Tanner Nelmes takes the Fitzy as most outstanding in D10

GUELPH – Tanner Nelmes, the winner of the Nick FitzGibbon Award as the most outstanding player in District 10 high school football, will be staying away from competitive football this summer.

“I’m not playing this summer,” Nelmes said shortly after being presented with the Fitzy at the awards luncheon put on by the University of Guelph Gryphons in their pavilion Thursday. “I’ll be taking the summer off to train. I’m at 200 pounds right now and I’ll be just trimming that down and working on some speed things. I think come spring training camp, I’ll be good.”

Nelmes, a running back and linebacker with the St. James Lions, has agreed to join Waterloo’s Laurier Golden Hawks to play OUA football starting with the 2019 season.

“I feel like if maybe I was 210, but nice and trimmed down and being able to stay agile and have that speed still, that would be a perfect weight for me going in,” he said.

First-time D10 champion St. James had three players receive major awards as Pawel Szymanski was honoured as the defensive player of the year and offensive lineman Josh Mencfeld was the lineman of the year.

Winners of the other major awards were quarterback Daniel Brown of the Centennial Spartans as the offensive player of the year and receiver Keyon Robinson of the Guelph CVI Green Gaels as the rookie of the year.

Like Nelmes, Szymanski is to play at Laurier and he plans on playing with the Waterloo Region Predators in the Ontario Football Conference’s varsity league.

Mencfeld is also planning on playing this summer with the Predators, mainly because many of his Lions teammates are looking at playing there.

As for football after that, he’s not sure.

“Hopefully there’s something more,” he said.

Brown is also looking at playing summer football and he’s to play for the Cambridge Lions in the Ontario Provincial Football League’s varsity division.

“I can’t wait to work with Jackson Yanchus and some of the other coaches there,” Brown said. “I played Cambridge when I was a younger kid. I came back to Guelph for a year, but I thought Cambridge was a better place for me. I liked the coaches there. I’m not saying that the coaches in Guelph are bad and I’ve heard some of them are really good, but I have a better connection with (the coaches in Cambridge).”

Keyon Robinson, younger brother of Gryphon defensive lineman Tavius Robinson, is also planning on playing summer football as he’s to suit up with the Guelph Junior Gryphons for OPFL junior varsity play.

For Brown and Robinson, the two major award winners who’ll be back in D10 football in the fall, the start of that season can’t come soon enough.

“It definitely feels good as we’ll have some of our good guys back,” Brown said of this fall’s high school league play. “Even if we lose some guys, we have a lot of younger guys who’ll come up who have a lot of potential. It should be good next year, too.”

“I’m very excited,” Robinson said. “I think our team’s going to be great and we’ll have a good chance this year.”

One thing the major award winners agree on is the fun that can be had in high school football.

“It’s probably the most fun I’ve had in my last five years of living,” Szymanski said. “It’s a good time with all your best friends coming together and grinding for a same purpose, putting our best on the field and coming out with a common goal.”

“High school football’s been great,” Mencfeld said. “I’m sad to go now after the five years, but it’s been an amazing experience. St. James has been great. You meet a lot of new friends, make great connections and just have fun on the football field. It’s been a great five years.”

“It’s a lot of fun playing high school football,” Brown said. “You’ve got a lot of close people watching for sure and you’re with a bunch of people you go to school with, so there’s definitely a huge connection with the team and team bonding.”

“It’s so fun,” Robinson said. “You get to meet a bunch of new people and just the sport. I love the sport. I think it’s a great opportunity to get to play.”


  • Guelph Sports Journal