YORKTON - When the Canadian Football League draft is held Tuesday two players from the Yorkton Regional High School program are expected to hear their names called.
Those players Noah Zerr, who played most recently with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and Peter Kozushka from the rival University of Alberta Golden Bears program.
Both players were back in Yorkton Saturday for Football Night In Saskatchewan with each giving brief remarks at the event.
Offensive lineman Kozushka said he was first introduced to football in Yorkton when in Grade 5.
“When football came around it was finally a sport I could excel at,” he said.
For the first few years it was simply spring football, but Kozushka began to really hone his craft in high school with the Raiders.
“We had some good teams, and some not so good teams,” he said, but added looking back it didn’t matter about the wins and losses as those are soon forgotten.
“I can’t tell you how many games we won or scores.”
But, what Kozushka said he did remember were the “people I met,” adding anytime he runs into a former Raider teammate there remains a connection through their time on the football field together.
Kozushka said when you play football “you are thrust onto a team that supports you,” adding “I am very thankful for the support.”
Zerr, also an offensive lineman said football comes down to a dogged pursuit of getting better everyday.
“There’s no secret to success in this sport,” he said, adding early in he recognized he had to work hard and make decisions dedicated to being good at football.
“I grew up in the little town of Langenburg where hockey was the main sport ... pretty well the only sport,” he said.
But, Zerr wanted to play football, and his parents were soon driving him to Yorkton to play, usually “while I got changed in the back seat of the car.”
The effort was worthwhile because Zerr was soon loving the game.
Then high school arrived, and Zerr had to decide whether to play in Esterhazy, or move to Yorkton for an opportunity with the Raiders.
“It was a tough decision for me,” he said, but ultimately he saw Yorkton as the best step “to be successful at the next level.”
So Zerr moved in with coach Jason Boyda for three years to play football with the Raiders.
“My appreciation for this game grew more and more,” said Zerr. “It made me who I am today on and off the field.”
From the Raiders it was off to the Huskies, the team his dad had once played for.
“Growing up every boy wants to be like their dad,” he said.
Zerr started eighth on the depth chart, “but I fought my way to a starting position.
It wasn’t always easy.
“A lot of days I had to ask myself was it worth it?” said Zerr, adding the answer was “always yes. I just had to get out of my own way.”
And therein lies the secret, said Zerr.
“Don’t let anything get in the way of your dreams . . . Do the best you can,” he said.