goals in pro football?

I know football comes to an end for everyone eventually, I am currently taking it one season at a time. I love the sport and I will always be around it, even if that means one day switching to coaching.

-Interview by Justin Gravestock

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