REGINA — Zenon Orobko, a 2020 Unity Composite High School graduate, can now add a Prairie Junior Football Conference championship to his resumé. The Regina Thunder defeated long-time rivals, the Saskatoon Hilltops, at Mosaic Stadium on Oct. 20 capturing the PJFC championship.
Orobko transitioned from player to a member of the coaching staff for the Regina Thunder in 2020-21.
“In the middle of June, head coach, Scott MacAulay, called me and asked me to coach quarterbacks on the team. I eagerly responded yes,” Orobko says.
Twenty-one-year-olds on the coaching roster for teams in the PJFC are rare.
“It was an exciting opportunity to be a coach of an elite post-secondary football team in Saskatchewan and one I am incredibly grateful for. The team’s culture made it very easy for me to fit in as coach and I have enjoyed it ever since.”
Orobko is in his third year in the faculty of education at the College of Education and says he has always believed teachers make the best coaches. He is interested in pursuing coaching further.
“Although I am very young on my journey, I have many great resources and experiences and I can see myself, potentially, making a career out of coaching,” adds Orobko.
The senior boys’ basketball team at Campbell Collegiate in Regina will also include Orobko on the bench as head coach.
Ben Walz, from Major, Sask., a former SHSAA player with the Kerrobert Rebels, is currently a receiver on the Thunder’s roster and although he is a rookie, he travelled and dressed in every home game, including both playoff games. He made a key reception on second down in the fourth quarter, on a drive where the Thunder eventually scored the game-sealing touchdown. Orobko says all the coaches for the Thunder have been impressed with his work ethic and quick-learning and see him as a key contributor for years to come.
Kerrobert Rebels coach, Troy Snider, who was part of Walz's high school football experience says, "I was able to livestream his games. We are so proud of Ben for all his hard work and wish him luck in the Final!”
The Regina Thunder’s victory winning the PFC championship was the first since 2013 and the team now advances to the Canadian Bowl on Nov. 12, again at Mosaic Stadium, playing the Okanagan Sun.