September 17, 2023

Life of Riley: Schick relishes double duty with Roughriders, Thunder

It seems that Riley Schick is one for extremes. 

After being introduced to football as a participant, he experienced a winless season before becoming part of a dynasty. 

Prior to Grade 9, he had never played a down of organized football. Now he is a member of two teams at once. 

“It’s absolutely one extreme to the other,” marvelled Schick, a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ practice roster and the Regina Thunder’s starting offensive line.  

“I went from never playing football to barely making the Thunder and now I practise twice a day.” 

Leisure time is scarce, but the personable Schick loves every minute of the double duty. 

“Every day I walk out here, I take one big circle around the field,” Schick said after a recent Roughriders practice at Mosaic Stadium. 

“I feel like I’ll never truly be able to take it in as far as what this whole stadium — this whole province — can give to a guy, especially a hometown kid. 

“It means a lot to be a part of this team — going from a young guy who thought he was never going to play football to being a guy who is part of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.” 

Not even a decade ago, the current inundation of football was incomprehensible. 

“I grew up in Lumsden and I was always way too big for the weight limit in RMF (Regina Minor Football),” recalled the 22-year-old Schick, who is 6-foot-1 and 299 pounds. “I would have had to play up a couple of ages and I never really wanted to do that. 

“Then high school football came around and there’s no weight limit. My high school coach (Luke Dunville) was my neighbour, so he was like, ‘You’re going to play football.’ 

“I didn’t really have a choice, but I’m glad it happened.” 

While in Grade 9 at Lumsden High School, Schick was introduced to minor football while playing with Lumsden’s bantam team. 

“We never won a game,” Schick said with a chuckle. “I looked at the high school coach and said, ‘I’m not playing football,’ and he said, ‘Yeah, you’re going to play football.’ I was big into baseball, but I’m glad he made me stick it through with football, because it has worked out.” 

Schick debuted in the high school ranks while in Grade 10 and proceeded to help the Lumsden Devils enjoy a string of victories. 

“We won three provincial championships and lost one game my whole career in high school,” he said. “I got very lucky to play with some of the guys I did and we were a very athletic group.” 

Next stop: Scotty Livingstone Field — home of the Prairie Football Conference’s Thunder. 

“Coming out of high school, I didn’t even know that the Thunder was a thing,” Schick said. “One of my friends, Logan Hubick, was getting looked at by them, so (Thunder assistant coach) Brett Strong came out and was talking to him. 

“He asked Logan, ‘Who’s that other big guy that’s walking away?’ Logan said, ‘That’s Riley.’ Brett said, “Call him over. I want to talk to him.’ 

“So we talked for a little bit and he invited me to the winter camps, which were in Moose Jaw. I made it to spring camp, in which we had our intra-squad game. After that, they said, ‘Hey, we want you to be a part of the Thunder.’ 

“It was a long journey compared to a lot of the guys who get signed right out of high school or guys who go into these camps thinking that they’re going to get signed right away, no matter what. 

“I kind of just went there and was going to see what happened. If it didn’t pan out, then it didn’t pan out. I’m really happy that it did pan out.” 

It panned out to the extent that Schick was invited to the Roughriders’ 2022 training camp as a territorial junior. The audition went so well that he was invited to join the CFL team’s practice roster — an arrangement that is now well into its second year. 

On a typical non-game day, Schick attends meetings and practises with the Roughriders and Thunder. The PFC team typically meets and practices during the evening. 

“I play games on weekends (with the Thunder) and it’s right back into the meeting room on Monday morning after getting home from Winnipeg at 1 a.m.,” said Schick, who is to return to action Sunday afternoon against the host Winnipeg Rifles. 

“My dad always says, ‘Just do it while you’re young, because you’ll regret it when you’re older if you ever make any other decision.’ So as long as I can do it, and I’m healthy enough to do it, I’m happy to do it.” 

Actually, “happy” might be an understatement. 

