(WINDSOR, ON) – This coming weekend, all the teams of the Windsor Warlocks Minor Lacrosse Association will be on display at the Zone 7 regional championships at Forest Glade Arena. One of the clubs will be the Warlock Peewees, coached by Chris Derkatz.
They are a, “… great group of kids, eager to learn and working hard every practice,” said Derkatz. “In the beginning, throwing and catching consistently seemed to be a challenge, but we are leaps and bounds past that now. [The] kids come 30 minutes before practice to work on fundamentals and we have improved dramatically, allowing us to focus on more team concept drills and individual player tactics.”
Coach Derkatz is finding the Peewees to be an enthusiastic group, but has discovered that this team a little out of the ordinary.
“Our team actually has more lefties than righties; which I am not used too,” marveled Derkatz. “I am used to coaching the 02/03’s who only have two or three lefties, so it was a nice change.”
Under the tutelage of Derkatz, the Peewees have come a long way since the start of the year, while learning the key points of the game.
“My coaching philosophy this year is taken right from my letter to the parents,” explained Derkatz. “First and foremost, is for the kids to have fun. Lacrosse is a spring/summer sport, so there will be many barbecues, pool parties, and mini-stick games to be had. It is truly a unique experience, unrivaled by any other sport. Our second goal is for our players to develop and learn more about the game of lacrosse in a safe environment and, hopefully, have some success at the zone and provincial level.”
After 22 games this season, the Peewees carry a 9-10-3 record and sit 30th in the province, out of 79 teams.
“I think we are having a very successful season this year,” he said. “It is my first year coaching this team and we are starting to play some really good lacrosse. We went into the Hamilton Super Series [tournament] and gave some of the ‘A’-ball teams some serious trouble.”
In August, the Warlocks will compete in the ‘B’ division championships at the Ontario Lacrosse Festival in Whitby. His team is drilling hard in practice to get set for when it counts.
“The offence is finally coming together,” said the Peewees coach. “It took a while to get the 2-man game working, but now we are seeing some really impressive plays in practice. The boys are starting to get creative, which is how you can tell it is sinking in. It is the first year that these kids have had to learn to play without the ball, and it has been a big adjustment for some of our offensive players.”
Team defence has been an important tool for the Warlocks’ success.
“I am impressed with our overall team defence as we can throw a few different looks at other teams,” said Derkatz. “Our ‘box-n-1’ was struggling a bit, so we went to straight-man defence and started giving teams fits later in the season. We have been fortunate enough to have Trevor Learn and Brendan Anger coming out to practice for the last month. They have been a real big help with giving advice and coaching these boys on the floor.”
Between the pipes, the Peewees are anchored by second-year peewee MJ Schwager and minor Josh Mouawad, who have developed in leaps and bounds this season.
“The goalies are keeping us in games and giving us a chance to win,” explained the coach. “They have both improved this year, both mentally and physically, with the help of our goalie coach. They are focused and are getting better at foot-speed and positioning in the net. Really starting to understand to step out and challenge on the outside shots and stay square and not jump around on crease plays.”
In addition to the tenders, the Peewees’ roster includes Xavier Gelinas, Owen Coffey, Griffin Grunder, Carson Woodall, Marcus Levesque, Max Frattaroli, Brayden Burke, Quinn Brennan, Kai Frias, Bryson Doherty, Matt Schneider, Madden Drouillard, Charlie Paquette, Adam Lyder, Maddox Derkatz, and Kaden Juodikis and Kane Murphy as affiliates.
In the coming weeks, the Peewees will be playing for both regional bragging rights and an OLA championship.
“We are preparing for zones and provincials by working hard in practice, getting bigger, stronger, and faster every day,” stated Derkatz. “We will fine tune some of our special teams and add a few new concepts to get ready to put our best foot forward in the coming weeks.”
The Peewees will be in action Saturday as they and the Warlocks organization host the Zone 7 regional championship at Forest Glade Arena. At 12:30pm, the Peewees will square off with the Sarnia Pacers in a single-elimination semi-final.
With a win, they can compete for the zone title at 3:30pm.
For more information on the Windsor Warlocks lacrosse club and its programs, visit their official website.