Former Midget League QBs now starting for Bisons and Rifles
Two former QBs from Midget Football League of Manitoba (St. Vital Mustangs) are now starting for the top two amateur teams in the province: Nathan Friesen (University of Manitoba Bisons) and Tyler Johnston (Winnipeg Rifles Junior Football Club).
Previous to joining the Bisons in 2006, Friesen also starred for the Winnipeg Rifles, earning Prairie Football Conference Outstanding Offensive Player and Most Valuable Player awards in 2005.
Both players have also spent time giving back to the football community, as Johnston helped coach QBs with the St. Vital Mustangs in 2006-07, while Friesen was the quarterback coach for Manitoba's Under-19 Provincial Team this spring.
Congratulations and best of luck this season!
Wednesday August 26, 2009
by Jim Bender
NO. 1 GUN: Although he was pushed by both Khaleal Williams, the Canadian Junior Football League's Most Outstanding Player last season, and high school sensation Kevin Hayes, Nathan Friesen got the nod as Manitoba's No. 1 gun.
"When you lose a fifth-year guy like John Makie, you always assume you're going to take a step back," head coach Brian Dobie said. "But this is an interesting one because Nate is also a fifth-year quarterback. He brings a wealth of experience so that's a strength and he's a very dynamic leader, and his teammates have bought into him.
"Physically, he's very different than John. John was a classic dropback quarterback. Nate is an athlete at the quarterback position who throws the ball well but he's very, very good with his feet, and he sees things on the field very well."
Dobie, however, is concerned about heading into the season with a completely new corps of receivers that will feature Jeremy Botelho, who was at Winnipeg's CFL training camp, and Brendon Bowman, who starred with the Winnipeg Rifles along with Botelho.
The Bisons will open the season against Regina on Sept. 4.
Johnston to start for Rifles
Sunday August 23, 2009
by Kirk Penton
Tyler Johnston, like any good backup quarterback, has already prepared like he's going to start.
That's a good thing, because now he's going to start.
The 21-year-old University of Manitoba business student will lead the Winnipeg Rifles into action this afternoon against the Edmonton Huskies in the Alberta capital. Both teams are 0-2.
Tyler Nickel began the year as Winnipeg's No. 1 pivot, but two subpar performances have paved the way for Johnston to make his first career Prairie Football Conference start.
"I'm feeling good," Johnston said yesterday from Edmonton. "I'm excited for the opportunity."
The J.H. Bruns graduate threw a pair of touchdowns in relief of Nickel during last week's 60-22 home loss to the Edmonton Wildcats, but starting at the junior level is a different beast.
He was the Rifles' third-stringer last season, and he made only a couple of starts for the St. Vital Mustangs in the Manitoba Major Football League two years ago.
LEARNED A LOT
Johnston said he learned a lot last year from Winnipeg quarterback Khaleal Williams, the Canadian Junior Football League's offensive player of the year, and he ran the scout team, "so I got a lot of practice against the starting defence, which helped me improve quite a bit."
Rifles head coach Paul Normandeau will be looking for Johnston to make "the right decisions. He'll do a great job protecting the football, which is important. We haven't done that the first two games. And he'll run our offence the way it should be run."
Johnston isn't looking to secure the No. 1 quarterback job today. He simply wants the win.
"The success of the team is most important," he said. "If we can get a win and get the team in the right direction, that would be great."
...Update: Tyler Johnston did lead the Rifles to their first victory of the season in this game (18-16), finishing with 15 completions on 32 attempts for 200 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. On the season, he is 30 for 56 for 394 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT.