Category: Features

Athletic success runs in the family for Bison commit Tachinski

By: Mike Still (@mikestill94)

Feature photo: Tachinski back to pass against St. Paul’s

It was a memorable season for Vincent Massey Collegiate quarterback/point guard Jackson Tachinski, who took home provincial titles in both football and basketball in 2018-19. His athletic journey has far more mileage to go however, as the two-sport star announced his commitment this week to play both sports for the University of Manitoba in 2019-20. 

“It’s going to take a while to transition obviously, because of the faster pace of the game,” he says. 

“I’m expecting to make a lot of mistakes but that will help me to improve. With balancing the two sports, I’m just looking to work really hard. It’s going to be a challenge but I think I’m up for it. This is what I really want to do.”

Each of Jackson’s older siblings – twin sisters Victoria and Kennedy and the eldest Xander – come from athletic backgrounds, so it should come as no surprise that he went all in as well. Victoria is at Penn State on a track scholarship, while Xander recently completed his first year with the McMaster Marauders as a receiver. 

Back in the day though, Xander was an accomplished pivot, including winning MVP in the WHSFL Division 1 ANAVETS Bowl in his senior year with St. Paul’s while also excelling in hockey and basketball.

“Being the oldest, I was always allowed to figure my way and my parents were always super encouraging of me trying out multiple sports, whether it was basketball, football, hockey or soccer,” he says.

“They always supported it and I think that led to my siblings trying out a bunch of sports and being successful at that.”

His abilities as ‘the guy’ had a clear impact on Jackson. 

“Growing up [Xander] was a really good quarterback for St. Paul’s. I really looked up to him and thought I might as well try it. I like being a leader on the field and conducting everything. I also like having all the pressure on me. When the team gets blame I can take it. I think that’s really important.”

Jackson had his older brother as his coach for both flag football and basketball in middle school. While he wasn’t necessarily the star player at that time, it was his ability to take direction and work ethic that stood out. 

“It was fun. He’s a great guy to coach because he’s super responsive. I guess that also comes with being his older brother. He’s going to listen to me because we know each other so well,” Xander says.

“He wasn’t the star player but he was still super hard working and very coachable. Because he built those traits as a secondary player, now he has the physical ability to be the star player and he still has those other traits. That’s what makes him such a special player.”

Jackson’s dedication to athletics continued to grow as he aged. He was rewarded in grade ten by being appointed starting quarterback for Vincent Massey’s JV football team. The squad rolled to a provincial title with Tachinski being named MVP.

“I think his JV years in terms of basketball and football, they were stepping stones,” says Xander.

“He wasn’t necessarily ‘the guy,’ but he was enough of the guy more than he was previously. He developed the hard work and the leadership and confidence enough in himself at a young age and it just allowed him to get better and better every single year.”

The following year Tachinski made Massey’s varsity team for both basketball and football. But the year ended in heartbreak as the bball team was ousted by St. Paul’s in the provincial final while the football team fell in the semi-finals. 

Despite the result in both sports, Jackson was quick to bring up the lesson that was learned in defeat. 

“I think every championship team needs to learn how to lose and our grade 11 season that’s exactly what happened. You need to learn how to lose so that you can take that feeling and know that you never want to feel it again.”

In the offseason and into the summer, Tachinski put his head down and simply got to work. When he wasn’t on the field or on the court training, he was in the weight room. Additionally, he was Team Manitoba’s starting quarterback for the U18 Canada Cup in July and the following month helped lead his province to an undefeated gold medal in flag football in Halifax. Right after that, he headed to Kamloops where he was Manitoba’s backup point guard for nationals. 

“It was really good for me, because I dedicated a lot of time to those teams and the coaching was amazing,” he says of his provincial team experience last summer. “I improved a lot with them and got to play against really good competition with both provincial teams. I’m thankful I got to play for each.”

Tachinski’s senior year was one to remember. On the field he threw for over 1200 yards and didn’t toss a single interception en route to an undefeated regular season. The year was capped off with the team’s second victory of 2018 against powerhouse St. Paul’s in the ANAVETS Bowl. Tachinski was rewarded for his efforts as game MVP after perfectly executing the two-minute drill for the come-from-behind 28-25 win. 

“When I was walking onto the field for the final drive of the game, I just didn’t want to lose at all,” the humble pivot says. 

“I couldn’t even imagine losing and nothing was going to stop me or our team from losing that game. In that kind of situation, you’ve just got to keep looking at the clock and keep trying to get first downs. You can’t really worry about how many yards you’re going to get, just keep focusing on first downs and keeping your eye on the clock.”

The recognition didn’t stop there as the senior was named Division 1’s co-winner of Offensive Player of the Year along with Garden City pivot and fellow Bison commit Jarrett Alcaraz. But like the leader that he is, Tachinski preferred to take the attention off of him and focus on the team as a whole. 

“I don’t really care too much about winning awards,” he says after a quick pause.

“The very first game of the season against Oak Park I threw three touchdowns and 200 yards or so. I didn’t really know what to expect from our team and myself but we played a really good game. After the game I was really excited because I saw the path our team was going towards and I just wanted to work hard and be a part of it and hopefully we had a championship-winning season ahead of us. We did and it was really fun.”

On the basketball court, Tachinski also turned into a game-changer, providing 20 points per game for a club that already had a massive impact inside with long-time friend and multi-sport teammate Kyler Filewich along with fellow big Donald Stewart. He was also named a provincial tournament all-star when all was said and done. 

“I think I just got a lot better skill-wise,” he says. 

“I became a much better shooter and got much more confident, and sports is all about confidence in my opinion. When you have that confidence you can do better things. I think that’s what really kicked in for me.”

Now, Tachinski sets his sights on the post-secondary experience. He has his siblings to use as resources, however Xander isn’t worried about the moment being too big for the younger bro.

“As a family, we don’t look for pressures or limitations. We just look for opportunities. We’ve talked university sports because of my experience and the time commitment and stuff like that, so I think he has a pretty good idea of what it’s like.

I think he’s able to put it together pretty well just based on what he sees in his older siblings. In terms of pressure and being a university athlete, I don’t think he thinks about that at all. I think he focuses on being a good teammate and doing whatever it takes for his team to win.”

All-Canadian Kitzman brings size, physicality to Bisons defence

By: Mike Still (@mikestill94)

Feature photo: Tye Kitzman sizing up a receiver. Photo by the Okanagan Sun.

