Cochrane Cobras star quarterback Xavier Vaillancourt had the chance to show the country what the Rocky View Sports Association (RVSA) league and Alberta Schools' Athletic Association (ASAA) teams already knew, that he's one of the best high school quarterback prospects in Canada. Vaillancourt was one of 73 players that took part in the Canadian Football Chat (CFC) Prospect Game June 1 at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa.
"Established in 2010, CFC quickly became the top recruiting resource and website for high school football players and coaches. The CFC100 player rankings first class ranking was produced in 2014. In the 2018 Canadian Football League (CFL) draft, 20 of the 25 class 2014 college players drafted were ranked in the first ever CFC100 ranking. The CFC100 combine, an event designed to identify current and future CFC100 prospects, was launched in 2017, with combines in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax," CFC said in a statement about the game.
The game featured two guest coaches in former CFL quarterbacks Henry Burris and Matt Dunigan. Burris, a former two-time Grey Cup winning quarterback in the CFL with both the Calgary Stampeders and Ottawa REDBLACKS and fellow CFL Hall of Fame inductee Dunigan, who holds the record for most passing yards (713) in a single game while also winning two Grey Cups in 1987 with the Edmonton Eskimos and 1991 with the Toronto Argonauts.
"The game and practices went well," Vaillancourt said of the experience in which he went 6/9 for over 50 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions as he played in limited duty with Team Dunigan. "Definitely not my best performance in the game but they were things I can certainly learn from."
"I spent a lot of time with (Matt) Dunigan and he taught me a lot of tricks and tips on throwing the ball better and getting in the best frame of mind to play the game. I learned a whole new offence and worked on trying to take charge and be a leader of a whole new group of guys. It was great working with the coaches (Burris and Dunigan) as they definitely have endless knowledge that quarterbacks like me can learn from. It was really cool to see them mic'd up and be on television with them."
With the top 70 players from across Canada taking part in the game, Vaillancourt said he felt like he could compete with the best in his age group regardless of the fact he felt like he didn't put his best foot forward.
"I think I can definitely compete with them. Aside from my two bad reads, I think I played well the remainder of the game," the soon-to-be Grade 12 Cobras quarterback said. "I look forward to the upcoming Cobras season and especially to playoffs where I can get some similar competition and pressure."
The game was broadcasted across the country on the Toronto Sports Network (TSN) which aired on June 2. Vaillancourt said there was a bit of added pressure knowing the game was on television but also thought it was a cool experience.
"Obviously, I felt a bit of nerves on the first play but it felt like a playoff game," said Vaillancourt. "Once I get hit or make a throw I am focused and in the game."
Vaillancourt said he hasn't decided if he'll be doing summer school or not to lighten his workload during the season but he will be running and lifting weights in order to be ready for the upcoming Cobras campaign.