Payton Falk competed at his second Duel in July, and he fared very well.
Not only did he finish first among incoming high school sophomores, he became the first Canadian to ever win NFA’s prestigious quarterback competition.
“The Duel showed me that I have what it takes to be a great quarterback,” said Falk, who received his invite at an NFA’s 3 Day OSD in Minneapolis (link to Minnesota). “I enjoyed every minute of it. This was my third Duel and finally being able to win it meant a lot, and then being the first Canadian to have ever done it was even more of an achievement.”
Heading into his season with a load of well-earned confidence, he had a big season at Steinbach Regional Secondary School in Manitoba. “The thing I am most proud of about this season is our team became the first team in school history to win 3 games in the top division,” Falk said of the Sabres’ strong showing in the Winnipeg High School Football League. “Our team was recently moved up to the top division and I’m honored to have been a part of the team’s success.”
Based on his historic showing at the Duel and spectacular 91.5 score in the competition, you would have thought Falk was going to quarterback SRSS this season. Instead, he did what was best for the team, and his remarkable athletic ability helped the Sabres roar. Falk rushed 15 times for 125 yards and caught 20 passes for 283 yards and 2 touchdowns on offense. On defense, he had 13 tackles and 1 forced fumble. Falk also returned a kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown.
“My goal heading into the season was to be the best athlete I can be for the team,” he said. “Go play wherever the coaches put me, do what’s best for the team and ball out at that position.”
Falk did all of those things, just as he’s been doing in the eight years he’s been playing football. He started playing QB three years ago.
“At quarterback, I enjoy the feeling of leading my team out on game day and having the other school watch you walk out,” Falk said. “It’s a feeling nothing can replace. As a receiver and running back, my favorite thing is making the big momentum-changing plays.”
Falk’s impressive development at quarterback has been bolstered by his three years training with NFA and Coach JC Boice (link to JC Boice). “Without NFA and JC, I would not be the quarterback or person I am today,” he said. “The program has taught me more than I can say. I’m truly honored to be a part of such a great program.”
Speaking of honor, Falk is an Honor Roll student at Steinback Regional Secondary School. “School helps me understand what is happening on the field and why we use the motions we use as I further my knowledge on the human body,” he said.
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Xavier Tremblay continues to excel north of the border.
The sophomore quarterback from Quebec led his team, Loups Curé-Antoine Labelle, to a 7-2 record in the regular season and a spot in the “Bol d’Or” championship game.
“Every week, my team and I became stronger,” Tremblay said. “We all worked hard as a team to surpass our goals and prove to ourselves that we can win the championship.”
The 5-foot-10, 180-pounder is a big reason Loups Curé-Antoine Labelle made it to the title game.
In the regular season, Tremblay completed 183 of 274 passes for a staggering 2,969 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also rushed for 3 TDs and threw only 6 interceptions.
This is the eighth season Tremblay has played quarterback, and he continues to excel under center. “I love the position,” Tremblay said. “Playing quarterback is a great personal challenge for me. I love the rush of having to react to the game in front of me and deciding what to do with the football. It’s a very exciting feeling.”
Tremblay was very excited to get another Duel invitation this year, at a QBA camp in Montreal. He placed third among incoming sophomores in July at QBA’s international competition in Atlanta.
“Being able to participate in the Duel is a personal goal of mine,” Tremblay said. “The competition helps us all learn a lot of the technical side and mental side of our games. We all come out of the Duel with better confidence in ourselves and that resonates positively throughout the season.”
In addition to competing in the Duel, Tremblay has improved his technical and mental sides by training with the Quarterback Academy for the last three years. “During the summer, I was lucky enough to participate in many QBA camps,” he said. “That helped me improve my game immensely. My technical skills became sharper and my game became stronger and that helped me throughout this season.”
While he had a monster season for Loups Curé-Antoine Labelle this year and was his team’s MVP in 2016, Tremblay is far from being completely satisfied with his game. “I want to become a more well-rounded player,” he said. “I want to improve my technical skills, my game strategies and my ability to read the defense in front of me.”
A solid QB on the football field, Tremblay is also a successful student at Curé-Antoine Labelle in Laval, Quebec. “It is very important to perform in school,” he said. “My parents support me in my studies and that is very important for them. I am happy that I am doing very well in school this year.”
Payton Falk showed what he can do as a quarterback in July. After receiving an invite to the Duel, the eighth grader from Manitoba, Canada, journeyed to NFA’s international competition with some understandable trepidation.
