Norfolk athlete signs with York Lions

Caleb Pype, right, shakes hands with Warren Craney, York University Lions football head coach, after signing his intent to play with the team. (ASHLEY TAYLOR/SIMCOE REFORMER)

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A Norfolk County student is exactly what the York University Lions football team was looking for.

Caleb Pype, a Grade 12 student in his victory lap year at Valley Heights Secondary School, signed his intent to play with the Lions on Friday in the gymnasium at VHSS.

Warren Craney, head coach of the Lions football team, is expecting big changes next season with Pype on board.

“We knew what we needed to address in terms of being successful was the position that Caleb plays, offensive line, and we really felt in Ontario he was the best one out there,” said Craney. “Now that we’ve got him crazy things are going to happen. We have an expectation that he’s going to come in and lead us to the playoffs.”

Craney added that 18-year-old Pype is the type of player that can make a difference on any team he plays on.

“From the first time we saw him we knew he was going to come in and compete right away and make us be better,” said Craney.

The Lions have had a close eye on Pype for about two years, with the intensity of interest growing in the last six months.

“It feels like a big weight has been lifted, there’s no pressure anymore to make a decision,” said Pype moments after signing his commitment to play with York.

The six-foot-six-inch, 295 pound right guard had the choice between four universities:  McMaster, Wilfrid Laurier, Waterloo, and York.

“All of those schools have great coaches and great programs but it came down to schooling and where I felt most comfortable,” said Pype. He plans on studying sociology during his time as a Lion.

“I’m expecting to fight for a starting spot, and hopefully help them get to a championship,” said Pype.

Even with a star like Pype on the team, Valley Heights’ football program folded a couple weeks into this fall season due to safety concerns from the coaches.

“When the team folded I was actually at a visit at York so I didn’t even know,” said Pype. “When I got back I was disappointed, but this makes up for it.”

Craney added that the first year of university can be tough for any student, and adding the commitment of a sport on top can be hard to handle.

“All of that said I think it actually makes it easier because you walk in already having 90 immediate friends,” said Craney. “The grind is definitely a big change because there’s a heck of a lot more structure, having to eat at a certain time, having to lift at a certain time, having to run at a certain time. Getting used to that structure takes a while but he’s an elite athlete for a reason.”

Pype will be heading to the Keele campus in September to begin his stint with the Lions.

Caleb Pype signs his intent to play with the York University Lions football team alongside coach Warren Craney. The signing took place on Friday at Valley Heights Secondary School. (ASHLEY TAYLOR)