The Unity Warriors saw their football season come to an end this past weekend in Clavet. The team was enjoying a season that saw them defeat Kindersley in the playoffs after two previous match-ups, and a whole host of good competition all the way in-between. Their win against Kindersley gave them the Conference 7 spot in SHSAA Provincials, but they were unable to move on any further after dropping a 68-35 decision to an impressive Clavet team on Saturday.

Clavet has seen a lot of west central teams this year in Rosetown, Plenty, Biggar, and Outlook, and handily made their way through the competition as they enter the semi-finals.

The football season in Unity was a successful one no matter the result, as it gave players a good idea of what they can accomplish on the gridiron. Head coach Kyle Clark mentioned how nice it has been to watch their former quarterback Zenon Orobko play well for the Regina Thunder, as it gives the players on his team something to strive for when it comes to moving on in football as a 6-man player.

Seeing their former QB succeed in the junior ranks so early is something of an inspiration for Clark and his team.

“I think for a long time the kids from here would push-off the idea of going on to play university or even CJFL because 12-man is so different than 6-man. The kids from the city play 12-man all the time,” noted Clark, “I think it’s cool to see a 6-man kid succeeding at that level. It reinforces the point that with 6-man football, you can go on to play football at the next level too.”

The west central region presents many role model candidates lately outside of Orobko, as Kerrobert’s Clark Snider and Kindersley’s Declan Smit are finishing up their first years in Kamloops, and past examples saw CFL draft pick Kayden Johnson commit to the York University Lions after dominating the 6-man game while attending school at LCBI in Outlook.

Unity’s coach himself is a product of 12 players on the field. He respects the 6-man game knowing what it’s all about, and when approached with the likeness of the game to Rugby 7’s, Clark found it an excellent comparison.

“I’m from Ontario originally so growing up I played 12 man football. When I first came out here and Pat asked me to coach football I said that sounds great. I got to the first practice and he said ‘it’s six man football,” reflected Clark with a laugh, “I said what? What is 6-man football? I’d never heard of it before. It reminded me because rugby is big where I grew up, and when I first watched the practice happen it kind of reminded me of 7’s.”

Clark would learn to love the different game, eventually taking over for longtime Warriors’ coach Pat Orobko, who was honoured earlier this year for his work done to make Unity football what it is today.

“Pat Orobko was the founder of this program, him and Martin Berg got this thing started back in the late 90’s,” explained Clark talking about the teams past, “Together they ran the program for 20 or so years, and then I took over for Martin when he retired. I coached alongside Pat for 5 years, until Pat retired in 2019.”

Clark detailed the gesture from the Unity football board to make sure Orobko’s work on the field be forever recognized.

Unity Football Field DedicationPhoto via Vicki Orobko on Twitter

“When he retired the parents group, and the coaching staff talked about what we could do,” said Clark about the dedication of the football field to Pat, “He also founded the minor football program here as well, so there’s a lot of families that have been impacted by football and a lot of them are still (apart of everything). That idea was brought up, and I thought it was kind of a neat tribute to the guy that made it all possible for us all to be here. To get that done was pretty cool.”

Unity’s local team may be done for the season, but their local star in Pat’s son Zenon Orobko just put the finishing touches on an undefeated season for the Regina Thunder. Orobko has found himself in action a lot more than expected this year thanks to the Thunder’s impressive showings, and some injury problems with the starter. That might change as they enter the playoffs and their competition increases, but everything Orobko has accomplished this year is amazing considering the second-year quarterback's road to the show. 

Unity’s coach will continue to use Orobko as an example, as his team builds for the future after an early exit out of provincials this year.