Winnipeg players earn invitations to under-18 national team


Mason Bennett is one of Manitoba’s top defensive linemen who has already had contact with UND, NDSU, Wyoming, Queen’s and UBC even though he has one season of high school football left to play.

Mason Bennett makes a tackle for Vincent Massey.

Mason Bennett might be the best defensive player in Manitoba.

Zack Williams, who will play both ways for the Murdoch MacKay High School Clansmen next month, has already committed to play at the University of North Dakota next year.

It appears as if they might have one more appointment before either plays a down of college football.

On Tuesday, Football Canada announced the players it had named to the all-star team at the 2014 Football Canada Cup back in July in Saskatoon. Team Manitoba finished fifth at the event for the second straight year.

With their selection, the entire group of 26 all-stars earned an automatic invitation to the under-18 national team to compete against Team U.S.A. The game is tentatively scheduled to be played in February of 2015 in Arlington, Texas. The final 14 players will be decided once the coaching staff has been confirmed for the event. This staff will be made up of coaches who participated in the 2014 Football Canada Cup.

“This year’s Canada Cup was one of the most competitive ones that I’ve seen,” said a member of the selection committee who asked to remain anonymous. “Heading into the semifinals there were four evenly matched teams that helped raise the level of play game in and game out.

After his senior year at Murdoch MacKay, Zack Williams will play at UND in 2015.

Zack Williams will play at UND in 2015.

“The offensive line play was very strong which allowed the offences to move the ball consistently. I was also impressed by the overall team speed, especially at the linebacker position. This was an exceptional Canada Cup class, reflected by a very strong group of players that will represent Canada against the U.S.A. in February. The final choices we had to make as a selection committee were not easy.”

Bennett is an outstanding player who just might be the best defensive player in high school football in Manitoba. The Vincent Massey Winnipeg defensive end is 6-foot-2, 225 pounds and has speed, quickness, a high football IQ and a desire to get to the quarterback.

“I just love to hit,” said Bennett.

He’s already visited Queen’s University and UBC and had conversations with the University of North Dakota, North Dakota State University and the University of Wyoming. There are some great defensive players in this province, but Bennett might be the best.

Williams is a stud. At 6-foot-3, 260 pounds, he’s getting bigger every year and getting more mobile as he grows. He’s a very coachable player who is admired at Murdoch MacKay Collegiate and has skills on both sides of the line. He has already committed to UND for the 2015 NCAA season.

Editor of the popular Game On Hockey Magazine and The Point After Football Magazine, editor of Canadian Meat Business Magazine, sports editor of Grassroots News, TV play-by-play voice of the Winnipeg Goldeyes and author of the bestselling book: The Winnipeg Jets: A Celebration of Professional Hockey in Winnipeg. He likes virgin pina coladas, long walks on the beach, puppies and thoroughbred race horses that run according to form.
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