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'The beauty and the heartbreak of sport': Huskies football coach reflects on special season

The University of Saskatchewan football team returned to Saskatoon on Sunday to clear out their lockers for the last time this season.

While the sting of the 30-24 Vanier Cup loss is still fresh in their minds, the Huskies looked back with pride on a season that had just two losses.

While there’s the frustration of coming so close to a championship, head coach Scott Flory says they have a lot to be proud of.

“It’s tough,” said Flory outside Griffiths Stadium. “It’s the beauty and the heartbreak of sport. There’s a winner and a loser and there’s finality to it. I’m incredibly proud of our guys for responding the way we did during the season with the ups and downs and everything we had.”

Other than four graduating players, most of the squad is expected to return a year older and more experienced.

For fifth and final year quarterback Mason Nyhus, who set the school’s all-time passing record and was named 2022 Canada West Player of the Year — he’s got one last chance to impart some wisdom on the returning players.

“It’s funny, we’re going to have a team meeting here this week, but it’s always the fifth-year guys go up there and do their speech to the team,” Nyhus told CTV News. “It’s all, ‘don’t blink, it goes by too fast.’ And it’s the same thing every speech, but it really does fly by.”

Five years of excellence on the field may fade in his memory, but the moments away from the stadium with teammates are the ones he’ll cherish the most.

“Great memories, there’s some great times on our road trips,” Nyhus said with a smile. “Just hanging with the guys, watching the Thursday night football games usually before Friday games. Going to Deano’s for some wings with the receivers and quarterbacks, just a lot of fun stuff, so I’ll definitely cherish those memories.”

Second year running back Ryker Smith broke into a major role this season, including being named a Canada West all-star and the Community Service Award winner for 2022. He admits his body is ready for a short break before he gets back to work.

“I’m sure everyone’s going to take some time to recover, take a few weeks to get back on our feet,” said the engineering student. “But then we’re on to next season unfortunately. We had a wild ride this season, it was a lot of fun, but a couple weeks and we’re on to next season.”

The 2022 Huskies football team can look back on the season that included a Hardy Cup and a UTECK Bowl victory, and look forward to coming back next season even hungrier for the Vanier Cup. Top Stories

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