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Stettler Wildcats sign with Calgary Dinos

Chris Anstey of the University of Calgary Dinos stands between Jordan Southern (l) and Nathan Okoroafor (r) who have signed with the team. (Carson Ellis photo)

Carson Ellis

For the Stettler Independent

Friday, March 1 was a big day for two players from the Stettler Wildcats. Nathan Okoroafor and Jordan Southern both signed with the University of Calgary Dinos Football team.

The official signing took place at the William E Hay Composite Campus gym during a pep rally near the end of the day.

On hand were the Dinos’ special teams coordinator Nathan Mollard, and defensive line coach Christopher Anstey.

Southern played in Strathmore until age 13, then played in the Chestermere program for 2 more years. He came to Stettler for his grade 10 year and played for the Wildcats. However, he says he did play on the Airdrie team for the first semester of his grade 12 year.

Southern explains that although the Airdrie team was a good group, it wasn’t the right fit for him and he returned to Stettler to graduate and finish with the Wildcats. He says that the team appreciates the support from the community and that those who attend the games do so because they care.

Southern says that beyond a football career, he wants to be a social studies teacher. He says he may become an osteopath if teaching isn’t a good fit for him. Either way, he plans to use his position to give back to the community.

Nathan Okoroafor was born in B.C. and came to Stettler around Grade Five. He notes that during his football career, he has played on both the Alberta Team and Battle River Shock team, both of which he says were great experiences for him. He says his career path outside of football would either be as a sports trainer or a teacher and coach.

Okoroafor feels these positions could help him to continue being involved in the sport and would give him a chance to share what he has learned with others.

The University of Calgary recruits an average of 20-25 players, and although their main area is from the south side of Red Deer, they do look across Canada for potential talent. Anstey also explains that there is “tons of talent across the province” and they find a large amount in rural schools.

The Dinos football program also benefits from 34 scholarships that can be awarded to players with an emphasis on first- and second-year players with strong academics. They also have a strong connection to their alumni who often contribute to other awards for players.

On hand to see his teammates sign with the Dinos, was Austin Weibe. Although Weibe lives in Daysland, he would make the trek to Stettler to play for the Wildcats and has done so for the last three years.

Weibe had played on the Camrose team for a while before joining the Stettler team. Weibe has recently signed with the University of Regina and says he hopes to get a job with a school that has a football program.

Austin Weibe played with the Wildcats for three years, despite living in Daysland. (Carson Ellis photo)