Kelly Sansregret is just an average 17-year-old, aw-shucks, sod-kicking kid from the town of Ste. Anne, but man can this kid throw a football.
According to one of his Eastman Raiders midget coaches, he is so dedicated to football that he hardly has any vices and doesn't even have a girlfriend.
"Ah, I'm working on the girlfriend," Sansregret laughed Sunday after leading his Raiders to a 38-14 Midget Football League of Manitoba semifinal victory over the North Winnipeg Nomads.
The Raiders will play the St. Vital Mustangs Saturday at 1 p.m. in the championship final of Football Manitoba's Championship weekend at Canad Inns Stadium.
The Mustangs mauled the Transcona Nationals 35-3 in the other semifinal Sunday. Brett Carter caught three touchdown passes from Mustangs' quarterback Jordan Doiron and Scott Osadchuk scored the other. Ryan Jones had a field goal for Transcona.
"Sansregret has never been coached by a natural quarterback coach," said Raiders head coach Christian Sanchez. "He's just raw talent, with a cannon for an arm."
Sansregret wasted no time taking charge, going to the air 34 times and completing 21 passes for 332 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown pitch to Meyson Martens in the first quarter.
Sanchez says that up until this year, Sansregret has lacked confidence. "He was very shy and timid, and that translated over to the field. The way he played was definitely the way he was as a person.
"We began working with him back in November last year, to change his mentality, his overall presence in the pocket during the game and just on becoming a leader. This year he is completely different, and you can see it on the field."
Sansregret directed his team to a 7-1 record this season, the team's best showing since it was established in 1991. "Our best before that was 5-3 on two occasions," said Sanchez. "In 2001 we were 5-3 and went all the way to the final, but lost."
"Yeah, this is the year," Sansregret said of his emergence as a leader and the team's dominance. "I love it. I don't know what was holding me back. We tried so hard before, but this year we have the team, the chemistry. It's good."
The Raiders scoring was led by Joss Gowland with a touchdown and three field goals. Sansregret had one touchdown and a single while Joel LaJoie added the other major. Matt Woolmann kicked four converts. Eastman led 25-14 at the half.
The Nomads got touchdowns from Layton Rollock and Dylan Harris. Tyson Haines added a two-point convert.
Sanchez welcomes the chance to play St. Vital next week. "We lost only one game this year, to the Mustangs 40-35, and we fought them all the way. I know we can win it. We definitely have the heart and the talent."