“I was expecting a lot of competition,” he said.
Falk’s expectations were certainly realized, but his own competitive juices kicked in and he finished fifth in his grade group. “It made me feel pretty good,” Falk said. “I really wasn’t expecting to finish in the Top 5. To go there and do so well, it really helped my confidence a lot. It made me feel like I was able to be versatile and could compete at quarterback.”
Heading into his season with the Eastman Raiders in Manitoba, Falk was looking forward to playing quarterback for the third straight year.
Instead, he got caught up in a numbers game and primarily played slot for the Raiders.
“It was something I just had to deal with,” Falk said. “I just tried to do the best I could at the position I was playing.”
Falk played exceptionally well at slot back, scoring a whopping 20 touchdowns while leading the Raiders in receptions and receiving yards. “I think having played quarterback helped me play the slot,” he said. “I was able to read the defenses and understand what they were trying to do.”
With Falk helping the offense pile up points, the Raiders went 6-2 during the regular season before bowing out in the semifinals of the playoffs. “I felt it was very important that we played so well as a team and had a good season,” he said. “Where we play, we’re a rural team outside of the city (Winnipeg). We’re considered an underdog so to have a good season, it meant a lot to us.”
Next year, Falk will be a freshman at St. Paul’s High School and he’s looking forward to changing positions. “My goal is to play quarterback,” Falk said. “I like being in charge of the team and leading the offense and getting wins.”
St. Paul’s is a football powerhouse, and the Crusaders won the Winnipeg High School Football League championship this past season.
At St. Paul’s, many freshmen play on the junior varsity football team. The next step up is the AA team, with the AAA team providing the top level of competition.
“In Grade 9, I want to play on the AA team,” Falk said. “And I want to play quarterback next year. I’m really looking forward to playing quarterback and leading the team.”
Training with NFA the past year has helped Falk develop his QB skills, and he’s looking to improve even more before advancing to the high school level.
“NFA has helped me a lot,” Falk said. “My first camp was in Minneapolis and I was able to throw about 5 yards farther after they corrected my form. My release was faster and my accuracy was better. They really helped me a lot.”
They come from big cities and small rural towns across the United States. They come from Alaska. And they come from Canada.
NFA’s wide reach seems to grow by the day, and now is the perfect time to introduce the latest rising star – Jordan Hanslip.
A 12-year-old from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Hanslip is coming off a standout season with the St Vital Mustangs, a community football club established in 1948 that has a long history of excellence in Canada.
With Hanslip under center, the Mustangs were 9-1-1 this season. “I was really happy with how everybody worked hard and worked together,” he said. “Most of the kids were new and they came from different areas. We all joined together and became a good team.”
From start to finish, Hanslip’s main focus was all about the team. Individually, he had a great season with over 2,000 passing yards and 31 touchdowns along with 337 rushing yards and 9 more scores. “I was happy with how much I improved since last season,” Hanslip said.
Beginning his football career six years ago, Hanslip has always been a quarterback. “I love it,” he said. “It’s my favorite thing to do. I just like the leadership that comes with it. I like having the responsibility of controlling the plays. I also like having the option of throwing or running the ball.”
Hanslip is very good in both areas. And while hockey remains the most popular sport in Canada, football suits him just fine.
“Most of the kids around here play hockey,” Hanslip said. “I don’t play. I just find football more fun and it’s easier to go outside and play instead of having to find an ice rink. I like to get outside and play football.”
Hanslip has sharpened his QB skills by training with NFA the past three years. Coach JC Boice is not surprised by his success.
“Jordan has all the tangibles we look for in young quarterbacks,” Boice said. “Jordan has a very coachable spirit, a very focused, strong work ethic and he certainly has natural talent. He’s got a pretty live arm for a young man his age and what’s been most fun, the progress we’ve made in his mechanics. In the sessions we’ve had working together, he has accelerated his mechanics as fast as any young man I’ve ever worked with.”
Hanslip gives NFA big credit for making him a better QB. “NFA has helped me a lot,” he said. “They’ve helped me work on my technique and reading defenses. My reads have gotten a lot better. I’m going to keep working at getting faster and stronger, and I want to become a more accurate passer.”
This past summer, Hanslip got his first Duel invitation. “I think the Duel was a great opportunity for him,” Boice said. “He got to compete on a national stage and he did very well. I think coming back in years to come, he will place even higher and possibly be a Top 3 finisher. It is going to open up a lot of doors for him. I look forward to continuing to work with Jordan.”