DYK: A long, hard path to paydirt, Alberta amputee at home on the turf, and more

DID YOU KNOW is a bi-weekly instalment that brings you some of the most fascinating stories in Canadian football across the country at all levels.

In this edition:

  • Against all odds, Kamloops running back a star in the making
  • Alberta amputee knows he belongs on the gridiron
  • George McDougall Mustangs give player with autism a thrill of a lifetime
  • The “Scott 5” at Huron Heights

PHOTO: Kamloops This Week

1. Imagine: you’re a 12-year-old kid, living in Stellenbosch, South Africa – having moved five years earlier to live with half-siblings from a destitute and violence-riddled Zimbabwe – you’ve never met your father and haven’t seen your mother in a decade. That’s exactly the scenario Westsyde Blue Waves (BCHSFA) running back Darlington Murasiranwa was living. He and his brother, Kuda, were trapped in Zimbabwe with their grandmothers, raising them together, while their parents, Darlington and Emillia, tried to make a better life for their kids in the U.S. – eventually. The kids eventually came to live in Edmonton before eventually settling in Kamloops. Kuda, who played high school football in Edmonton, encouraged his brother to play at Westsyde in Kamloops in his final year of high school. He did, and has made quite the impression. Darlington has completely revitalized the offence and wreaked havoc on defences all over the area (he ran for 300+ yards and five majors in his debut). Once running from trouble in his native country, the only thing Darlington Murasiranwa runs to now is paydirt.

Source: Kamloops This Week

PHOTO: St. Albert Gazette

2. If you were to ask 11-year-old St. Albert Colts offensive lineman and amputee Reid Maxwell if he is disabled, he would say something along the lines of, “No, I’m differently-abled.” That is exactly the type of attitude that has kept him involved in athletics all throughout his young life, even without his right leg. Maxwell, a Grade 6 student at Muriel Martin Public School, plays left tackle for the St. Albert Colts of the St. Albert Minor Football Association (SAMFA). He also swims, cycles and snowboards, and says he would like to try his hand at lacrosse and sledge hockey. But his need for a prosthetic leg isn’t the only physical challenge this inspiring young man faces. He was also born with Prune Belly Syndrome, a rare disorder that leaves its patients without abdominal muscles. Those two things were major worries for Reid’s parents, Duncan and Fiona, when he first wanted to play football, but they eventually let him play, and like you would expect from someone with Reid’s passion for play, he hasn’t stopped since. Colts Assistant Coach and Offensive Coordinator Gabriel Forbes says Maxwell is as driven as they come and never allows his circumstances to get in the way of having fun or helping out the team.

Source: St. Albert Gazette

PHOTO: Nancy McPhee via Airdrie Echo

3. In senior football, you have to earn your playing time, something George McDougall Mustangs’ offensive lineman Stephen McPhee (Rocky View Football League; RVFL) has done. He has the perfect offensive lineman’s frame. He’s big, strong and bulky; that isn’t what makes him stand out. McPhee, the Grade 12 student, also has autism. He would probably be somewhat upset with me that I said this makes him stand out, seeing as he doesn’t let it stop him from doing anything. However, he did stand out in at least one game this season, for the greatest of reasons. Back on September 7th, under the Friday Night Lights, McPhee got an opportunity to score his first ever high school touchdown. Perhaps not surprisingly, he took full advantage. But as if his perseverance on the gridiron wasn’t enough to make him a beloved figure with the Mustangs, he also has his own charity. “Stephen’s Backpacks” raises money to but knapsacks for underprivileged children and shelter the homeless. To date, it has purchased more than $300,000.

Source: Airdrie Echo

PHOTO: YorkRegion.com

4. The Huron Heights Warriors have been the top team in York Region for the last decade-and-a-half, and one of the top clubs in Canada for much of that time. Much of that success has one name attached to it: Scott. That’s because five – yes, five – members of the Scott clan have donned Warrior maroon over their decade-plus-long dynasty. The Huron Heights’ fab five began in 2003 with the arrival of Josh – a future McMaster Marauder and presently the Warriors’ Offensive Coordinator. Then there was Mackenzie, next to be followed by Kaleb, and now, current Warriors,  Sabastien – a fifth year quarterback – and Hayden – a linebacker in Grade 12. This family is built on the foundation of football. Their dad Shawn, coached the boys in summer ball with the now-defunct York Simcoe Bucs.

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