Aim The Same For Caesars

Coming agonisingly close to promotion last time around, Nottingham’s American Football roster, the Nottingham Caesars, are more than ready to go again, and the aim is the same, take the final step into the promised land.

An undefeated regular season in 2023 would see the Caesars (10-0; 11-1 overall) win their sixth, divisional title, before seeing off Scunthorpe Alphas 20-6 to set up a Division One Northern Championship finale in the north-east, eventually succumbing, 34-13, to the Newcastle (Northumberland) Vikings).

The Caesars, they’ve kept the majority of the roster that was withing half-a-game of earning that promotion, whilst also adding a depth of experience and youth, including some former Caesars coming home, ahead of a season-opening trio of home games.

“We’ve retained a good number of players from last time around, as well as a few former players returning,” beamed the Caesars Head Coach, Vanden Warner.

“I do think we’ve probably got more defensive than offensive players this time around, but we’re able to rotate everyone at each position then we’re looking good.

“Personally, being a former running back (and the Caesars RB Coach), I wanted to keep the guys in the back-field; Sam (Fraser) is not only a top bloke but also a really versatile player, Will (Hobbs) I go way back with and someone I’m really excited about and wanted in our first team although he got so much from being at Tamworth.

“Also, having both quarterbacks, Liam MacGovern and Alex Baldwin, is great competition in that spot; Liam I’ve known around five years now and seen him develop brilliantly, whilst Alex is a former junior who’s stepping up and will push Liam.

“Then there’s the WRs, Josh Oluwatosin and Ben Harrison who also do a really great job out there; as for the incoming players, Courtney Etienne (European League Football experience) say, he reminds me of me and has that elusive running back style about him.

“He initiates the contact which is great and he really packs a punch, which you can here, and he makes your soul leave your body; Sam Pearson I’m really looking forward to seeing especially with his Premiership experience (former Manchester Titans, two-time National champion Defensive Back, Linebacker), and Jean Richard Wohi (Edge Defender with continental experience).”

With more than twenty new players added to the Caesars roster, Coach Warner and his ‘powerhouse coaching’ team which includes the likes of Grant Lawless (offensive co-ordinator, quarterbacks), Mike Holden (defensive co-ordinator), the triumvirate of Lloyd Stone, Charles Eardley and Jonathan Allred (offensive line) and the duo of Josh Marriott and Henry Scanlon (defensive line), along with Rebecca Stratfull (sports therapist), they’re as ready as they can be for the season opener.

Hosting the Birmingham Bulls (14 April) in their first D1 South match-up of the season, the Caesars will then have to wait a few weeks before their second outing, ‘welcoming’ Leicester Panthers, for a Midlands Derby, on the May Bank Holiday weekend (Saturday 4 May, KO 18:30), before hosting Northants Knights in mid-May (14 May).

But what is on the cards, in Coach Warner’s mind, for the 2024 season, more after the way the last one progressed, and cruelly finished.

“The aim is the same as it was last season, promotion, promotion, promotion,” Warner rallied.

“If we can do that, and go on to win the National Championship as well, then that would be amazing.

“We’ve played in the Premier before but didn’t really give a good account of ourselves but, if we can keep on the same trajectory we’ve been on, then this season should see us promoted.

“You have to go out there and earn that though, but yes, I’m confident we can do that this year, after all, we’re a Premiership-level team stuck in Division One.”

Taking their place in the NFC1 South, the Nottingham Caesars will partake in the following match-ups this 2024 season –

Birmingham Bulls (14 April, H), Leicester Panthers (4 May, H), Northants Knights (12 May, H), Shropshire Revolution (19 May, A), Northants Knights (16 June, A), Leicester Panthers (30 June, A), Shropshire Revolution (14 July, H), Birmingham Bulls (21 July, A).

*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).

*Main image @CaesarsFootball Vanden Warner again leads his Caesars side into a new campaign.

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