The paths for a trio of Humboldt Collegiate Institute (HCI) Mohawk football players are about to branch off. Last month they enjoyed one final experience as teammates as members of the North squad in Football Saskatchewan’s Senior Bowl.    

Easton Ottmann (running back), Matt Schuett (defensive line), and Mason Bunko (offensive line) were the three representatives from Humboldt that took part in the annual All-Star game.      

Looking back at their days with the Mohawks, all three players believed they developed the skills to excel in football.  

Ottmann felt he made a lot of strides, “My coaches helped me out. It was a really good high school experience, and I’m going to miss it a lot, but it’s nice I’m progressing to different things.”  

Before arriving in Humboldt, Schuett spent time playing football in Moose Jaw but thought the bar was raised when he became a Mohawk.  

“Probably the best football team I ever been a part of,” said Schuett, “the coaches, everything was very positive, it was fun.”  

Without a chance to play minor football, Bunko wasn’t sure what to expect playing football in high school. Four years later, he developed a newfound passion for the game.  

“Learning across the years and learning from coaches has probably been one of the best experiences.”   

The Senior Bowl, for nearly 40 years, has been the top showcase of high school football players in the province whether they’re playing 12-man, 9-man, or 6-man football. Tryouts are held in April to select the North and South squads in the all-star game that alternate sites between Saskatoon and Regina.   

One of the first things the players noticed in the tryout was the level of talent competing for the prestigious spots on Team North.   

“I found it was more intense,” said Ottmann, “there was a very good group of guys at this camp.”  

Even with the 9-man and 6-man players transitioning to the 12-man rules for the Senior Bowl game, Schuett thought the abilities of all the players were evident.   

“The 6-Man guys, there’s actually a few that’s pretty good.”  

Following a brief camp before the Senior Bowl, Team North and Team South squared off inside Mosaic Stadium on May 26. The final score was not the one the three Mohawk players were hoping for, as the South picked a convincing 58-12 win on that Sunday afternoon.  

Despite several adjustments at running back and special teams, Ottmann was happy with his performance.   

Schuett felt the North team coaches had their squad prepared for the game by keeping practices active and fun.  

Adding more traffic to the line of scrimmage in a 12-man game is one of the adjustments an offensive lineman must make, but Bunko said that it’s very much a mental alteration.    

“You have to communicate way more on the 12-man line,” he says, “it’s way more of a bonding experience cause you’re sharing that line with four other guys.  

Bunko walked away from the contest with some hardware as he was named the top offensive lineman for Team North. He quickly credited his teammates along the offensive line who accompanied him in the battle of the trenches during the contest.  

With the Senior Bowl taking place inside the home of the Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders, the offensive lineman was starstruck by competing on the professional field.  

“To playing on that field and just staring up and just seeing risers of stands and seats, it was awesome.”   

With high school behind them, the three players will move off to new destinations. Both Ottmann and Schuett will compete in junior football, with Ottmann heading to Saskatoon as a member of the Hilltops while Schuett will become a member of the Regina Thunder. Competing as opponents has already weighed on Ottmann’s mind.   

“That will be a little bit different,” said the running back.   

With the Hilltops located in the Bridge City, Ottmann believes he will have the convenience of familiar faces and a place to hone his football skills.   

“I think they have a very good football program, lots of good coaches that will help me get stronger.”   

Hailing from Moose Jaw, Schuett will get the opportunity of playing close to home with the Thunder near his grandparents along with aunts and uncles.   

This upcoming fall, Bunko will join the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) Huskies football team. His goals in both academics and athletics were the reason why the U of S was the place for him.   

“I hold myself to a high standard when it comes to my academics, so committing to a university team of all things fits me the most.”   

Bunko also recognized that his football journey was not made possible without others, “Even today, it takes a lot of people today to support that kind of athlete.” He acknowledged his parents, and his coaches, for lending a helping hand.   

The offensive lineman pointed out the efforts of one of his coaches, Mike Suchan, for mentoring him throughout his time in Humboldt. 

Possibly the last chance Ottmann, Schuett, and Bunko will suit up as teammates, the three players relished the opportunity at the Senior Bowl.  

To play the final game with a couple of Mohawk teammates inspired Schuett to try out. “That was the main reason I did it, one last game with my buddies.”    

When Bunko found out this spring that he would be playing in the Senior Bowl, he knew that while his time in high school was nearing an end, his football career was only beginning.   

“This is where it all starts right, in high school, this is the foundation that builds you up to new heights.