Tisdale players sign with Canadian Junior Football League teams

Tisdale Middle & Secondary School head football coach Keenan Carrier, who played junior football with the Hilltops, said he was proud of Jakeb Cortus, Landon Thibault and Kolton Knutson.

TISDALE – Three grill stars from Tisdale Middle and High School are heading to the next level.

Jakeb Cortus, Landon Thibault and Kolton Knutson all signed with Canadian Junior Football League teams on June 1, National Signing Day. Cortus and Thibault will now be opponents in the Prairie Football Conference. Cortus, a running back, has signed with the Regina Thunder, while slotback Thibault will play for the Saskatoon Hilltops. Knutson, an offensive lineman, heads west to suit up with the Valley Huskers of Chilliwack, B.C.

When asked what he’s looking forward to playing junior football, Cortus said, “To continue to work for the competition, to be part of a team and to be able to continue playing football after high school.”

TMMS Tornados head coach Keenan Carrier, who played junior football with the Hilltops, said he couldn’t be more proud of the three players.

“I know the rest of the coaches and their teammates were thrilled when we learned that they would all be continuing their football careers,” Carrier said. “They are great representatives of the Tornado Football program, our school and our community. All of Tisdale will be watching these three closely as they make a name for themselves in the Canadian Junior Football League.

Last fall, the TMSS football team went 6-0 in conference. He won his provincial quarter-final game by 40 points, 62-22, against Fort Qu’Appelle Bison. TMSS went down in a nine-man provincial semi-final against Delisle Composite School. Cortus, Thibault and Knutson all played big roles for the Tornados.

“Their work ethic and their competitiveness were the main reasons we had the season we had,” Carrier said. “Having these three take it to the next level says a lot about how hard they worked and how determined they were to make their dreams a reality. Not only is it great for them, but it’s also great for the football community that we have in this city. These young athletes watch and see the success of these three and they understand that if they put their mind to it, they can also continue playing football after high school. Jakeb, Landon and Kolton were exceptional leaders for this next generation of players, and they will be greatly missed next season.

Regarding playing for the Tornados, Thibault said: “For me, what made it so enjoyable starts with the amazing coaches I’ve had along the way and having all my friends with me made it an amazing experience.”

While his two former teammates remain in Saskatchewan, Knutson has been drawn west.

“Just having the chance to go and play in British Columbia was very tempting, as well as being able to see and experience all the things that are different from small town Saskatchewan,” he said.

Knutson’s father is Shaun Twarzynski, his mother is Christen Knutson, and his stepmother is Dakota Praski. He appreciates their support.

“My family has always supported me to play football and when I told them my plan was to play after high school, they said it was fine as long as I had a plan B,” Knutson said.

Knutson, Thibault and Cortus will all focus on football and work in the fall. Cortus plans to continue power engineering next year. He is grateful for how his parents – Dean and Kali Cortus – supported his football career.

“[They] never miss a game, buy a gym membership and camp registrations, watch and sign up for opportunities across the province, and spend many hours behind the wheel to get me where I needed to go, live in the northeast makes everything even further,” he said.

Like his now former teammates, the son of Quentin and Lesley Thibault appreciates what his parents have done for him.

“I owe a lot to my parents for paying my team fees and supporting me in every game, especially in November when it’s minus 20 outside,” he said. “Above all, I just thank them for their support over the last four years of my football career and I hope there will be more to come.”

About the author