There’s no mistaking defensive back Tye Kitzman’s love for football. For evidence, look no further than the graduate of Clarence Fulton Secondary’s high school responsibilities, where he went both ways as quarterback and safety. 

“It’s something I’ve always loved and I didn’t really want to come off the field,” the product of Vernon, BC says. 

“Having a small roster we had a lot of guys come up from the junior level to play on the senior team and we weren’t the powerhouse of the league by any means, but I loved being able to play and hopefully take it to the next level.”

Originally intent on heading to either UBC or an NCAA Division II school following graduation in 2015, a message from a coach whose camp he’d previously attended changed his mind. 

It was mentioned to him that Shane Beatty with the Canadian Junior Football League’s (CJFL) Okanagan Sun was looking for more defensive backs. He reached out to the head coach, who offered for him to come to indoor practices in the spring and winter. The rest is history. 

“I made a bond with [Beatty] and it went well, so it made it an easy choice because it was so close to home and would make the transition a bit easier coming out of high school.”

Kitzman was injured during his rookie year, however he still vividly remembers the run that his squad went on in 2015, going 12-0 en route to a Cullen Cup championship. Beatty was a big part of Okanagan’s resurgence, completely changing the image of the program and expectations while bolstering a defence that included British Columbia Football Conference (BCFC)  all-stars such as Brennan Van Nistelrooy, Matt McConnell, Cord Delinte and Jonas Gering. 

“I think [Beatty] totally turned the program around,” Kitzman says. 

“He made a big change with his intensity, focus and knowledge of the game. You could obviously see with the record, he was very successful. With the Sun we always preach family and in my first year there was a huge family vibe. Everybody got along but there was also always competition. It was definitely a place that guys wanted to be.”

The following year there was a switch in leadership, as Beatty departed and Ben Macauley stepped in. The team will still quite strong defensively however, with Kitzman earning the team’s Most Improved Player award after recording 23 tackles and three interceptions. 

“I never honestly played corner or had real training at DB until I came to the Sun,” he says. 

“My second year there I just kind of got the hang of it and started to improve my game a bit. By the end of the year I had confidence in what I was doing.

Kitzman – who stands at 6’2” and over 200 pounds – loves to use his physicality to disrupt receivers from their routes at the line of scrimmage. This strategy continued to pay off in his third and fourth year with the Sun, where he tallied a combined nine interceptions, 15 pass defenses, a fumble recovery and two scores. He was also honoured as a BCFC all-star in both years as well as being named a CJFL All-Canadian in 2017. 

“Coming into my third year, I knew I could step up my game. I didn’t want to just be another name on the roster. I wanted to make a name for myself and excel,” he says. 

“I busted my ass and put the work in every day. Having a great coach like [defensive coordinator] Nathan Mollard who really knew I was there to put in the work, he pushed me to be great and every day I was looking for something to improve on. I was watching a lot of film, doing everything I could to be the best and it turned out well for me that year.”

At the end of the 2018 season, Kitzman knew he wanted to move onto the U SPORTS level. He talked to a lot of schools, one of which was Brian Dobie from the Manitoba Bisons, who came out every year for a recruiting trip. He vibed with Manitoba’s bench boss and the two kept in touch. Not too long after in the new year, it was a done deal that he’d be taking his talents to the 204. 

The move also made sense logistically. While Kitzman played corner for the Sun, his likely landing spot with Manitoba would be either strong side linebacker or safety due to his tacking abilities, physicality and range. 

“I made my trip out there and immediately loved it. I sat down for a few hours with the DC and we started connecting and talking about the playbook and what he wanted from me. It was a really good connection between all the coaches and their facilities are amazing. It just seemed like the best opportunity to excel in the position I’d be coming into with their SAM and safety leaving.”

Kitzman is also coming into camp with the right attitude He knows he’s already used up two years of his university eligibility and wants to find the field right from the jump. 

“I don’t want to come in and just be on the roster and sit on the bench for a couple of years. I don’t have that kind of time. I only have three years so I want to be able to come in and make a difference right away.”

Hulking defensive lineman Stevenson will take his talents to Mount Allison

By: Mike Still (@mikestill94)

Going into grade nine, Gabe Stevenson grew six inches, propelling him to an impressive six-foot-six. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that head coach Beau Wilkes and the rest of the Garden City staff decided his best fit was at defensive line.

“I actually wanted to play linebacker when I first signed up for the team, but there was a need for linemen, and with my height I was a better fit at defensive lineman,” Stevenson says.

“Naturally, I did what’s best for the team and it kind of went from there.”

Stevenson had played community football as a kid, but drifted away from the sport in middle school due to commitments with hockey. He was excited to return to the gridiron once he reached his freshman year of high school, but needed some pointers, as he’d never played defensive line before.

Cue fellow lineman Kieran Cummings — a member of the Saskatchewan Huskies Hardy Cup-winning squad this past year who was Garden City’s team MVP in both 2016 and 2017. He was instrumental in helping Stevenson grasp the concepts and flow of playing up front.

“It was great,” Stevenson says of his relationship with Cummings.

“We played together when I played for the [North Winnipeg] Nomads, so going into Garden City I knew him. Ever since I joined the team, our friendship just gotten stronger and stronger. I kind of see him as my mentor who I can go to and ask for advice or tips on how I can get stronger.”

With a year of experience under his belt, the 235-pounder felt confident heading into his grade ten season. He picked up three tackles in relief of one of the squad’s seniors who was injured during a regular season game and also played admirably in Cummings’s spot after he went down with injury during the quarter-finals.

From grade 11 onwards, Stevenson didn’t leave the field much. He grew another inch and was also asked to play offensive line for the first time.

“Obviously I’d never played on the offensive line, so that was a big learning curve that I needed to master. Luckily again, Kieran was right there with me to help me along the way. Not only did I get stronger on the defensive line but I got stronger on the offensive line too.”

Going into his senior year, Stevenson felt confident. The versatile end/tackle picked up 12 tackles and was part of a Garden City roster that finished 5-2 in the regular season, making it all the way to the semi-finals before being knocked off by Vincent Massey.

“With the group of players that we had, we felt like we could make a really strong push for the championship,” he says.

“Unfortunately it didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but we obviously gave it a good run having the best regular season that Garden City has ever had, but it’s a bit sour because we didn’t bring home a championship.”

