SCOTT TAYLOR, MyToba.ca
Photos by JEFF MILLER and JAMES CAREY LAUDER, MyToba.ca
Trevor Wright ran roughshod over the opposition at Investors Group Field last November. Of course, it’s something Wright has become accustomed to doing.
The St. Paul’s Crusaders’ outstanding Double A running back was the difference as St. Paul’s defeated the Garden City Fightin’ Gophers 32-0 to win the Free Press Bowl and the championship of the Kas Vidruk Division last fall.
In the third quarter of a turnover-filled game, Wright took off on a 72-yard touchdown that gave St. Paul’s a 23-0 advantage and put the game on ice. For his efforts, Wright was named the offensive player of the game.
It seems that 2013 was a pretty nice year for the 16-year-old, soon-to-be Grade 11 student-athlete. He was the star of the Red River Cup for Team West during the summer and then became the Double A Crusaders’ most potent offensive weapon as St. Paul’s battled through a 6-2 season and then completely dominated the championship game.
Like so many great high school running backs before him, if you’re born with the speed and courage it takes to stare down a linebacker, juke him and avoid a violent collision, you probably have what it takes to be the “next” Nik Demski or Anthony Coombs or Andrew Harris.
Or, this coming season, St. Paul’s superstar Triple A running back Alex Taylor. In fact, St. Paul’s head coach Stacy Dainard has Wright penciled in to replace Taylor when the 2014 Winnipeg High School Football League begins play in about 2 1/2 weeks.
In 2012, he was the Winnipeg High School Football League’s Jayvee Player of the Year and this past season carried 102 times for 1,036 yards, second only to Crocus Plains’ outstanding Victor St. Pierre (1,283 yards) in the Vidruk Division.
Wright has two more years remaining with the Crusaders but he admits he wants to get a scholarship to an NCAA or CIS university when he’s finished high school. Considering how far he’s come in such a short time, it’s a testament to both his personal physical gifts and his commitment to the game. Fact is, he knew very little about football when he first donned the pads.
“I started playing football at Crescentwood in what would have been my second year of atom, 11-years-old,” he said. “I had never even watched football. My parents didn’t watch it. I didn’t really know much about the game.
“But at Oakenwald Elementary School, we played it on the school yard and my friend, Tinaye Muza (the outstanding young running back at Vincent Massey), told me I was good,” recalled Wright. “I really didn’t know, but I knew he was a good player so I thought that maybe I could play. He kept telling me I was really, really good so I asked my mom if I could try.”
Wright, whose dad is from Jamaica and mom is Inuit, signed up with the Crescentwood Grizzlies (now the Corydon Comets) and played atom, peewee and bantam. He got some solid coaching with the Grizzlies and was ready to try his hand at high school football, the highest level of teenaged football in the province.
But it wasn’t as if he didn’t have an athletic background when he started. He was already a soccer player, but didn’t really like it. He still competes in the high jump and runs the 100-metres and 200-metres on the St. Paul’s track team, but he does that because he feels he should. He does, however, love baseball.
“I played for Fort Garry in the Double A City League,” he said. “I kind of wanted to play Triple A but I can’t. I decided to play football in the U-16 provincial program so I couldn’t commit to a full season of Triple A ball. But we did make it to the semifinals at provincials. We had a real good season.”
Growing up, Wright attended Oakenwald School, General Byng Junior High and then he decided to give St. Paul’s a shot. He knew the football program is renowned as one of the best in the WHSFL and he wasn’t sure what to expect.
“I’ve had a great time at St. Paul’s,” he said. “At first I didn’t because I felt a little out of place and I didn’t really know anyone. The scary thing was, the first day at school I got homework. I’d never had homework before. But I got used to it and I started making some really good friends and I had great teachers. I did pretty well, too. Once you get used to it, it’s a really great school.”