Although both the USports and Saskatoon High School football seasons have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the players were still able to take to the field this past week.
The Elite Football Camp, hosted by the Saskatchewan Huskies, featured current members of the football team, and head coach Scott Flory, who put the teen athletes through week-long training sessions.
One of the coaches who jumped at the opportunity was defensive end Riley Pickett, since for him, not being able to play this season is a major downside. But, passing on the years of knowledge he’s picked up to the next generation of players only seemed fitting.
“They know they don’t have a high school season, so, they’re coming out here and leaving it all out on the field,” Pickett said. “It’s just good to see all of these guys that are hungry and just want to make plays. Even without pads on, and with all of the restrictions, it’s good to see.”
Veterans like Pickett have relished their roles as coaches at the camp, while keeping their teaching lessons simple, to help the young athletes build on their existing skills.
“You just want to coach them properly,” Pickett added. “They just want to know things that you should’ve known when you were younger. It’s like everything is fundamental.”
“Just in this last week they’ve given me a lot of tips on how to be more explosive, and how to shoot my hands better,” Holy Cross Crusaders defensive end Carter Shurvell said.
Although the long lay-off between in-game action could’ve been detrimental to player development, the teens elevated their play in front of players they want to emulate.
“Everyone has pretty much developed a lot, and gotten to where they have been in the past, and to where they want to be getting to now,” Shurvell added.
“We’re trying to do competition stuff here as much as we possibly can,” Flory said. “Because guys — they’ve got to compete, athletes are just wired that way.”
However, it’s not just the youngster who are benefiting from the camp.
“Our guys love it,” Flory added with a grin. “I think our guys might get more out of it than the high school guys.”
“That’s why I took this coaching job,” Pickett echoed. “I wanted to get back out here myself and get the feel of it; the intensity and the excitement. It’s honestly just like a joyful boost to the day, and the mood with everything that’s going on.”