While the final result wasn’t what Stevenson and company wanted, there was still a light at the end of the tunnel.

Mount Allison University had become aware of the big-bodied lineman and sent him an email in the week leading up to the semi-final contest. He talked back-and-forth with the team’s recruiter and eventually head coach Peter Fraser, who put his mind at ease.

“From what I was reading and hearing, I had a good feeling about [Mount Allison]. I was sold when I went on my official visit not too long ago when I went to the campus and met some of the guys out there. How welcomed I felt, it was truly a perfect fit in my opinion in terms of what I wanted academic and football-wise.”

Stevenson is big into drama and production and was very impressed by the school’s performing arts centre. He also meshed well with some of the professors he met that teach psychology and sociology — two subjects that he’s interested in minoring in.

While going pro is the ultimate goal for the Garden City product, he also realizes the importance of his education while in New Brunswick.

“I’m just focused right now on getting my degree. That’s something my parents have preached my whole life.

But I’m also going there to try and help the team in any way that I can. At the end of my career, I hope that I’ve proven to be one of the better players that Mount A has had and if that leads to a CFL or NFL opportunity, I’ll gladly explore it. If not, I’ll still be happy with what I’ve accomplished there, but hopefully my football career doesn’t end at Mount A.”

Everything you need to know about Team Manitoba’s senior men’s flag team

By: Mike Still (@mikestill94)

Last year, Team Manitoba’s senior men’s flag team was near unstoppable. They rolled through their first two games at nationals, outscoring their opponents 90-0 before eventually topping a Team Canada squad that included former CFL players Chris Bauman and Chris Getzlaf. 

With that in mind, it’s not surprising that head coach Mike Laping – who has over two decades of experience in the sport – has high expectations for the defending national champs, who will enter this year’s tournament in Saskatoon as Team Canada. 

“We really have to win again this year,” he says passionately. 

“We’re really looking forward to it. I think all the guys bought in on it last year. The changes we had to make were more logistical more than a player not fitting in. We just added to what I learned from nationals last year and seeing what the other teams do, because every province seems to do things a little differently.”

As noted by Laping, there are a few adjustments being made to this year’s roster, including the addition of receivers Billy Matwichyna, Noah Dornn, and Michael Goldenstein and defensive back Shae Weekes, all of the Manitoba Bisons. The quartet will join Riley Harrison and Jamie Ybarra Jr., each of whom were on the roster for both the Bisons and Laping last season. 

“As a coach, I can tell you that I’m always looking at learning more. And I like the young guys here because I can pick their brains too. They bring so much to the table and are knowledgeable, otherwise they wouldn’t be playing university football, so it’s invaluable to the team to have them,” Laping says of the Bison connection. 

“It makes my life a lot easier when you’ve got kids who want to play hard, but you can ask a question and they always have an intelligent answer for you, which I like, because they understand the game so well.”

Of the above mentiond group, Ybarra Jr. stands out, both from his performance at the national tournament last year – where he was named to Team Canada’s World Flag Football Championships roster – as well as his long-term connection to Laping. 

“I love Jamie. I think everybody knows Jamie’s my favourite. You’re not supposed to have favourites, but he is,” the head coach says. 

“I met Jamie when he was in high school at St. Paul’s and honestly when I first saw him I didn’t like him. And just the way he acts and does things, it’s impossible not to like him for long. He’s just an awesome kid. Then on the football field he’s just smart and so athletic. Even when he seems to be wrong, he ends up being right. He’s one of those kinds of guys. Everybody on the team loves him.” 

The other player who earned a nod to Team Canada’s Worlds roster last year was defensive MVP Julian Banares, a humble and hard-working athlete who also shone as a receiver for the Winnipeg Rifles in the past. He’ll be the team’s defensive captain. 

He just works,” Laping says. 

“He can flag so well, he can cover anybody on the field. Man, zone you name it. He makes all the calls on the field, he does everything on the field and doesn’t need any help. He’s just a special guy.”

Captaining the offensive side of the ball will be returning centre Keith Bourgeois, who Laping describes as “one of the most fundamentally sound snappers in Canada.”

“He’s got to snap the ball back, sometimes 12-15 yards on a rope and then get down field and get open. Keith’s special at that. He also catches everything. He’s probably one of the best catching centres in Canada, and once he catches the ball he’s pretty hard to flag, so he’s dynamic at that spot.”

Manning the pivot position will be PIT football co-founder Jon Franklin, who brings over three decades of experience to the game. 

“Really on this size of a football field, there is not a better quarterback,” says Laping. 

“He’s smart, he can adjust well, he can throw the ball into tighter windows. I’ve known Jon and played personally with and against him for well over 15 years and in that time span he’s just gotten continually better.”

Rounding out the roster are four veteran players who have a deep-rooted passion for touch and flag football and that Laping has gotten to know quite well over the years. 

Rusher Brandon Labonte is “a track star who’s just so fast,” Kurt Yakimoski is “easily the best flagger in Canada,” Justin Stewart is a “tough kid who’s a ride-or-die player,” and Jeff Draper is a big-bodied 6’7” corner and slot receiver who is “athletic and quicker than you think for being that size.”

Laping’s squad will play in the mandatory Canadian Flag Football League and will also compete at western regionals, taking place from May 18-20 in Winnipeg. They will then move on to nationals in Saskatoon from July 26-28, looking to defend their title against teams from Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. 

The cost to head to nationals is roughly $7000 and Laping and company are looking for any help sponsorship or finance-wise as the team prepares to defend their title.  For more information, please email Mike at

Taylor brings mentorship, proven success to Wolfpack

By: Mike Still (@mikestill94)

Feature photo: Taylor (third from left) as part of Team Manitoba’s U16 staff this past summer.

The Winnipeg Wolfpack women’s tackle football team will have a new head coach steering the ship this season, in Aaron Taylor. 

The former WHSFL champ as a defensive back with Kelvin brings close to two decades of coaching experience with him, ranging all the way from the U16 provincial team to the junior football ranks with the Winnipeg Rifles. 

Taylor has been a coach for the provincial team on eight different occasions. He began with the U19 age group (now U18) but found his niche over the past few years with the U16 squad, including bringing home multiple silver medals as a part of well-respected head coach Jeff Ready’s defensive staff.  

“I found with U16, it’s more of the base builder,” he says. “You get to teach the mechanics and then prep the players to go up to U18 where they can learn more of the x’s and o’s.”

