Thom Collegiate football team returns to the field after year-long hiatus
REGINA -- A year ago, Thom Collegiate didn’t have enough student interest to field a football team, but now, the Trojans are back on the field against all odds.
“They had to say that we couldn’t have a team here last year, just because of low numbers and low turnout,” said Head Coach Aaron Audette.
Only 19 players showed up to tryouts in 2019. The team needed at least 30 to put together a full roster. The players were given the option to play for Winston Knoll or the Regina Minor Football league.
This year, Audette didn’t want to let that happen.
“This is an opportunity that kids can’t miss out on. There are no second chances when it comes to going through high school,” Audette said.
Working together with Principal Bill DeRosier and 2019 Head Coach Al Neufeld, Audette went out of his way to recruit players and field a team.
“He deserves a lot of credit he helped us out to get this program going again,” said Kaden Williamson, a grade 12 quarterback.
35 students signed up for the team, and there are regularly 30 at practice, almost double from last year. More importantly, enough for a full team.
“I really believe that athletics all around, whether it’s football or other sports are a big part of a school and a big part of the community around it,” Audette noted.
There are no games due to the pandemic, but Audette believes the cancellation of most extra-curricular activities might have helped the Trojans comeback, as one of the few team events that are allowed. The athletes are just happy to be back on the field.
“I came here thinking I wasn’t going to be that good but I actually turned out to be okay,” running back Mason Skaalid joked.
Audette understands the sport and tryouts might be an intimidating process, but he’s encouraging anyone to come out and give it a try.
“There’s been a few younger guys on the fence that have come out and felt like after one day, ‘why haven’t I always been doing this,’” Audette said.
The Trojans won back to back 4A titles in 2001 and 2002 and hope to get back to those battles when regular season sports eventually resume.