The Spectrum Thunder football program is taking another step forward, fielding a junior team for the first time in 2015.
The senior team is now entering its third season, and both squads have spots open for new players.
New junior varsity head coach Darren Vaux lives in Saanich. When he attended a parent introductory session for his eldest son Carson last year, he saw an opportunity to involve himself with the program as an assistant.
“I’ve always coached [youth], and I see a lot of potential at Spectrum,” he said. “The program is 500 per cent ahead of last year. We’re continuing to get organized and to grow that football culture in the school, which takes [years].”
Vaux grew up in Duncan where he played midget football for the Cowichan Chiefs (now the Bulldogs), and recalls visiting Copley Park to face the Saanich Hornets. That led Vaux to the Mainland where he played for the UBC Thunderbirds. All the while he coached youth football, even before his own kids enrolled.
One of the challenges the Thunder continues to face is drawing players.
Vaux’s son Carson is going into Grade 10. He came to the Thunder from the Gordon Head pee wee team in the Greater Victoria Minor Football league and was previously with the B.C. champion Victoria Outlaws (nine-man) team.
But the majority of players Carson played with are now at Mount Douglas, where the Rams offer an established program nearing its 20th season.
The same goes for the Saanich Wolverines, and other players from the GVMF.
“Within our school’s catchment there’s three middle schools, and we know there’s about a dozen of them at Mount Doug for football so we’re hoping to change that,” Vaux said.
“Two years ago nearly the entire Wolverines team went to Mount Doug and this year we have a few coming to Spectrum so it’s coming.”
This year Spectrum is part of a four-team AA junior division with Nanaimo District, Jon Barsby (Nanaimo) and Ballenas (Parksville).
The Belmont and Mount Doug junior teams are part of a Mainland division instead.
Spectrum will play Belmont in the preseason, and are hosting Samuel Robertson Titans from Maple Ridge on Sept. 11, another new program.
Brett Diana is the Thunder’s senior team head coach.
Interested players for either the junior or senior levels can contact Darren Vaux at 250-507-3663.
The team is currently practising three times a week.