Pinehouse Lakers win championship

The Pinehouse Lakers won the Northern Saskatchewan Football Championship on Saturday, downing the Buffalo Narrows Eagles 50-32. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)

The introduction of a football program to northern Saskatchewan schools has helped bring some students back to their studies, a principal says.

The Northern Saskatchewan Football League finished up on Saturday with the Pinehouse Lakers defeating the Buffalo Narrows Eagles 50-32 in Buffalo Narrows.

High school students in six different northern communities had the chance to play six-man football this year for the first time.

According to Jackie Durocher, the principal at Twin Lake School in Buffalo Narrows, the program has encouraged some dropouts to come back and finish their education.

Northern Saskatchewan Football League

Amid cold and snowy conditions, the Buffalo Narrows Eagles (in red) squared off Saturday against the Pinehouse Lakers. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)

"It has brought students back to school, high school students," Durocher said. "I have one player on our team who has been out of school for four years. [He] came back to school and is enjoying football, doing well in school"

Mark Williment, the superintendent of education with the Northern Lights School Division and the man who started the Northern Saskatchewan Football League, said he's pleased with how it has worked out.

"Kids want to have some recognition, they want to have fun, they want a sense of belonging, and football has done it for them," he said.

'It means I have a reason to probably stay in school longer.' - Parker McKay, Buffalo Narrows Eagles quarterback

Parker McKay, the quarterback of the Eagles, said he hopes football will open some doors for him.

"It means I have a reason to probably stay in school longer," he said. "Maybe this will even turn into something better if I really start to enjoy it. Maybe I'll try out for a university team or something like that."

The Northern Saskatchewan Football League will be back next year.

Northern champs Pinehouse Lakers

The Pinehouse Lakers are the champs of the Northern Saskatchewan Football League. (Ryan Pilon/CBC)