A gymnasium full of players, coaches, parents and sponsors helped the Steinbach Regional Secondary School's football program say good-bye to season nine.
"It's always great to show off some of the achievements of our team as well as some of the individual performances and highlight those types of things," said SRSS football convenor Jamie Peters. "Just try and keep pushing what our program is all about. It's great to get all the parents and players together for our year-end banquet."
Kerry Friesen completed his second year as head coach of the junior varsity team while Peters, who was the varsity team's head coach since day one, stepped back and took on an assistant coaching role in 2018.
Stephen Fedus replaced Peters as head coach.
"Kerry has taken that JV program by the horns and coach Fedus took the varsity program," Peters said. "They both did an outstanding job. Fedus definitely has a little bit of a different stamp on the varsity team than me but we all work very closely together in terms of what we want from the program and our philosophy. Stephen and Kerry both did a heck of a job with the players that we had and the situations that we were dealing with. We got a lot out of our players and we saw a lot of growth. We just got to keep moving forward."
Peters says it's been an amazing nine-year ride.
"We've had the opportunity to play almost everybody in the league. We played through all three divisions. We have a championship in division three and division two and now we're pushing towards a championship in division one. The JV program is going to be huge for our varsity program taking the next step into the top four."
"It's a slow grind," added Peters. "We went two winless seasons before we got our first victory and then we got a championship and we didn't have a losing season for five years. Now we've had two losing seasons in division one but we've been competitive. Now it's time to get over that hump. Those things take time but when you're able to look back at it, even now....nine years, looking back to year one and year two - to where we are now, it's pretty cool to see the impact the players had and the alumni. It's going to be awesome to see this group of kids that I think are going to take us over the hump in division one and being able to compete in the top four or top five year-in and year-out."
The SRSS football program came to fruition in 2010 which means Jamie Peters has said thank you and good-bye to a lot of graduating football players over the last nine years.
"14 of my coaches are former players so trying to keep guys involved with the program and involved in football is a big thing to me because we don't want them just to be done. We want football to be there for them in high school but also after high school and help support them. Hopefully they are able to give back to the players by coaching and participating and doing different things."
SRSS 2018 Award Winners
Junior Varsity Team
Top Offensive Player - Jaxon Gruninger
Top Defensive Player - Caelan Poetker
Top Special Teams Player - Rylan Penner
Top Lineman - Graham Hunter
MVP - Mason Hartung
Most Improved Player - Austin Duerksen
Top Offensive Player - Ethan Gruninger
Top Defensive Player - Isaac Dokken
Top Special Teams Player - Payton Falk
Top Lineman - Thomas Peters
MVP - Sawyer Thiessen
Leadership - Ethan Gruninger
Most Improved Player - David Dueck
Legacy Award - Cade Penner
Koby Memorial Award - Brad Waldner
Workout Warriors - Exemplary work in offseason strength and conditioning
Xander Turner, Thomas Peters, Tristan Wiebe, Caleb Pammett, Markus Ginter, Lucas Tourond, Jedrik Francisco, Ryan Kincaid & Michael Amador
2018 Honour Role Players
Austin Duerksen, Jedrik Francisco, Bryson Friesen, Jerrick Peters, Tyson Greenham, Caelen Poetker, Markus Ginter, Luke Mehling, Cade Penner & Sawyer Thiessen
2017 Ring of Honor
Tyler Bueckert, Eric Adams & Sheycoy Selent
2018 Hall of Fame
Luke McAllister & Devon Bueckert