REGINA — Talk to anyone born within the borders of Saskatchewan and they’ll tell you how much of an honour it would be to suit up for the Roughriders.
For that reason – among several others – Saskatoon native Scott McHenry and Regina native Patrick Neufeld couldn’t be happier to see their contracts extended by the Riders.
“It’s an honour to be able to say that I’m going to be a Saskatchewan Roughrider for another two years,” said McHenry.
“Growing up playing football in Saskatoon and then playing for the (University of Saskatchewan) Huskies and now the Riders and knowing they have me in their plans…it’s an honour,” he added.
As of now, the Roughriders have 12 players from universities inside Saskatchewan – six from the University of Regina and six from the University of Saskatchewan.
They also currently feature four players from provincial junior teams. Neufeld believes that there’s a valid reason as to why his Alma matter is so prominent within the Riders’ organization as well as the seven other teams in the league.
“I think it’s a testament to the program and the coaches they have over there. It’s really cool to see those guys get an opportunity and then when they get into the league they make the best of it,” he said.
Last season saw Neufeld start in 13 of his 17 games played.
The 24-year-old Saskatchewan product is coming off a season in which he seemingly flew under the radar as big names such as Brendon LaBatte, Dominic Picard and rookie Ben Heenan were often the focus on the offensive line.
“I was just given the opportunity and did what I was supposed to do,” said Neufeld.
“We have a pretty solid group, everyone on the offensive line respects each other and cares about each other so we work well as a unit from the starting five to the next six or seven guys,” he added.
McHenry, meanwhile, dressed in all 18 regular season games with the Riders, registering 19 receptions for 171 yards and a touchdown.
The 25-year-old will be looking to improve on those numbers in 2013 and hopes to take on a larger role in the team’s offensive production.
“I have the same goals every year and that’s to contribute and make sure that I’m not the guy that’s making mistakes and doing whatever I can when I’m on the field,” he said.
“Personally, I’d like to get better at receiver and help this team get some wins,” he added.