With the YRHS Sr. Football team playing in the Moose Jaw High School Football League championship game on Saturday and the Jr. Raiders playing in the Regina Minor Football championship on Sunday it has truly been a banner year for the Yorkton football program. After years of ups and downs trying to build the program from the ground up with the institution of the Kinsmen Spring Football League and Yorkton Minor Football and its Atom and Pee Wee teams to trying to build successful teams at the high school level, Yorkton football is heading into championship weekend in Saskatchewan football with the two teams playing at the highest level vying for championship.
A key part to the Raiders success has been an influx of experienced coaches who have played either university of junior football in the Canadian Junior Football League. A blessing that head coach Roby Sharpe does not take for granted. Sharpe reminisced of when him and coach Darcy Zaharia started coaching at the program back in the early 00’s saying, “When we first started coaching the senior football team we had a ‘Pack the Park’ event where the senior and junior teams had home games, and both teams lost by fifty points.” Sharpe notes that a key part of the turnaround is having former players who have played at a high level coming back and adding numbers to a coaching staff that has been slowly growing in quality over the last couple years. Kristen Reusch (Winnipeg Rifles) and Alan Kyle (Regina Rams) have added further experience to a coaching staff that has been growing over the last three seasons. Offensive coordinator Jason Boyda, (Minot State) and linemen coach Scott Wallis (University of Saskatoon Huskies) joined head coach Roby Sharpe (University of Manitoba Bison) defensive coordinator Ryan Effa (Regina Rams) and linemen coach Darcy Zaharia to make a coaching staff that has built a team within itself. Special teams coach Ryley Wawryk, the only coach to not play in the second level has mentioned that having such passionate and knowledgeable coaches has helped everyone on the staff out in terms of different ideas and everyone kind of teaching each other new things. Coach Sharpe also backed up Wawryk’s point by saying, “Now we each kind of have a guy to bounce ideas off of and break things down with in each facet of the game from special teams to the offense/defense and with the linemen and it has really helped us improve as coaches.”
Coach Effa mentioned that having Kyle and Reusch has helped further break teams schemes down with the game film and preparation side of the game, but says the recent success ultimately comes down to the kids. “At the end of the day it comes down to the fact that we have an awesome hard working group of kids who want to learn the game and are willing to learn and prepare to win every week.”
The Raiders program is heading into a weekend where they can show the big name cities and schools in Regina and Moose Jaw that they are ready to be known as an elite football city and a big part of that is the hard work and dedication of an experienced coaching staff guiding a passionate group of talented and hard working players.