If things go his way, in a few years’ time Bailey Laswisse will be making one-handed catches down the sideline for the Saskatchewan Roughriders as a starting receiver.
The 14-year-old was honoured Thursday night as the Prince Albert River Riders’ top receiver in the team’s bantam age group.
The River Riders held their annual awards night for bantam and peewee players at Carlton high school’s cafetorium, recognizing offensive players, defensive players and special accomplishments like most improved, team leadership and best special teams player.
Laswisse said he uses the Roughriders’ receivers as his inspiration, particularly the multi-skilled Duron Carter, who made a memorable, one-handed touchdown catch against Toronto in July.
“I feel great,” he said of winning the award.
“When I first started the season, like when I first started playing football, I just wanted to learn how to catch one-handed.
“And from my coaches teaching me how to play football, from starting to play receiver, just starting from the bottom. I just feel so happy how far I’ve made it.”
Laswisse graduates from the bantam ranks this year.
He said he wants to play for the Carlton Crusaders next year.
As his coach, Joey Hemsworth, was announcing the award Thursday night, he recalled how Laswisse always came through for him when it counted, including some spectacular sideline grabs.
Reflecting on his time as receiver with the bantam squad, Laswisse said, “sometimes it’s kind of scary when you’re going down the field and there are bigger guys than you.”
He countered that with noting the sweet feeling of putting a trash-talking defensive back in his place, just be running a successful route and catch.
“Sometimes I laugh, and then I go up to them and kind of point in their face sometimes.”
Laswisse said he hopes younger kids that are interested will try football.
“It’s a fun sport. It’s good to learn it and be good at it.”
The following is a complete list of the River Riders’ award winners, organized by age group.
Peewee (ages 10-12)
Matthew Gendron memorial award (top offensive lineman): Jakob Ferguson-Dodge
Top running back: Matthew Tysiaczny
Top receiver: Sullivan Smith-Windsor
Rookie of the year: Aiden Weider
Most improved player: Samuel McCloy
Most valuable player: Matthew Tysiaczny
Top defensive lineman: Liam Ahenakew-Laliberte
Top linebacker: Landon Mudjar
Top defensive back: Ethan Campbell
Rookie of the year: Ethan Green
Most improved player: Vaughn DuGray
Most valuable player: Tazmin Smith-Windsor
Most valuable special teams player: Landon Mudjar
Pride, hustle, desire (offence): Luke Zawislak
Pride, hustler, desire (defence): Kaelan LeBlanc
Max Clunie memorial award (team leadership): Scott Adamko
Bantam (ages 13-14)
Top offensive lineman: Colby Baliski
Top running back: Justin Adamko
Top receiver: Bailey Laswisse
Rookie of the year: Ethan Gee
Most valuable player: Justin Adamko
Top defensive lineman: Brennan Sevigny
Top linebacker: Matthew Kulcher
Top defensive back: Oliver Lloyd
Rookie of the year: Cole Otterson
Most valuable player: Aiden Pogorzelec
Most improved player: Tristan Banting
Heart of the beast: Austin Epp
Rod Elliot team leadership award: Ryan Adamko