The Carillon - ONLINE EDITION
By: Terry Frey
Posted: 08/2/2018 12:24 PM
It may seem an oddity of sorts, a young Canadian excelling at an elite quarterback competition in the U.S.
But that is exactly what occurred last month in Atlanta as Mitchell’s Payton Falk, not only excelled but won a competition among 45 quarterbacks from across North America in his age group.
Falk, 15, who is entering grade 10 at the Steinbach Regional Secondary School this year and will be playing football for the SRSS Sabres varsity team this year, won the two-day quarterback skills competition against some pretty stiff competition.
In a field that included only one other Canadian, and 43 Americans, Falk won the competition becoming the first Canadian to ever win the Duel Quarterback Skills Competition, an invite only quarterback competition held every year in July, which has been held in Atlanta the past two years.
He won his age group, those going into grade 10, or if you prefer the 10th grade, as they say in the U.S.
This is the third straight year that Falk has competed, finishing fifth in a field of 30 competitors as a 13-year-old, held that year at Canton, Ohio. He also competed last year at Atlanta, but was not able to complete the competition as he was suffering from heat stroke.
To qualify for the national duel, you have be invited through one of the qualifying competitions that are held across the U.S. He has been invited all three years to the national finals through strong performances at a qualifying event in Minneapolis.
At Atlanta over the two-day competition in mid-July, competitors were scored on a cumulative total through a battery of tests that measured all aspects of a quarterback’s ability. It included tests in decision-making, speed, stamina and position specific skills.
Recognition is given to the top five performers in each age group at the end of the competition. Falk said there was no running total of how was he was doing along way. "I thought I might be in the top five, but you never know."
At competition’s end, the winners are announced, beginning with the fifth place finisher, and finally the winner. "With my name not being called, you start to wonder whether I didn’t make it or I do have a chance of winning it." He said it was quite something to win the competition.
Falk is coached by J.C. Boice of Victoria, B.C., who he met at previous qualifiers in Minneapolis. In fact, Falk just returned from Victoria where he worked out with Boice for a few days. Boice also holds camps in Winnipeg as well as Minneapolis and also helps him with his training through online programs.
Over the past couple of years, Falk trained with former Bomber receiver Kito Poblah and his Finish First Football Camp.
In fact after completing grade eight at Mitchell Middle School, Falk lived with Poblah last year, a family friend, while he attended grade nine at St. Paul’s High School and played football for the Crusaders. As QB for the Crusaders ‘AA’ varsity team last season, he guided the team to a 7-1 record.
But this year he will attend the SRSS and suit up for the varsity Sabres, who will play in the top division of the WHSFL. There is a bit of a conundrum with the Sabres next year, or a luxury if you will of quarterback riches with the Sabres. As it turns out, the starting quarterback for the varsity Sabres last year was none other Sawyer Thiessen, another superb football talent, who also drew raves for his performance last season as a grade nine player.
Thiessen and Falk grew up together in Mitchell and now will suit up together with the Sabres. Both of these outstanding young talents are expected to play quarterback next season. And when they are not behind the centre, they will line up as a receiver, and because of their athletic abilities, have also proven to be outstanding receivers.
What it all adds up to is a win-win situation for the SRSS Sabres football program. What a luxury to have for the next three years.
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