McIntyre a top dog for grid Gladiators
Maritime Football: Capital Area squad home to Dartmouth Knights

By Robert Touchie

Every morning when Capital Area Gladiator football player Bobby McIntyre wakes he reads words from a plaque that quote the immortal football coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and epitomize how McIntyre lives his life.

"It ain't the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog."

The diminutive McIntyre has always overcome long odds, on the football field and in life.

"I've always been the smallest guy on the field," said the five-foot eight-inch, 165 pound McIntyre.

"It's just the way it's been; it's tough but I just have to outwork, out think and outplay my opponents."

McIntyre's resolve will be put to the test tonight at 6 p.m. at Chapman Field when the Gladiators put their 3-3 record on the line against the 4-2 Dartmouth Knights in their final regular season Maritime Football League game.

The Gladiators will attempt to shake off two straight road losses that have put them in a dogfight with the Saint John Longhorns, also 3-3, for top spot in the Western Division.

The pass-happy Knights are led by former professional arena league quarterback Danny Williams and will surely have McIntyre and his Gladiator teammates on high alert.

"The Knights love to sling the ball around and they will test our secondary, no question," said Gladiator player-coach Jamie Edwards.

"They are playing 10-man ball and we'll have to adjust, but I think our defence is up to the task."

In the Maritime League, teams have the option of running 10-man or 12-man formations. The Gladiators usually run a 12-man formation. The 10-man formation essentially translates to playing with fewer linemen - a misfortune for the Gladiators as their line has been their greatest strength.

To thwart the more pass friendly 10-man game the Gladiators will use a 'nickel' package which will utilize an extra defensive back, which plays into the hands of McIntyre, the Gladiators primary cover corner.

"Bobby does everything right out there at corner," said Edwards. "He's one of the most sound football players you'll find and if Williams challenges him, it may not work out as well as he thinks."

McIntyre is more bold.

"Williams is definitely going to put the ball in the air, and I look forward to having him throw my way," he said. McIntyre is used to being underestimated, and attributes a relentless work ethic and meticulous attention to detail as the reasons for his success in football and life.

"I set high goals for myself," said McIntrye, who carries a 3.7 grade point average into his fourth year of a Business degree at Acadia University. Meanwhile, he plays varsity football for the Axemen and is involved in the student council.

"My parents taught me that to set the bar high, you can't help but succeed." he said.

So far it's working; McIntyre has been an academic All-Canadian the last two seasons for the Axemen and has started at corner at various times in his first three years.

His expectation for this season at Acadia is to take ownership of that starting corner position, for good.

"I've been dressing the last year and two years ago I started a few games due to injury," said McIntyre. "This year I've continued working under the Acadia off season program six days a week with weights and speed drills and I am hoping that translates to success on the field."

So does Axemen head coach Jeff Cummins.

"I expect Bobby to come in to training camp and compete," said Cummins. "Nothing is guaranteed, but he always has a great attitude, works hard and prepares well and we can't ask for anything more from our players than what Bobby brings to the table. He's a great kid and we are very lucky to have him."

But it's not what McIntyre is doing now that excites Cummins most; it's what he envisions him doing.

"Bobby McIntyre is one of the smartest kids we've had here, he's destined to be successful in his future after Acadia, at whatever he chooses in life, and I think his being such a student of the game will make him one helluva coach someday",a great coach," said Cummins.

McIntyre envisions coaching some day, following in the steps of his father Terry, who is the President of the Capital Area Minor Football Association, and mom Marion who is an avid football volunteer",just not in the near future.

"Football is religion in my family; if you come through my parent's front door all you'll see are boxes of football jerseys and football equipment everywhere" said the 20-year-old McIntyre.

"I do look forward to coaching, but as long as I can still walk and run, I'm just focusing on playing," he said.

League playoffs are next Saturday, and the Gladiators are guaranteed at least one home game by virtue of being one of the top two finishers in the West.

Starting QB Andrew Hickey is resting his injured ankle this week and will be replaced in the lineup by rifle armed Leo Hayes product Brendan Cornford.