MONCTON, N.B. - Even some 4,600 km away from home, Mark DeWitt will his own personal cheering section at Touchdown Atlantic.
At practice Friday at Rocky Stone Field, John and Sheryl DeWitt showed up wearing Hamilton Tiger-Cats gear to root on their son.
They came to practice despite taking a red-eye flight to Halifax from Calgary and then driving to Moncton for the afternoon session.
“They are really supportive of me,” said Mark DeWitt, the Calgary product who is now the starting centre for the Ticats, adding this is a special game playing the Stampeders.
“I grew up cheering for these guys. They are the enemy now, of course, but it’s always fun when I play against Calgary.”
A year ago, DeWitt wasn’t sure if he would still be playing in the league let alone taking a starting position.
After getting released by the Toronto Argonauts in 2010 training camp, Mark and his father were driving his car home on a trip through the U.S.
Somewhere in Montana, DeWitt got the call from the Tiger-Cats, so the day after he got home, he flew back to Ontario.
“I wasn’t sure what would happen,” DeWitt said. “I was taking it day by day. It was a good time to think.”
This year, he’s getting a chance to start because veteran centre Marwan Hage injured his knee and missed the last two games.
DeWitt is obviously in a tough spot as the replacement for last season’s most outstanding lineman in the East Division, but he drew a good review from head coach Marcel Bellefeuille.
“He’s an intelligent young player,” Bellefeuille said. “He makes the calls and gets us lined up correctly. He’s held up well there physically.
“Marwan has a different dimension in terms of leadership and nastiness he brings in the run game. We’re happy with what Mark’s accomplished so far.”