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By Tim Switzer,
The last time Paul Woldu played on Taylor Field at Mosaic Stadium, it was the highlight of his football career.
The Regina-raised cornerback got on the field June 3 for a few plays during a CFL exhibition game as a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders when he was part of the team’s training camp roster.
When he took to the same field as a member of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies on Saturday, it was one of the lowlights.
“I don’t think I’ve had a loss here that hurt more,” said Woldu after the University of Regina Rams upset the Huskies 32-31. “Growing up, I played here all my life and I knew how hard it would be coming in here to play. It’s always tough to play on Taylor Field and we didn’t play the way we should.”
Woldu was among a much-publicized group of players from the PFC’s Regina Thunder and from Regina high schools that decided to move north to play for the Huskies rather than stay at home and join the Rams.
Of that group, only Woldu and defensive lineman Ivan Brown were on the Huskies’ travelling roster Saturday. Both players said it was a strange being back in Regina as the opposition.
“I was in the opposite side dressing room for the first time in my life,” said Brown, a former Thom Trojans player who spent three seasons with the Thunder. “It’s just a totally different feeling. We had a good fan base, but it’s an intense setting for the game being the enemy in your home town.”
Both players started at their respective positions in front of friends and family but neither saw much action. Brown had just one tackle from his spot at tackle. Woldu didn’t see the ball throw his way too often but did make two tackles and broke up one pass. He was most conspicuous when he tried but failed to intercept a pass that eventually led to the winning point for the Rams. Woldu also came within inches of blocking the punt that scored the winning rouge.
As the Rams came back form a 31-14 deficit in the fourth quarter, there were plenty of boos coming from Regina fans, something Woldu and Brown had rarely heard coming in their direction in their years in Regina.
“It’s a pretty big stadium so you can’t hear the boos as much on the sunny (East) side,” said Brown. “Our fan base was strong so we had support when we came back to our bench.”
Despite the loss, neither is regretting his decision to leave Regina.
“I’ve made a new home in Saskatoon,” said Brown. “Things are going good up there. We’re on a two-game losing streak and we have to turn that around.”
“It’s different, but I knew what I wanted,” added Woldu a former LeBoldus Golden Suns star who spent four seasons with the Thunder. “This is what I wanted and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We have something special. When we play the way we can play, we can’t be stopped. But when we don’t, anybody can beat us.”