Football Manitoba future on display

He may be the perfect example of what Football Manitoba is trying to achieve with its Blue and Gold development program.

Wide receiver Kurt Goodrich was cut after trying out for the Under-19 provincial team three years ago.

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“I had an injury but that motivated me,” Goodrich said Thursday. “That pushed me to get better. I get into their sprints program and I was thinking the whole time that I could be on that (provincial) team.”

He not only cracked the roster last year but was the most dominant receiver at the Canada Cup (national championship).

“He was an all-star at the Canada Cup and led in every single receiver category in that tournament,” said Football Manitoba technical director Kris Johnston.

Goodrich continued that success in the Winnipeg High School Football League, being named the top offensive player of the Currie Division. The Grade 12 West Kildonan student was also the first football player to ever be named Sport Manitoba’s male junior athlete of the year and has been recruited to play for the University of Manitoba Bisons.

“It’s been a great year overall with our school winning the football championship and the awards,” said Goodrich, who has been attending this week’s tryout camp leading up to the Winnipeg Sun Under-18 Blue and Gold Game to be played at Canad Inns Stadium on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Because the program has been changed from an Under-19 format to Under-18, Goodrich is one of about 30 players returning from last year’s provincial squad. They include quarterback Theo Deezar and linebacker D.J. Lalama, both of the St. Paul’s Crusaders, and Churchill Bulldogs defensive lineman Evan Gill.

Johnston is also anxious to have a look at West Kildonan’s Mitchell MacKay, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound offensive lineman who is trying out for the first time.

“He’s an excellent prospect who showed great athleticism and has a lot of potential,” Johnston said.

Other highly-rated prospects trying out for the first time include Sisler Spartans quarterback Tyler Vieira and River East Kodiaks running back Cole Ridd.

Coaches will use the game to establish a 54-man roster, then pare it down to the 40 players that will represent Manitoba at the nationals at the University of Arcadia in Nova Scotia, July 10-17.

“Obviously, we’re looking for good players but we’re also looking for who will best fit into the team so the team will have some continuity,” Johnston said. “They have to jell in a very short time.”

Some of the players who have played in the Blue and Gold game before include Winnipeggers Eddie Steele, who was just drafted by the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and Don Oramasionwu of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and Brandon’s Israel Idonije, who now plays for the NFL’s Chicago Bears.

The Winnipeg Sun Blue and Gold Under-16 Game will be played Saturday at 1 p.m.


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