2019 AFL Leading Rusher Returning to the Hangar
The Cold Lake Fighter Jets are excited to announce the return of running back Leo Mantuila for the upcoming 2020 AFL season.
At 5-foot-9, 200lbs, the elusive tailback who was a cornerstone of last year’s offence will be looked upon again as a key member of the Jets starting offence.
When it came to whether or not he would be back for another season, Mantuila said it wasn’t a question.
“First, I wanted to return to play for the Fighter Jets because I love this game (football) and extremely passionate about it. Second, it’s for the wonderful friendship and bond I built with my teammates. Third, it’s for the community who have been so supportive toward the Fighter Jets.”
When fans last saw Mantuila he was taking home some major hardware at the Fighter Jets award banquet in November, being voted the team’s first ever TOP OFFENSIVE PLAYER and TEAM MVP.
In his inaugural AFL season in 2019, Mantuila rushed for 810 yards and 7 touchdowns. His offensive output saw the dominant running back claim top spot in the league for yards and rushing TD’s. Making the feat even more impressive was the fact Mantuila missed two games, putting his single game average at 135 yards per game and an outstanding 9.1 yards per carry.
“As good as that stat sounds, it was honestly a team effort. Without my teammates trusting me and putting their body on the line I couldn’t get those stats. I honestly like to do whatever it takes to help the team get that win. I wasn’t too happy the way the season ended last year, regardless of my stats. Winning is the ultimate goal in every game and stats are just the icing on the cake.”
Throughout his off-season Leo has stayed close to the game, helping out with the local Royals High School Football program in the fall. During this time, he’s had the opportunity to reflect on last year and refocus his goals for the 2020 season.
“I’m looking forward to continuing where we left off; I believe we have some unfinished business to take care of from the 2019 season. I’m looking forward to giving it my all for the teamand helping to get where I think we need to be which is hosting a National Championship.”
Prior to making the move to Cold Lake, Mantuila played university football for the Saint Mary’s Huskies. His play in Halifax got him an invite to the 2018 East-West CFL Prospect Bowl, which pits the countries top Canadian football talent against each other in a national showcase event.
The Fighter Jets would like to welcome Leo back to the team. Stay tuned for more returning player announcement’s as well as some exciting new members set to join the squad this 2020.
Article: Andrew Heliotis
Game Photos Courtesy: Game Ready Photography (Debra Kaban, July 13, 2019) https://www.gamereadyphotography.com/
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