A local high-school student-athlete's football skills have taken him from the golden wheat fields of Beiseker to the pristine turf fields of British Columbia.
On June 1, Beiseker Community School's Kadin MacFadzen signed his letter of intent to play for the Vancouver Island Raiders, a competitive junior (U21) team based in Nanaimo. The junior team competes in the B.C. Football Conference (BCFC) – a seven-team summer league that acts as a stepping stone for high-school football players to pursue a post-secondary football scholarship.
MacFadzen said he is elated to keep playing football this summer, and to progress to a higher level of competition in the sport.
“I never thought I’d come this far when I was just a rookie in high school,” he said.
Though he attends school in his hometown of Beiseker, due to the small rural school's lack of a football program, MacFadzen suits up for the Bert Church Chargers in Airdrie during the fall high-school football season. While he missed out on the chance to play competitive games during his rookie Grade 10 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MacFadzen has spent the last two seasons as a centre/guard for the Chargers' offensive line.
The 17-year-old said his favourite part of football is the physicality of the sport.
“Getting to hit people and winning games – there’s no better feeling,” he said.
MacFadzen was one of three Beiseker Community School athletes playing for the Chargers' football team in 2022. However, he was the school's only Grade 12 student on the team.
While his predicament meant he spent more time in the car than most of his Chargers teammates last fall, MacFadzen said his passion for football means the extra hours spent driving back and forth between Beiseker and Airdrie were well worth it.
“Every day it’s a half-hour drive in and a half-hour drive out,” he said. “It’s definitely tough, but I love football, so I’d make the drive no matter what.”
MacFadzen wasn't the only Bert Church Grade 12 football player to sign for the Raiders on June 1. He'll be joined in Nanaimo this summer by two of his Chargers teammates: Ashton Jackson and Aedan Thompson.
The trio have already experienced a taste of what it will be like to play in the BCFC, as they recently returned from a weekend trip to Vancouver Island for a brief preseason training camp with the rest of the Raiders and their recruits.
“It went pretty good, I got to meet a lot of people there and play in a scrimmage,” MacFadzen said. “It's a good team and I think with their new head coach, Andrew Harris, I think we’re going to be a pretty successful team this year.”
The three future VI Raiders teammates were three of five Bert Church football graduates to ink their commitment letters to BCFC teams this summer. The other two are wide receiver Charlie Wiersma and defensive end Ty Ochitwa.
Bert Church football coach Steve Larsen said it's a major achievement to see five graduating members of the school's football program continue their careers beyond the high-school level. He noted the Chargers fielded 20 seniors last season, which means a quarter of the east Airdrie team's departing players will move up a level this summer.
“I think it shows the amount of work these kids put in, especially considering they missed their Grade 10 year [due to COVID],” he said “I think it’s a testament to the work they put in to get to where they are.”
The 2023 BCFC season gets underway in July and runs until the fall. For more about the league, visit bcfootballconference.com