Entering the season, the Huskies football program was filled with question marks, as a fresh coaching staff rang in a new era at the University of Saskatchewan. However, one position that wasn’t in question was quarterback.
Kyle Siemens returned for his fourth year in kinesiology and with the Huskies, this being his second year as starting quarterback. He was a standout performer in 2016, as the Huskies starter under centre, and he led the team to a 5-3 record, falling short of the Hardy Cup after losing to the University of Calgary in the Canada West semi-final.
The Huskies are aiming for a better result this season, and under Marcus Crandell, new offensive co-ordinator and former Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback, Siemens has excelled so far in the 2017 campaign.
Siemens, who graduated from Aden Bowman Collegiate in 2012, has taken a long road to get to this point in his career. After setting the single-season record for completions and passing yards in Saskatoon high school football, Siemens chose the Canadian Junior Football League route and journeyed south to join the Regina Thunder.
“I remember coming out of high school unsure what I was going to do, and the Thunder provided me the opportunity to keep playing football,” Siemens said.
Siemens believes his decision to join the Thunder helped him immensely as a player.
“Looking back, those were some good years. Just being able to get some experience and to win a national championship with them, that was a pretty unique experience and one that not a lot of people get to say they were a part of,” Siemens said.
When Siemens decided to make the transition to the U Sports level and was evaluating his options, one school stood above the rest.
“As a Saskatoon kid, it’s always been in the back of my mind [that] maybe this would be something I could do one day. I’ve been pretty fortunate to be able to have this opportunity,” Siemens said.
After spending his first one and a half seasons with the Huskies as backup to the previous starting quarterback, Drew Burko, Siemens got his chance to run the offence near the tail end of his second year. He was named the starter for a week-seven clash against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds and ran away with the opportunity, setting a Huskies record for 44 completed passes in that game and tallying up 520 yards with three touchdowns.
Siemens has been a constant under centre for this program since his record-breaking debut that will go down for the ages as one of the best single-game performances by a Huskies quarterback.
Siemens has gotten off to a dominant start in 2017, leading the nation with nine touchdowns and averaging 345 yards through the air per game. On top of that, the quarterback was recognized by the Canada West conference, when he was named the offensive player of week two after a five-touchdown performance against the Alberta Golden Bears in the Huskies homecoming game.
After a bit of a bump in the road against the Thunderbirds in week three, Siemens and company will look to get back to their winning ways in a big game against the conference-leading Dinos in Calgary.
“We know we’re going to be facing some good competition in the coming weeks, but we feel like, if you’re going to be the best, you gotta play the best. We’re looking forward to the challenge,” Siemens said.
Sitting at 2-1, the team is well-positioned to return to the playoffs this season.
“We all feel we’re a pretty good football team,” Siemens said. “We all [have] the confidence, not only in ourselves but in each other and also in the coaching staff, to put us into some good positions.”
Siemens and the Huskies will host the Regina Rams on Sept. 29 in the annual Support the Troops game at Griffiths Stadium.
Photo: Electric Umbrella / Supplied