Taylor spent the 2013 season as the defensive backs coach for Dakota, moving onto Ryan Karhut’s Rifles staff the next year. It was in this position where he had the unique opportunity to teach the receivers the game from a defensive back’s perspective. 

The roster was loaded with top-level talent, including one of the best in program history in Kurt Goodrich and Niclas Bembenek – who both finished in the top three in receiving yards that year. Taylor was also responsible for helping current McMaster receiver Xander Tachinski make the transition from quarterback. 

“It was a good year. We had unreal athletes. I think it was just about working on the mental aspect of the game – I didn’t have to teach athleticism.”

The following year, Taylor took over as head coach of the East Side Eagles major junior program, leading the squad to an undefeated league championship. The program also received that year’s Coaching Staff of the Year award. 

When asked about his experience at the major junior level, Taylor was quick to bring up the mentorship program that he started at East Side, where he would bring all the younger Eagles athletes – from the cruncher to bantam levels – to practice so that his players could help coach them. 

“You take the little guys and tell them to run into that big guy as hard as you can and that little guy, he might be scared to hit, but once he hits that big guy and feels no pain and maybe knocks him over, then that changes their mindset in football going forward,” he says with a smile. 

“And for the older guys, they’re scared to coach the little kids, but then half an hour into the practice all of a sudden you see one of the guys has a little kid on his shoulder running around the field with him and has a bigger smile than the little kid. It kind of switches in their mind that maybe I can be a coach when I’m done playing football.”

Taylor then spent 2016-17 with the North Winnipeg Nomads as head coach and director of football operations, where he helped to revive their major junior team. His passion for the majors age group is rooted in his ability to help build a base for players who may want to play junior or university at some point. 

“Guys that weren’t ready for university or junior, I was trying to get them to come from high school and play a year or two of majors,” he says passionately. 

“You’re playing against that 22-year-old athlete that’s been in the gym for a while, and you know what, if you want to leave majors and play junior, go ahead. Go at 20 years old and play three years of junior. So I was trying to help players make that transition.”

Last year, Taylor worked behind the scenes supporting the Wolfpack. He had been introduced to the team during his time with the Nomads, as the squad used their field to practice. In the offseason, the program decided to make a head coaching change and he was approached to take over. 

“I thought, I have a big enough base of friends who are coaches, I’m going to see what I can do. It’s their offseason from high school and they can’t enough football as it is. So if I could bring them out in the winter/spring, I might be able to put something together.”

Taylor noted that one of the biggest challenges when he came in was recruiting enough players, as the Wolfpack had to fold their last two games last season due to not having enough numbers as a result of injuries. But it doesn’t sound like that will be a problem any longer, as the team immediately bought into what the head coach was selling. 

“We had a meeting right off the hop with all the veterans where I explained to them my coaching style and expectations. All I saw was smiles in the room from the 20 players. They were like yeah, you know what, we can make this happen. 

Really the players went out and found all the other players we have now. The veterans are really buying in and the next 2-3 months are going to be really exciting.”

Just under 50 players showed up to the team’s first group workout in early January, 32 of which are rookies to the Western Women’s Canadian Football League (WWCFL). Taylor says he’s excited for what this season holds, emphasizing that the x’s and o’s of the game will be a major priority. 

“What we want to do is max out the mental part of the game for them, and then the only thing they’re limited by is their physical ability, and you can work on that. If we can load their brain with knowing the game, that’s half the battle.”

Lloyd brings fierce competitiveness to Bisons receiving corps

By: Mike Still (@mikestill94)

Feature photo: Vaughan Lloyd shortly after signing with Manitoba.

Vaughan Lloyd knows a thing or two about how to adapt and thrive on the football field.

For example, Lloyd — a running back since his community football days with the Fort Garry Lions — was forced to sit out his grade 11 season with Vincent Massey after transferring from St. Paul’s. Instead of feeling sad for himself though, he chose to take mental notes on his opponents by “just watching the game and seeing what people did well and didn’t do well and adding it to my game.”

When Lloyd’s senior year rolled around, a new challenge was thrown his way. Former Midget Football League of Manitoba Offensive Player of the Year Breydon Stubbs was brought into the fold at running back and naturally, only one player would get the spot.

Lloyd was fully ready to compete with Stubbs for starting time. The two went back-and-forth in the spring before Massey head coach Kelsey McKay made an executive decision on the first day of summer camp, moving the former to slotback.

Interestingly, this wasn’t the first time Lloyd was shifted to the position.

“In U16 when coach [Kelsey] McKay was the head coach, he actually moved me to slot then,” he says.

“When I was younger, I was more nervous about a suicide ball or just trusting the quarterback to get me the ball versus just being handed the ball at running back. But especially this year with [senior quarterback] Jackson [Tachinski], who I’ve played a lot of football with over the years, we have a really good relationship and I know the throws he can make and how good he is. It made playing slot this year a lot more fun.”

Lloyd’s first week at slotback in his senior year against Oak Park offered a tantalizing taste of what was to come. He demonstrated his speed and route-running abilities, hauling in two receptions for 96 yards, with both grabs going for touchdowns.

“After the Oak Park game the first game of the season I thought the season was going to be something special for me. That game was when I really knew that slotback would be fun.”

The following week against Massey Brandon, Lloyd continued with his impressive yards per catch average, going off for 160 yards on four receptions, with three resulting in majors.

Two weeks into the season, it appeared that the converted running back was primed for a record-breaking year. But the following week, tragedy struck.

Lloyd was throwing the ball around with some of his teammates before practice like he usually did, when his knee gave out while he was trying to break on a ball.

“At first I wasn’t really sure what happened, because I’ve had multiple injuries to this knee before so I didn’t think it was much of a concern,” he says. “I ended up getting an MRI done, went to some doctors and that was it.”

Lloyd was diagnosed with a fully torn ACL and meniscus, seriously de-railing the momentum he had created just a few weeks ago. But instead of accepting the injury, he chose to fight through it. That week’s contest was against St. Paul’s and there was no way he was going to miss a rivalry game against Division 1’s perennial powerhouse.

He wore a soft-shell brace for the matchup, recording two receptions for 27 yards while noting that he didn’t feel the injury that much, despite it occurring less than a week prior.

But the following week against Dakota, Lloyd was given a different type of brace by the doctor that essentially made it feel like he was playing on the injury with no protection. He had one reception in the contest before sitting out the next month.

