Trojans football alumnus pursuing sport in B.C.
Coltyn Bousquet, who recently graduated from Portage Collegiate Institute, is enjoying his time playing junior football in Victoria, B.C.
A Portage Collegiate Institute (PCI) Trojans football team alumnus is relishing the opportunity he was given to play Junior football in Victoria, B.C.
Coltyn Bousquet, 18, who just recently graduated from PCI, spent the summer training and playing with the Westshore Rebels of the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) in Victoria. The 18-year-old defensive back was scouted while playing for the PCI Trojans last season — his first year of organized football.
Bousquet said his defensive coordinator at PCI, Luke Irwin, saw something in him and always believed he could play football after high school and introduced him to a scout, who eventually pitched re-locating to Victoria, B.C., to play for Westshore.
A couple months into his experience playing junior football, Bousquet said he’s enjoying the challenge of playing against tougher competition in trying to improve his skills.
“It definitely is a challenge being one of the younger guys on the team, but I enjoy that challenge,” he said.
Bousquet said there has been an adjustment in playing junior football compared to the high school game. Aside from a much more intensive schedule — which he says involves daily meetings, video sessions, weight sessions and practice — Bousquet has noticed a big difference on the field, that he only thinks will benefit him.
“I’m playing with guys who are 22-years-old, not against 15-year-old kids anymore,” said the 6-foot-1, 175-pound defensive back. “It’s a game with grown men. The speed of the game is definitely a lot faster than the high school level, but I find I’m adjusting quite well and it’s helping my game improve.”
What’s most remarkable about his pursuit of higher level sport: Bousquet probably shouldn’t have been able to walk again, let alone play football.
When he was 10-years-old he fractured his back in five places in a freak accident at Yellowquill School. Bousquet said he was swinging on football posts along with other kids when the structure gave way, and as he fell the posts collapsed on his back, right between his shoulder blades, causing damage to his vertebrae and lower back.
“The doctors were telling me this is a serious thing, they didn’t know why I wasn’t paralysed or dead,” Bousquet said. “They said nine out of 10 people who sustained this injury would have much more serious consequences.”
Fortunately, he had a fairly quick recovery. He was bed-ridden for two weeks before being fitted for a back brace. He recalls stepping on the ice to play hockey a mere six months after the injury.
“My family definitely helped make that experience much more bearable,” he said. “Today, my back is 100 per cent healed and actually stronger than a normal person’s back.”
Off the field, Bousquet has been adjusting to the vastly different lifestyle that Victoria offers compared to his upbringing in Portage la Prairie. Gone are the open fields of wheat and canola, substituted with vast oceans and mountains.
“It’s a totally different landscape. Everything is so flat at home. Here you can’t even see 100m in front of you because there are so many hills,” he said. “It’s definitely a beautiful place and I appreciate it every day.”
Bousquet hopes he can parlay his time with the Rebels into an opportunity with a CIS school. “I definitely think I have the talent and ability to play at that level,” he said. “I just want to keep working hard and hope it can help lead me to an education.”