July 23rd, 2024

Semenok carries local torch at Methanex

By Sean Rooney on August 23, 2017.


srooney@medicinehatnews.com
@MHNRooney

Nobody puts much stock in exhibition football games, but there is something to prove tonight when the Regina Rams and Calgary Dinos square off at Medicine Hat’s Methanex Bowl.

The third-annual game pits two of the best teams in Canada West against each other, though this time around only one side will have a hometown advantage.

“It’s a lot different than last year,” said second-year Rams linebacker Travis Semenok, who has fond memories playing for Hat High on the same field. “There was five guys in that game and now it’s just me.”

Alas, Anthony Anderson (graduated), Connor McGough (now with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats) and Kirkland Lawrence won’t be back to play with the Dinos. So it’s just Semenok to carry the hometown banner.

“I love coming back,” said Semenok. “It’s always fun playing where I played high school football and you have lots of family and friends out watching you.”

Brooks’ Cyril Iwanegbe is a fifth-year defensive back with Calgary, but that’s the only other player who would’ve played at Methanex in his high school days.

Regina came to the game last year with a new coaching staff and lots to work on. They lost 37-13 but their starters kept the game close in the first half. That turned out to be a sign of things to come as Regina won the conference, losing out in playoffs; Calgary got all the way to the Vanier Cup before falling to Laval.

Semenok figures to see plenty of time on special teams again, as he’s behind a fifth-year and a fourth-year player on the depth chart.

“I think first-stringers will play the first quarter, backups the second quarter and young guys most of the second half,” he said. “There’s not a whole lot you can take from it because both teams are trying to keep their playbooks watered down to not give anything away.

“You assess the talent the other team has. Last year they beat us decently well in the pre-season game, we pulled out a win against them in the regular season. It’s more about assessing your own team.”

Both sides figure to have high expectations. Semenok said training camp has gone much smoother for him personally because he already knew the defence coming in. Calgary had nine players picked in the CFL draft but still has plenty of returnees on both sides of the ball.

Regular seasons for both sides begin Sept. 1.

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