He returned to the lineup in memorable fashion in the Division 1 ANAVETS Bowl against St. Paul’s, producing countless big-time plays in both the run and pass game as Massey won 28-25.

“To be completely honest, I didn’t really think about it,” Lloyd says of playing with a severe knee injury.

“Personally I think it was the amount of rest I had. I basically sat out the next 3-4 weeks and all the coaches thought my season was over. I’m honestly very happy with the game I played and how I performed.”

Lloyd will have a chance to continue his legacy in 2019 with the Manitoba Bisons, a team he committed to last October. He’s particularly excited to line up with some fellow Division 1 alumni who are a few years his elder.

“I’m really excited to play with Shae Weekes (St. Paul’s) , Brody Williams (St. Paul’s), Abdul Gassama (Massey) and Brayden Saville (Massey). When I was in grade nine, these were all guys that I looked up to and trained with. I never thought I’d be anywhere close to them and now It’s crazy to think that I’m right up there with them, so that’s exciting.”

Recruiting 101 with Ryan Karhut: How do scholarships work?

A big part of the recruitment process and decision making is often scholarship offers. But should that be a deciding factor? Let’s dive into how they work and try to make sense of the numbers.

Athletic Financial Award

First, let’s look at it from the school’s perspective. Schools can offer prospective student athletes what is known as an Athletic Financial Award (AFA). This award can cover tuition and fees. They CANNOT cover things like living expenses, meal plans, etc. U SPORTS teams can have a roster with a maximum of 110 players (most don’t carry more than 90) however, only 33.6 ‘full scholarships’ are handed out each and every year. That does not mean schools can give out that many to incoming freshmen though. This means each season, they can only give out this many to their entire roster.

Schools can, however ‘break’ these scholarships up and give out partial scholarships. For example, I could give Billy and Tommy each half their tuition and fees, and that would count as one AFA of my teams 33.6. Think of this more as a salary cap and each year the team looks to spend it but stay under the threshold. This is why partial and incentive driven scholarships are very common.

To qualify, you need to not only be good at football, but also in the classroom. In the Canada West conference you need a 65% average (based on grade 12 entrance classes) to qualify for a scholarship. In the Ontario conference, however, you actually need an 80% average to qualify. Now, let’s say you are offered an AFA, accept it, and qualify for it. You need to know that only gets you through the first year. You need to re-qualify for it, academically, each and every year. So in Canada West, you need to successfully complete 18-credit hours (which equates to six half year courses or three full year courses) and have a 2.0 GPA, which is a C average.

Qualifications for scholarships

Another scenario would have you doing six half year courses and getting an F, B, B+, C, B, and an A. This means your GPA is 2.58 so you can qualify for a scholarship, however, you did not successfully complete 18-credit hours so you are now ineligible to compete for the football team next season. So all of this is to remind you that getting a scholarship is not the end of working hard. It is in fact just the beginning of your journey. Additionally, if you’d like to take out a student loan, you will also need to meet the above requirements.

Say you finish your 18-credit hours but you actually attempted 21. You earned an F, C, C, C, C, C+, and a B in those classes. This gives you 18-credit hours complete, so you can compete next year in U SPORTS but it gives you a GPA of 1.93 meaning you will not qualify for your scholarship. You can earn it back the year after by re-establishing a 2.0 GPA and again 18-credit hours completed.

In closing, scholarships are very fluid as head coaches are managing a roster of usually 90 players on it. Some players simply will not qualify for a scholarship academically meaning teams may end up with extra money they can give out. Also, it is common place for a student-athlete’s scholarship amounts to adjust year-to-year. Often players do not get full scholarships in year one but will have a full scholarship in years four and five. As you grow as a student, an athlete, a leader and a teammate, your value unquestionably will rise and teams will reward that.

Do note as well that I have never seen a scholarship ‘taken’ from a student-athlete because of injury. The only situations I have seen scholarships be removed from student-athletes is when they do not qualify academically or when they have broken team or league rules (doping, missing team functions, etc).

Well-traveled Smith brings plenty of experience to Bisons

By: Mike Still (@mikestill94)

Feature photo by: Kadeem Thomas

The Manitoba Bisons linebacking corps will be enhanced in 2019 thanks to the addition of Whitby, ON native Andrew Smith. 

The 5’8”, 220-pound wrecking machine comes to Manitoba with quite the resume already in his football career. He was a standout on both sides of the ball from grades 9-11 with the Donald A. Wilson Gators, including scoring five rushing touchdowns in the Lake Ontario Secondary School Athletics (LOSSA) Tier 1 championship game. He was honoured at game’s end as both the contest and overall league MVP.

But that was just the start for Smith. Shortly after his junior year in 2012, he received an email from IMG Academy, a boarding school in Bradenton, Florida that offers an integrated academic and college preparatory experience across eight sports – one of which is football. The academy has produced 140 NCAA Division 1 commits since its inaugural season in 2013 – the year Smith was on the team – and is widely regarded as having one of the nation’s best high school football facilities.  

“They kind of reached out to me and said ‘this is IMG Academy,’ and at my first my dad and I were like wait, what the heck is this, is this a joke,” Smith says.

“So then we were looking and up and were like oh my God, this is legit.”

The timing couldn’t have been better, as Donald A Wilson was in the middle of a strike and the football program was likely going to be cancelled for Smith’s senior year. So instead of waiting for the bad news, he packed up and headed to IMG for the second semester of his grade 11 year in order to be better accustomed to his surroundings.

The academy’s inaugural coach was former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL pivot Chris Weinke and the athletes came from all over the world, including England and Mexico. Smith was also joined by a fellow Canadian, in Vanier Cup-winning quarterback Michael O’Connor.

“I loved bugging him. He’s a great guy,” Smith says of his former teammate. “I was kind of hoping we have him on the map this year, because I always used to have to stop before hitting him in practice.”

The daily grind for Smith was different than what he was used to, as athletes went to school from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and then spent the entire afternoon and early evening studying and practicing only football. Schedule-wise, the team played a minimum of ten games against some of the top teams in the country.

Arguably the biggest adjustment Smith had to make in his lone season at IMG revolved around his position. He was originally brought in to play running back, however just before camp started, the squad got a new addition: current Seattle Seahawks running back Bo Scarbrough. His recruitment put Smith’s chances of seeing action in the backfield in doubt, so the team’s defensive coordinator came to him and told him he’d be switched to linebacker, in order to get field time.

