YORKTON / LANGENBURG - Two football players from the local area were among those selected when the Canadian Football League held its draft Tuesday.
Noah Zerr, from Langenburg, who played most recently with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies was taken in the second round, 12th overall by the B.C. Lions.
Peter Kozushka from Yorkton and most recently from the University of Alberta Golden Bears program was selected in the sixth round, 51st overall by the Montreal Alouettes.
Both offensive lineman developed as part of the Yorkton Regional High School program.
“Growing up in Yorkton it had always been a dream for me for a long time,” Kozushka said of his selection.
Wednesday Zerr said he had had a busy day with several calls for interviews, all of which he said he was happy to undertake, adding as a “small town kid” he hasn’t usually been sought out before.
As for the draft, Zerr said it was another step on a journey in football, a step he did get to share with family.
“I came back home (to Langenburg),” he said, adding his parents put on a brisket on the barbecue, and they waited out the draft.
“By the time I got picked there was probably 35 in the house,” he said, adding it was great to “share the special moment” with neighbours, friends and family.
Like Zerr, Kozushka was with family for the draft, as they joined him in Edmonton to watch the proceedings.
“The phone rang, it was Danny Maciocia GM of the Alouettes . . . It was kind of a surreal moment,” said Kozushka.
Kozushka said he wasn’t particular which team selected him, or where he went in the draft.
“I just wanted to go someplace and show everybody what I can do,” he said, adding in the CFL combine ahead of the draft he was not 100 per cent so he has something to show the Als.
In addition, to Maciocia, Kozushka said Montreal’s head coach Khari Jones also reached out to welcome Kozushka to the team.
Kozushka said he does follow the CFL, and is looking forward to heading to Montreal, a team he said performed solidly in 2021 before some late season injuries took their toll.
“It is a competitive team,” he said, adding “my goal is just to go and contribute to the team, to help in any way that I can . . . I just want the opportunity to compete.”
Like Kozushka, Zerr said he wasn’t worried where he might be going.
“Usually organizations keep it pretty close to the vest,” offered Zerr.
But, that said, he added “I did have a feeling” it might be the Lions.
Zerr said at the CFL combine Lions personnel had talked to him and left a good impression.
“I was thinking I wouldn’t mind playing for them,” he said, adding he knew the Lions offensive line coach and thinks he can develop a good working relationship with him.
It helps too Zerr has a brother and sister in B.C., and that his girlfriend has ties there.
“So I’m actually really happy to be going out there,” he said.
Before attending the B.C. camp Zerr will however be heading south after being invited to take part in the NFL New York Giants rookie mini camp.
“I’m super excited,” he said, explaining it was the Giants who approached his agent.
Whether he makes the Giants, or not, Zerr said it is a good opportunity.
“Any experience is good experience,” he said.
As for the Lions camp, going so early in the draft means high expectations for Zerr.
“I think there’s always a little bit pressure when you’re a high calibre athlete, but going in the first couple of rounds there’s a bit of added pressure,” he said.
That said Zerr said that too is part of the game.
“Pressure makes diamonds as they say,” he noted.