Kelowna quarterback Joey Howorko is home for Thanksgiving.
American Thanksgiving, that is.
For the last two school years, Howorko has been in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., pursuing his dream of becoming a professional football player.
Attending Saddleback Valley Christian School, Howorko and the Warriors posted a record of 3-7 this season.
“It was definitely a learning year for us,” said the 6-foot-2 and 210-pound Howorko.
In the U.S., the culture of Friday Night Lights and high school football is off the charts compared to Canada.
“My first varsity game this year, there was 5,000 people in the stands and I couldn’t even hear my Coach from 10 feet away,” said Howorko.
It’s that culture of football fanaticism that the 17-year-old sophomore is trying to tap into.
“The football players, the football coaches are a lot more talented down there,” said Howorko. “I believe I’ve learned a lot more than I would up here.”
Howorko is hoping that his American apprenticeship will be pivotal to furthering his aspirations as a quarterback and his education.
“The goal would always be to go to the NFL,” he said, “but right now the main goal is college.”
To that end, Howorko has just been ranked by QB List, an online site that ranks football players.
Howorko said for the Class of 2022, he was ranked 42nd for pro-style quarterbacks and No. 5 in California.
In scouting Howorko, QB List gave a glowing review, stating he’s “a tall presence in the backfield with excellent vision downfield. Works well in the backfield whether it’s as a pocket passer or on the run.”
It may seem like Howorko is going a few extra yards, but it happens in hockey all the time. And if putting their son into a private school in California is what it takes, Joey’s parents are prepared to do it.
“We wouldn’t do this if he wasn’t committed, if we didn’t see that he has the drive and the passion to do what it takes,” said Joe Howorko, Joey’s father.
Howorko will return to quarterback Saddleback Valley Christian School next season as a junior and continue to do whatever it takes to achieve his goal.