“It’s a blessing every day,” Schick said. “I get to say I play football professionally to all my friends and family.  

“At the end of the day, I get to come here and learn from guys who have been in this business for years. I get to bring that back to the Thunder and pass it on, whether it’s O-line knowledge or some receiver stuff that I pick up when we’re in an offensive meeting — just anything.” 

In those meeting rooms, Schick has sat alongside two fellow offensive linemen who advanced from the Thunder to the Roughriders. 

Dan Clark starred in the PFC before playing for the Green and White from 2012 to 2022. Logan Ferland, the Roughriders’ starting right guard, is in his third CFL season. 

Clark and Ferland both practised with the Roughriders and played for the Thunder before becoming accomplished professional players. 

“It’s super-crazy, thinking that when I was younger, I looked up to Dan Clark when he played, and then I got to play with him and be around him for a full year and get the true knowledge that he actually has,” Schick said. “It’s amazing. 

“Then I got to play with Logan Ferland for a full year on the Thunder and I saw his work ethic, day in and day out. That dude practised twice a day for a year (2019). He was a carpenter and he went to school. Nothing brought him down. 

“He was always there to help us out after practice, no matter what. Seeing how hard he worked to get here just makes me want to work harder to be in the same spot he is.” 

At the same time, Schick appreciates his current spot. 

“It’s amazing,” he said. “Growing up as a little kid, I always came to Rider games. I’d think, ‘It would be so cool to play professional football,’ and I didn’t even play football at that time. 

“Being able to bleed green for real, it’s awesome.” 



Marshall Erichsen rushed for 122 yards to power the University of Regina Rams to a 23-15 Canada West football victory over the University of Calgary Dinos on Saturday before 1,915 spectators at Mosaic Stadium. 

Rams rookie Owen Sieben completed 13 of 20 passes for 187 yards, including a touchdown strike to Bennett Stusek. 

Short-yardage quarterback Brayden Wagg rushed for two TDs to help Regina improve its record to 1-2. 

Defensively, the Rams got a sack from Chopper Hippe and an interception by Justin Mckerracher. 

Xavier Vaillancourt threw for 251 yards and two TDs, including a 74-yarder to Gob Deng, for Calgary (0-3). 

The Rams are to return to action Sept. 23 against the host University of Manitoba Bisons. 

Next week’s schedule also includes Friday’s matchup between the Dinos and the visiting University of Saskatchewan Huskies (3-1). 

The Huskies fell 26-22 to the University of Alberta Golden Bears (3-0) this past Friday at Griffiths Stadium. 

The Golden Bears’ Matthew Peterson rushed 16 times for 176 yards and caught five passes for 104 yards. 

Huskies quarterback Anton Amundrud completed 20 of 38 passes for 266 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. 

Caleb Morin, with five catches for 81 yards, was the Huskies’ most productive playmaker. Everett Iverson added four catches for 60 yards and one TD. 

Finn Marcotte-Cribb had a 45-yard interception-return TD for the U of S. 



The Saskatoon Hilltops improved their record to 5-0 by defeating the host Edmonton Wildcats 52-7 on Sunday.

Saskatoon has outscored its opponents 237-33 this season.

On Sunday, Hilltops quarterback Trey Reider threw two touchdown passes, increasing his league-high total to 13. He has thrown only one interception.

Bosten Davidson added 131 yards and two TDs along the ground.

Meanwhile, the Thunder improved to 4-1 by winning 23-11 in Winnipeg on Sunday.

Ryland Leichert rushed for 110 yards and one major. He also caught four passes for 76 yards and another score.

Thunder defensive lineman Max Parkinson, who is on the Roughriders’ practice roster, registered a sack and two tackles for a loss.

Mitchell Tanchak and Avery Wagner had interceptions for the Thunder, which is to play host to the Calgary Colts on Sunday (1 p.m., Leibel Field). Also on Sunday, the Hilltops will visit the Edmonton Huskies.