Football program boosts spirits in Green Lake

Beauval’s Kody Couillonneur (20) runs wide on the play, but Green Lake’s Nathan Daigneault (44) is about to make the tackle.

Beauval’s Kody Couillonneur (20) runs wide on the play, but Green Lake’s Nathan Daigneault (44) is about to make the tackle.

by Derek Cornet

Students at St. Pascal School and community members of Green Lake are embracing the arrival of a new sport that kicked off in August.

“We wanted to find the best way to keep the older kids involved in school and do a sport the majority of people in Saskatchewan are in love with,” Green Lake Spirits football team coach and school principal Jordan Kolbeck said. “Football seemed like the thing to do.”

Kolbeck – who initially approached students with the idea of joining the Northern Saskatchewan Football League – said the season began with eight players, and coaches had to recruit additional students to play. Kolbeck said he saw a need in the sports programming at St. Pascal School for Grade 9 students and wanted to provide an opportunity for them.

Since Carpenter High School and Transition Place Education Centre have students enrolled from Green Lake, a partnership agreement was struck between the schools involved and the Saskatchewan High School Athletics Association. Kolbeck added only residents of Green Lake between Grades 9-12 are eligible to play on the team.

“It’s been a phenomenal year so far,” he said. “We we’re joking the other day if the kids had been able to see themselves in August compared to now – just the improvements they’ve made as far as discipline goes – it’s been leaps and bounds.”

On Oct. 21, the Spirits hosted the Beauval Voyageurs for its first playoff game and second home game of the season. The Spirits took control of the first half and finished it with a 20-0 lead. By the end of the contest, the Voyageurs were sent home after losing 46-12.

Green Lake resident Brad Daigneault attended the game and has three children on the local team. A proud Roughrider fan, he was happy football found a home in Green Lake and said he enjoys watching the team play.

“It’s my first time seeing it and I’m enjoying it,” Daigneault said. “The kids like it – my kids like it and they have a lot of fun.”

He also acknowledged the progress the team has made since the start of the season.

If the football program didn’t launch this year, Grade 9 St. Pascal School student and team quarterback Keegan Bouvier said he would have been left out of sports.

“I had nothing else to play because of my age,” he said. “I wasn’t able to play any of the sports I like.”

Bouvier had watched football on TV prior to joining the team and had no previous experience. He said his teammates are dedicated and there hasn’t been issues of players not attending practices or games. Bouvier noted the team is eager to win the Ralph Pilz Trophy – which will be battled for Nov. 1 in Prince Albert – and earn the top spot in the league.

But, to do so, the Spirits must first defeat the Pinehouse Lakers Oct. 27 (results were unavailable at press time). The team devastated the Spirits 80-19 in a regular game Sept. 15. The winner will advance to the league  championship match and take on the eastern division winners.

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