Nova Scotia’s 71st high school football season centres around the nationally recruited Shaun Robinson, a defensive end for the Citadel Phoenix, a team vying for their sixth straight championship. But the 2013 season is a vulnerable one for Citadel. Their lack of offensive firepower forces them to rely on their stout defense, anchored by Robinson–a player everyone in the league is trying to stop. At Citadel’s helm is Coach Mike Tanner, the most successful high school football coach in Canada, and winner of 21 provincial championships. As the 2013 season begins, two of Citadel’s rivals are trying to position themselves to knock off the champs. The C.P. Allen Cheetahs of Bedford have never beaten a Tanner team in their fifteen years. When the two teams meet under the Thursday night lights of the Cheetahs’ new field, all of Bedford comes out to watch a possible shift in the city’s football power. The other challengers are the Sir. John A. Flames, whose founding coach, Al Wetmore, is a Tanner prodigy and former CFL football player. Salt of the Turf chronicles the Citadel Phoenix during their 2013 season, highlighting the inspirational journey of its best player, and periodically looking back at the memorable legacy of a remarkable coach.
Michael Cosgrove is a former football player and high school head coach. His articles and photojournalism have appeared in Canadian Author, Access Magazine, The Coast, and Halifax Magazine. He received his B.Ed. from the University of British Columbia and his M.Ed in both Educational Foundations and Curriculum Studies from Mount Saint Vincent University. Michael resides in Dartmouth, NS with his wife and two daughters where he teaches English and Philosophy at a local high school.
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