Smith jumped at the idea, putting 20 pounds of muscle onto his then 180-pound frame and went to work. He was all over the place for IMG, leading the team in tackles while also being named to the All-State team. He was also named the team’s defensive MVP.

“It was an awesome experience,” he says of his time in Florida. “The facilities were unreal. It beats some of the D1 schools honestly – especially now. Now it’s unbelievable but even back then it was eye-opening.”

Once Smith was done in school, he had to decide if he wanted to come back home for university or stay in the states. He chose the former, committing to the StFX X-Men for the 2014 season.

“Just because we were a first-year program, it almost felt like scouts didn’t know enough about it. Don’t get me wrong, we’d have a bunch of top D1 schools coming to our practices and everything which is awesome to see, but I don’t think a lot of the kids got the looks they wanted,” he says.

“I would have loved to go to a D1 school, but I didn’t get the looks that I actually wanted. I didn’t want to settle for something that I’m not happy with when I could go to Canada and be closer to home. It was also cheaper money-wise.”

Smith inserted himself into the lineup immediately at StFX, finishing the year with 28 tackles, a sack, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. He wasn’t enjoying himself as a student however and opted to re-evaluated his options, sitting out the 2015 season due to transfer rules.

He then spent the following two years with the York Lions in the OUA, where he started every game and was second on the team in tackles both seasons, with 79 total. He also received the squad’s inaugural Academic Grit Award for study hall excellence.

There were some coaching changes after the 2017 season though, and Smith decided it would be best to finish out his final two years at a different school.

Cue Manitoba. The Bisons staff already had a York connection, as special teams coordinator/running backs coach Ryan Karhut was on staff while Smith was there. The two formed a great bond and this led to Smith taking a visit to campus in November, committing shortly afterwards.

“I’m a huge fan [of Smith],” says Karhut. “He’s a great kid and a legit playmaker at the linebacker spot.”

The hulking member of the front seven is already enrolled on campus, with the hopes of finishing his environmental studies degree and also being named an All-Canadian. On the field, his goal is much simpler.

“First, I just want to make a statement. I want to come in, do what I can do and work hard.”

The top moments from Manitoba amateur football

By: Mike Still (@mikestill94)

Feature photo: River East Kodiaks defenders Jo-Jo Funk-Clements and Kian Crampton make a play on Kelvin receiver Cooper Dawson earlier this year. Their run to the CTV Bowl ranks as the number two moment in Manitoba football this year.

It was another stellar year of amateur football in the province of Manitoba in 2018. Whether it be individual performances, team performances or simply acts of good deed, there’s no denying that plenty of memories were made. Below I’ve listed 11 of the top moments. Please note that this list is entirely subjective and while the items are listed 1-11, that doesn’t necessarily mean there is a hierarchy here.

Oh and a special shoutout to those that didn’t make the list but also had memorable campaigns, such as the ANAVETS and HomeRun Bowl champion Vincent Massey WPG Trojans and the RMFL champion Interlake Thunder, who each capped off undefeated seasons in memorable fashion, running back Alex Taylor, who became Western’s all-time leading rusher, as well as Jeff Ready’s Team Manitoba U16 squad, which earned a silver medal at the Western Challenge.

11. Rifles D picks off six against Calgary

While the 2018 season in the Prairie Football Conference (PFC) didn’t go as well as the Winnipeg Rifles had planned, there’s no denying that their defence was one of the best in the conference all year.

The group led the PFC in interceptions with 18 — six more than any other team — while also scoring two majors. One of the best examples of Winnipeg’s D flexing their muscles occurred on Sept. 30 at home against the Calgary Colts. The Rifles romped to a 39-6 win, thanks in large part to six interceptions, three of which came from University of Manitoba transfer Keenan Onyebuchi. 

With players such as Mike Hart (LB), Machuor Akau (DE), Cole Sneesby (LB), Jake Richardson (DB), Troy Wilson (DB) and 2018 PFC All-Star Justin Kwiatkowski all likely to be back in 2019, the Rifles defence should once again be one of the top units in the conference. 

10. Lalama spends shoulder rehab coaching in Winnipeg

A training camp shoulder injury to Montreal Alouettes linebacker DJ Lalama forced him out of the lineup and under the knife to undergo surgery. The sixth-month recovery time resulted in him missing the entire CFL season, but instead of getting down on himself, he opted to direct his focus to the next generation of local talent.

The former Manitoba Bison and St. Paul’s Crusaders standout chose to do his rehab back in Winnipeg and while at home, he also decided to help coach at his former high school. With his assistance, the Crusaders churned out one of the most feared linebacking corps in the WHSFL, in senior Tyler Grom, junior Nathan Carabatsakis and sophomore Nic Pereira. The trio combined for 45 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles as the Crusders returned to the ANAVETS Bowl. Pereira was also honoured at year’s end as the Division 1 Rookie of the Year. 

9. Banares and Ybarra Jr. rep Canada at World Flag Football Championships

It was a memorable 2018 flag campaign for Julian Banares and Jamie Ybarra Jr. The duo were part of a Team Manitoba roster that captured gold in May at senior men’s flag football nationals in Saskatoon. Among the competition was a Team Canada roster that included Chris Bauman, the first overall pick in the 2007 CFL draft, as well as former Grey Cup champ Chris Getzlaf.

Both players earned a trip to Panama to don the red and white at the World Flag Football Championships due to their performances, with Banares also being named defensive MVP at the Saskatoon tourney. The duo picked up a few critical wins during the world championships, including one against host Panama, before falling to Austria in a tight quarterfinal battle, 31-26.

Ybarra Jr. wouldn’t stop there however. Not long after his Panama experience, he was back in the pads as the Manitoba Bisons needed his services due to a training camp injury to one of their quarterback recruits. He would later go on to throw for 396 yards and two scores in his U SPORTS debut against No. 10 UBC in the final week of the 2018 Canada West conference regular season. You can read more about Jamie’s personal story here and Julian’s here.

Banares after receiving individual recognition.

8. Team Manitoba medals in every event at flag football nationals 

Team ‘Toba has proven year after year that they are one of the most dominant provinces when it comes to flag football and 2018 was no different. Along with the gold from the senior men’s team, our U16 and U18 male and female teams also each came home with hardware during their trip to Halifax for nationals in August.

