A former Muskie football star is taking his talents to Winnipeg.
Sekina Scheibler, who was a standout running back with the black-and-gold, recently officially signed on with the Winnipeg Rifles of the Canadian Junior Football League.
The 21-year-old is thrilled to be joining the Rifles, as they play in the super competitive Prairie Football Conference, but noted the road to joining the team was a little more unusual than it is for most players.
“My story is a little bit different but since my Grade 11 year they've been talking to me, really wanting me to come out,” he noted in a phone interview with the Times on Friday.
“I had been in talks with a university down in southern Ontario and I was supposed to have a scholarship down to play football and I ended up coming back [to Fort High] for a 'victory lap,' just to get another year bigger and stronger for university football, and my appeal to play in the WHSFL got denied actually,” he added, referring to missing his Grade 11 year with an injury and filing the appeal to be able to play last season.
"So then I was without places to play football and the scholarship kind of went out the window. So, the Winnipeg Rifles reached back out to me and said 'hey, if there's somewhere that you want to play, come play out here'.
“So I took that opportunity and I haven't looked back,” he enthused.
One of the biggest things that stood out to Scheibler about the Rifles' program is that they are a feeder team for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League, thus making it a great fit for anyone who has aspirations to play at the next level.
“We're actually in the Prairie Conference, which is one of the best conferences in Canada,” he noted.
"So I'm still going to be able to go to university and get my education and there's an ability for me to get drafted into the CFL without going through the whole draft process.
“You can just get picked up and signed from the Rifles to a CFL team, which is a nice to just make it there, I guess,” he added.
Scheibler—who won the Elite Performance Center Offensive Player of the Year award for the WHSFL's Currie Division ('A') back in 2017 in his last season with the Muskies—will be attending the University of Manitoba this year and will be enrolled in a basic University 1 program while also playing for the Rifles.
He then plans on pursuing a major degree in biology and a minor in chemistry with the hopes of becoming a teacher or scientist.
Scheibler expects that he mostly will just play on special teams in his rookie season with the Rifles, but will be working diligently on all areas of his game over the summer to get ready for the season ahead.
“For myself personally, we're going to be working on a little bit more of my agility, I'm more of a one-cut running back,” he noted.
“Quick, strong, going vertical a lot. They're [the coaching staff] going to try to work with my agility, break a few more tackles, get out in the open field a little bit more, be able to use more of my feet, and them I'm just going to be working for reps to hopefully . . . I mean first year, you don't expect to be starter but I'm hoping to get some reps through key moments in games and obviously be playing special teams and do whatever I can to help out the team,” he reasoned.
Scheibler also feels that all of his hard work in helping to build the Muskie football program to where it is today will bode well for his future playing ability with the Rifles and beyond.
“I think that when I first joined the Muskies, the core of the team was not where it needed to be, and through me and a few other main guys in the years that I was there, we built the team back up to something that was respectable and we made really good strides to ... not only winning games but also changing the culture of the team,” he noted.
“So I was forced to be a leader, not only on the field but also off the field. So that's helped me grow as a football player and my attitude towards the game and my ability to see different things within the game,” he reasoned.
“So I think that's helped me a lot moving on to the next level, as well as just all the work that I put in over the four years playing both sides of the ball every minute of the game, all the special teams, that's given me the work ethic to play at the next level as well as the skills needed.”
Scheibler also feels that he'll bring a hard-nosed, never quit type of effort to the Rifles.
“They do already have their style of play and I kind of just fit right into that,” he remarked.
“I run hard downhill, I don't stop on contact, I have high yards per carry after contact average. So I'm gonna be beating down defenses and then getting ready to make those big runs in third and fourth quarter and that's my style of play and that's what I hope to bring to the Rifles,” he added.
Scheibler also will be billeting in Winnipeg and plans to move there at the end of July in order to begin training camp.
“I'm really excited to meet all the players there but the coaches and I have developed a really, really strong relationship. From just working with them from travel to workout plans, eating plans, I think that it's all gonna work out just great,” he enthused.