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Valkyries running backs a tandem to be reckoned with

Click to play video: '‘You either move forward or you don’t’: Valkyries running backs building towards success'
‘You either move forward or you don’t’: Valkyries running backs building towards success
WATCH: The Saskatoon Valkyries have cultivated a winning culture over their tenure as the flagship franchise in the WWCFL, consistently finding ways to win using a balanced offensive attack. One are that's always been a strength for the Valks is their ground game, a strength that they're leaning on again this season, albeit in a new way. Brenden Purdy has the story – Jun 22, 2022

On a sunny Sunday afternoon in May, Sam Matheson was lined up in the backfield with her team scrimmaging from the five. The play was simple, a sweep to the left side.

Five seconds after the snap Matheson was in the end-zone and the celebration was on.

That’s how the 27-year-old opened the 2022 season, a season filled with the promise of another league championship and a shot at the World Championships with Team Canada.

This production coming on the heels of a shortly lived retirement, but her return to football glory was cut short this season following a knee injury.

“At first it was tough,” Matheson admitted. “But what are you going to do, you either move forward or you don’t.”

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The engine that has propelled her to terrorize defences as a top running back in the league also kept her spirits high despite the setback, turning in her pads for a clipboard, shifting to a coaching role with the Valkyries.

“I feel so bad for Sam, she was in great shape and she was doing so well, I feel for her,” Valkyries Head Coach Pat Barry said. “Injuries are a part of sport and of football, but she’s such a positive person and such a great role model, we’re all wishing nothing but the best for her going forward.”

Moving forward in her new role has helped Matheson through the highs and lows, while also benefiting her longtime backfield mate, fellow running back Sarah Wright.

“Sam’s helped me so much even with this year and Team Canada, she took me under her wing because she’s been there before,” Wright said. “So, having that kind of mentor in a sense helped me through that, and even our younger running back going from year-to-year, I can’t thank her enought.”

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“I love working with her on the field,” Matheson added. “I wish we could’ve got some more time together, but now I get to see her killing it.”

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With Matheson sidelined Wright has seized her mantle of being the future back rumbling out of the Valkyries backfield, a job that she’s taken and run with.

While the two made a formidable duo as a dual pronged running attack their tandem as a coach and player is just as strong a force to be reckoned with.

“Even when there’s some kerfuffles on the field, or some plays that don’t go exactly right, I like to be there when they come to the sideline,” Matheson explained. “(When they ask) what they did wrong, it’s really nice to talk them through it and help them improve their game.”

“She’s got a wealth of knowledge and she’s willing to share that,” Wright beamed. “So, I’ll take anything that I can get, honestly.”

“They both get along so well, and they just compete so hard,” Barry assessed. “But, it’s just who (Matheson) is as a person. She’s a great teammate and an even better person, I’m just so happy that she’s stayed with us.”

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