The U16 female team earned bronze while the U16 male squad brought home a silver. In U18 action, the females came back with bronze, while the males ran the table to earn gold.

The U18 male squad was also littered with players who went on to have tremendous seasons in the WHSFL, including CTV Bowl champ Jo-Jo Funk-Clements (RB/DB) and ANAVETS Bowl champs Jackson Tachinski (QB), Teagan Simon (DB), Vaughn Lloyd (SB), Keyshawn Gaskin (DB) and Brandon Kamenz (DB).

Additionally, PIT football co-founder Jon Franklin was part of the male U18 coaching staff, and a total of 26 players spread out between the national team and U18 squads participated in the PIT in 2018, demonstrating its value at the national level.

7. Schrot caps off U SPORTS career in style 

Receiver Dylan Schrot knows a thing or two about overcoming adversity.

Just a few seasons ago, his football future looked uncertain. In 2015 while playing in junior, he tore his ACL and was staring down a long recovery process. But instead of getting down on himself, he got a job as a personal trainer, which helped him learn how to take care of the body and ensure an injury of that magnitude didn’t happen again. He was back the following year and was named an All-Canadian with the Calgary Colts.

His play earned him a spot with the Manitoba Bisons for 2017, however the year didn’t go as planned as he pulled his hamstring and struggled to get back to 100 percent. But again, he didn’t get down on himself. Instead, the mature receiver focused on sports psychology, trained hard and was back in the lineup for his final year of U SPORTS eligibility in 2018, where he was an integral part of Manitoba’s stellar aerial attack.

Schrot’s 49 receptions and 788 yards both placed him in the top three in program history and he was also named a Canada West All-Star at season’s end. Click here to read more about Schrot.

6. Barnsdale breaks WHSFL Division 3 fumble recoveries record, ties single-game mark for tackles, fumble recoveries 

The 2018 WHSFL season is one that William Barnsdale won’t soon forget. The numbers he put up on defence were simply astounding, including tying the Division 3 record for tackles in a game, with 20 against CanadInns Bowl finalist Elmwood. He also set a new division record for fumble recoveries in a season, with seven — three of which came against Lorette in mid September.

Barnsdale was a critical part of a Bulldogs team that nearly upset St. John’s in the semi-finals, falling just short 11-7. He racked up over 40 tackles while also contributing close to 300 yards as a running back in the final few weeks of the regular season and was honoured at year’s end as the Division 3 Elite Performance Centre Defensive Player of the Year.

Barnsdale after winning the DPOY award for Div 3.

5. Nachtigall sets new WHSFL Division 2 passing yards, attempts records 

It’s not easy stepping out of the shadows of Dayton Black, however that’s exactly what quarterback Evan Nachtigall did this year for Neelin. In the process, he broke two records set by last year’s Division 2 Offensive Player of Year, putting up a record 234 passes for a new division 2 high of 1985 yards.

The gunslinger was honoured for his work as the second straight player from the Spartans to win the Elite Performance Offensive Player of the Year award and third in a row from a Brandon school after Mack Adams from Massey Brandon took home the trophy in 2016.

“It really started in grade nine when I came into Neelin being a backup behind Dayton and taking second team reps every practice, and even the odd one in-game, especially last year in the playoffs against Kelvin,” said Nachtigall.

“The offseason was really about throwing a lot of balls and getting my arm ready for my first year starting at quarterback.”

Nachtigall after winning the Div 2 OPOY award.

4. Bujalski selected to OUA All-Rookie team at McMaster

The McMaster Marauders have quickly began to assemble quite the contingent of Manitoba talent. There are currently eight players from the 204 on their roster, including pivot Andreas Dueck (Vincent Massey WPG), receiver Xander Tachinski (St. Paul’s/Winnipeg Rifles) and linebacker Eryk Bujalski (Vincent Massey WPG) — the final of whom earned All-Rookie honours after collecting 28 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery this past year.

Bujalski, a true freshman, suited up in all eight contests for the Marauders and was the squad’s fifth-leading tackler while manning the middle. The former standout for Team Canada has a bright future ahead and is sure to make more waves come 2019.

3. Oliveira wraps up final season at UND in style 

At a young age, it was obvious that running back Brady Oliveira was going to be something big. The former North Winnipeg Nomads star towered over his competition, parlaying his successful minor football days into a stellar run in high school with both Canada Prep Football Academy as well as the Oak Park Raiders. His senior season with the Raiders was something to behold, as he broke the WHSFL Division 1 record for rushing yards in a season, with 1,723 in seven games as well as rushing touchdowns, with 26.

Oliveira then continued his dominance down south with NCAA Division 1’s UND, forming an immediately dangerous 1-2 combo with Minnesota native John Santiago. Affectionally nicknamed the “Manitoba Moose,” due to his punishing 5’10,” 220-pound frame, he’s had a stellar four-year run with the Fighting Hawks. His 2,822 career yards puts him seventh all-time in program history, with 936 of those yards coming during a strong 2018 campaign.

Oliveira now looks to the future and the NFL and CFL drafts. The Fighting Hawks have had 31 NFL teams either come to a practice or watch the team play this year, along with six CFL teams and the bruising back is sure to be on some of those squad’s wish lists. He was also placed as the top ranked running back in the CFL’s first scouting bureau ranking list in late August.

2. Rookie head coach Sean Oleksewycz leads Kodiaks to first varsity title in 21 years

The River East Kodiaks finally got the monkey off their back in 2018, capturing Division 2’s CTV Bowl following a 22-14 win over Kelvin. It was the school’s first varsity title since 1997, with first-year bench boss Sean Oleksewycz and Bison commit Sammy Hezekiah helping to lead the way.

The duo have been closer than family ever since Hezekiah came to River East in grade nine. Originally a running back, it was Oleksewycz — the defensive coordinator for the Kodiaks at the time — who convinced Hezekiah to try his luck on the defensive side of the ball. That suggestion paid off, as the Nigeria native, who was the Bomber Alumni Most Outstanding Player for Division 2, recorded the game-winning pick six to help his squad come back from a 14-13 second half deficit. He also added a forced fumble on defence, as well as over 200 all-purpose yards via the ground and air at the pivot position on route to being named the game’s MVP.

While Hezekiah was the difference-maker on many an occasion, he certainly had some help as well, with players such as Ethan Topping — the Division 2 Elite Performance Centre Defensive Player of the Year — as well as JoJo Funk-Clements, Joshua Desjarlias, Spenser Pilon, Rylan Griffiths, Landon Colburn and Owen Unrau, among others, all coming up clutch in various situations throughout the year.

