St. Mary Marauder Risom eager to join Regina Thunder

St. Mary Marauder Matt Risom, pictured here playing for Team North at the 2024 Sr. Bowl in May, has signed with the PFC’s Regina Thunder. -- Submitted photo.

St. Mary Marauder Matt Risom will be playing football in the Saskatchewan capital this summer after signing with the PFC’s Regina Thunder.

Risom played both ways in his final season with the Marauders, lining up at LB, DE, and TE for a squad that upset the first place Carlton Crusaders in the playoffs before falling to North Battleford in the 2023 NSFL final. Risom said it’s an honour to join the Thunder after finishing his high school career.

“I’m super excited to be working with such a competitive organization, and such top-notch coaches,” he said. “I couldn’t have had things go better. It’s exactly what I wanted out of football, so I’m really excited to just get back on the field again and continue playing.”

Risom had a couple of different offers coming out of high school, but chose Regina because he liked the team’s mix of camaraderie and competitiveness. The Thunder finished second in the PFC last season with a 7-3 record, and made it to the conference final where they lost to the eventual Canadian Bowl champion Saskatoon Hilltops.

“Going to the tryouts and speaking with the coaches, the team organization, the program, listening to their podcasts, it gave me a really warm sense of family,” Risom said. “(It was) just something that I wanted to be a part of. I could tell that they mean business and they’re the type of team that I could go with to eventually win a championship. Taking all those things into account, and my own personal development, it just felt like the right place to go.”

Risom is a late-comer to the football landscape. He never played youth football, but fell in love with the game in high school. He started at a CB in Grade 11, but moved to LB and eventually DE as he put on weight.

The Thunder listed him as a defensive lineman in their signing announcement on June 1. Risom said he’s happiest playing DE and doesn’t mind hitting the gym to put on more weight over the next year. However, he’s committed to playing wherever they need him.

“Obviously, these guys are big men. Not only are they big, but they’re fast and skilled also, so there is a high standard to hold yourself too,” he said. “Obviously, the size thing will take time, but I’m dedicated to becoming whatever kind of player they want me to become.

“I do have a good idea of the size I need to reach in the coming year or two years. I’m working on that. I’m sucking down calories and in the gym, so I’m just going to try and get bigger and continue to hone my skills.”

Risom joined Carlton Crusader LB Scott Adamko as Prince Albert representatives on Team North at the Sr. Bowl in May. He credits St. Mary High School head coach Curt Hundeby and the rest of the Marauder coaching staff for helping him get to the next level of football.

“It’s an absolutely great program,” Risom said. “I’d advise anyone open to high school ball to go and play for them, and just learn and absorb the values. They’ve done a lot for me—one of the biggest reasons I’ve got as far as I have on my journey here.”

The Thunder begin the regular season on Aug. 11 when they travel to Winnipeg to face the Rifles. Their home opener is scheduled for Aug. 25, also against Winnipeg.