YORKTON – The Canadian Junior Football League held a pre-season game at Century Field on Saturday afternoon between the Regina Thunder and Winnipeg Rifles.
"The stands were packed from one end to the other," said Yorkton's Jason Boyda of Yorkton Minor Football and a Defensive Line Coach for the Thunder, adding, “for the middle of summer, the crowd that we got was fantastic," and, "I would say there was at least a thousand people."
Boyda said the game marked the first CJFL preseason game to be hosted in Yorkton.
"The way this came about was I was helping coach with the spring camp for the Regina Thunder – pre-practice I was having a conversation with the Regina Thunder President...and he thought it'd be so cool if Yorkton would host a pre-season game,” said Boyda, adding, “a lot of our players go there to play football and he thought it'd be a great way of showcasing the Regina Thunder in Yorkton, and a great way of our community showcasing our facilities and our volunteers and how we do things in the garlic curtain.”
The final score for the game saw the home province team win 46-3.
Boyda said it's the community and sponsors that make these kind of events possible.
“Yorkton Dodge sponsoring and other community members stepping up – volunteering and making this event happen in our community,” said Boyda, adding, “we're football strong here and we can't do what we do without the support of the community, so that's one thing I get extremely, extremely emotional and proud of – being from Yorkton and having the support that we have.”
Boyda referenced several players on the Thunder who are originally from Yorkton.
“I'm not going to lie to you, I got a little emotional because my son (Jaxon Boyda) is on that team and he scored a touchdown...he scored his first CJFL touchdown in his hometown – it was really cool,” said Boyda.
“I'm coaching the defensive line – so I have Reece McCormick – you know, good old Yorkton boy – I get a chance to coach him,” said Boyda, adding, “I taught him in elementary school, coached him in basketball, coached him in high school football – now I get a chance to coach him at the next level with a few other Yorkton boys,”
“That's special...not many coaches get to do that or have that opportunity,” said Boyda.
Boyda said he has a busy fall lined up.
“Once high school season starts I'll probably do double duty between the high school in Yorkton and the team in Regina – my plate will be pretty full.”