1. St. John’s Tigers win first title since 1980, play in honour of fallen teammate

The St. John’s Tigers had Jordan Thomas on their mind when they went into battle with the Elmwood Giants for Division 3 supremacy at Investors Group Field in early November.

The former QB, who helped lead the Tigers to their last championship game two years ago, was murdered during his senior year in December of 2017. The team played in his honour, winning a hard-fought 13-10 contest in the snow for their first title since 1980. After the game, St. John’s head coach Grant McMillan laid down the former three-sport star’s jersey (#7) in front of the CanadInns trophy for the squad’s photo.

“It was about honouring him and the players who have come before us,” McMillan said in an emotional postgame interview. “This victory is bigger than the team and bigger than the school. It’s a celebration for our community.”

It’s difficult to think of a story bigger than this one in 2018, as it transcended football. It was a clear example of the coming together of community for a common cause and hands down the most emotional moment I’ve ever had the pleasure of covering.

Game MVP Asher Wood deserves some love for his performance as well, as the Bomber Alumni Most Outstanding Player for Division 3 caught a touchdown, kicked the game-winning field goal and also had the game-ending pass breakup.

St. John’s Tigers head coach Grant McMIllan lays down the jersey of Jordan Thomas (#7) for the team’s championship photo. The former high school pivot was slain in December of 2017.

Recruiting 101 with Ryan Karhut: The signing process, provincial teams and more!

So your highlight tape is now completed and sent out. Some schools are calling, some email, texting, etc. It’s December and you are unsure of what to do next. Should I be playing 7 on 7? What about provincial teams? Will coach love it or hate it if I play another sport in the offseason? If I’m grade 12 and committed to a school, should I just focus on training? Should I hire an outside recruiting agency to help me get noticed by a school?

These are all questions we get asked all the time by recruits and players who have signed. They are all legitimate concerns and for young athletes. Let’s work through them and answer them for you from a college football coach’s perspective.

The signing process 

First of all, in the NCAA there is a ‘signing day’ in which everyone has to sign their letter of intent (LOI) on. Thus, making the recruiting process more frantic as their is a distinct end date they are working towards. In U SPORTS there is no signing day. Athletes can literally sign all the way up until/during training camp. The only stipulation on athletes signing in Canada (as far as dates go) is they cannot sign until September 1st of their senior year of highschool.

So what has become popular now is athletes verbally committing to a school earlier than that but then signing in September. For example, with the Bisons the past two years, we have had a handful of players verbally commit to us prior to September. So we invite them and their families to come and sign officially with us, on the field, during halftime of our homecoming game.

Left to Right – Austin Balan, Sam Hezekiah, Jarrett Alcaraz, Elijah Rivera, Isaiah Letander, and Breydon Stubbs. Photo: 1812 Photography

So with less ‘pressure’ of no signing day in U SPORTS, everyone’s recruiting process is unique and moves at a different pace than others. Some players commit very early into their senior year. Others start committing to their school of choice right around the holidays. Some do not even start visiting or talking to schools until the new year or after their first semester exams.

Still, there are plenty that do not commit to a school until well into the spring. This is one of the most exciting times of your life. Do not rush it. Do not let people pressure you into making a decision. Think about what is best for you, where you feel you fit in the best, commit to it when you are ready, and you will never look back.

Playing multiple sports/provincial teams

Aside from the actual recruiting process there is lots of other things going on in a young athletes life. The question we probably hear the most is athletes asking whether or not they should play basketball or hockey (or any other sport) that offseason or should they just train and get ready for university. Our answer never changes, no matter who is asking. You should always play each and every sport you want to play in high school.

There is nothing wrong with, and actually it is beneficial for all, if you DO play multiple sports in high school. There is so much cross training and mental sport development that occurs with athletes who play multiple sports that it is completely unnecessary to think you have to focus solely on football.

For athletes who are not in grade 12, we always get asked if they should play on the U16 or U18 provincial programs. Furthermore, some athletes will ask if it’s worth it if they basically already know what school they are probably going to. After all these tournaments are very well known for their recruiting frenzies.

For example, the U18 Canada Cup, is well known for all 27 U SPORTS teams having coaches there watching every game and practice. Most staffs send multiple coaches to the tournament to ensure they don’t miss anyone. For us, we love when guys we are recruiting play in these national tournaments.

For one, it exposes them to new competition and usually a higher level than they have ever played before. Two, being coached by new coaches, playing with new teammates, and travelling to compete are all things you are going to have to go through to play at the university level. Three, the tournament is a short, intense, microcosm of university football. You practice, you recover, you’re in meetings, film study, gameplan meetings, team meals, etc, for an entire week. It is a very good glimpse for you, and for us, to see how you adapt to these circumstances.

Does it make us a little uncomfortable to see guys like Breydon Stubbs win offensive MVP every game he competes in at the tournament? Of course, but our job is to recruit high quality players like that to stay in Manitoba and be Bisons, so there is no way we would discourage anyone from wanting to compete nationally.

Third party recruiting agencies

Lastly, and this one might be painful for some to hear, let’s talk about third party recruiting agencies. They are people whom you hire to send your film out and put you in contact with university coaches on either side of the border. They usually cost a good chunk of money and make no promises for what they can secure for you. They ultimately put it on you to put a great tape together and do great things on the field.

Please, please, do NOT waste your money on these agencies. I have worked in two different conferences within U SPORTS football in Canada (CanWest and OUA). I have met dozens of coaches and talked about recruiting with almost all of them. A common theme amongst all of us how turned off we get from film sent to us by a ‘recruiting agency.’ So much so in fact, I have had numerous coaches over the years tell me many times that they won’t even watch the film if it comes from an agency, simply because of the headache of dealing with them.

Coaches don’t want to offer a guy on your tape an opportunity to play for them. They want to get to know YOU the person and the athlete. Contact coaches directly, their email addresses are all public on the team’s websites. Make the email personal to that coach, (do not copy and paste the same one to every team) and show sincere interest in their program, tell them why you think you are a good fit for them, and why their school is a good fit for you. You will be surprised how quick coaches respond to email like that as opposed to generic ones.

Recruiting is a tough path to navigate and can always be daunting to work through. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at either or or  and we can answer it in the next article.