(L-R) Marty Hoffman, Cougars head coach stands with Cameron Saddleback Jr. and fellow Cougars coaching staff members Micah Johnson (Offensive Coordinator/Strength Conditioning Coordinator) and Josh Zimmer (Defensive Line Coach/Recruiting Coordinator).                                Photo submitted

(L-R) Marty Hoffman, Cougars head coach stands with Cameron Saddleback Jr. and fellow Cougars coaching staff members Micah Johnson (Offensive Coordinator/Strength Conditioning Coordinator) and Josh Zimmer (Defensive Line Coach/Recruiting Coordinator). Photo submitted

Maskwacis athlete ready to make it down south

NCAA football lures Saddleback to Minnesota

Originally from Maskwacis, Cameron Saddleback Jr. is getting ready to showcase his talents south of the border.

Saddleback, who is from the Samson Cree Nation, has committed to a two-year stint playing NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Division 3 football at the University of Minnesota Morris (UMAC), coached by Marty Hoffman.

The defensive lineman will be working toward a degree in civil engineering while also helping the Cougars take on opponents like University of Wisconsin River Falls, University of Northwestern (Minn.) and Martin Luther College in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.

Saddleback did well while he played his three years of high school football for the powerful Jasper Place Rebels in Edmonton while also playing two seasons of community football for the West Edmonton Raiders.

His high school career was great as Saddleback won the Rebels’ rookie of the year award and was named a team captain in his final season in 2015, which was also highlighted by getting to play in the 26th Alberta Senior Bowl.

His mother Cynthia Rain explained she is very grateful to Jasper Place’s then head coach Ryan David for the tremendous impact in turning her son’s life around by talking to him about his potential to play for the Rebels.

Rain also thanked Trevor MacIntyre, director of Firstline Football, for mentoring and training Saddleback over some seven years to maintain a healthy, athletic lifestyle as well as John Harjo from the Indigenous Bowl for providing support to her son and other Indigenous players playing college football in the U.S.