McQuade Canada

NEW RICHMOND — McQuade Canada wore the look of resignation after he was asked the question: Did he regret not playing football all four years at Wyoming East?

The first-year senior had a breakout season for the playoff-bound Warriors. Canada had six interceptions to lead the team, his sixth one turning the momentum and keying a comeback from a 27-20 deficit to a 40-27 win over Liberty Friday at the War Zone. And that was just part of the story.

The athletic Canada, one of the leaders of the Wyoming East basketball team, did a little bit of everything for the Warriors.

He threw two touchdown passes on trick plays, he had 17 receptions for 225 yards, he once chased down a PikeView player and knocked the ball lose right before he crossed the goal line and he was constantly getting people into correct positions. Its not often you see a first-year player making adjustments on alignments.

Did he regret it? You bet he did.

“Absolutely, I regret (not playing) it every day,” Canada said. “I wish I had played sooner just to get the feel. But I’m super glad I played this year.”

So are his teammates and coaches.

“He’s done a real good job, especially on defense with those interceptions,” said running back/linebacker Caleb Bower. “He’s real smart. Definitely on both sides of the ball he is a real smart player.”

“He’s an athlete and he’s made a lot of big plays for us this season,” coach Larry Thompson said. “He’s a kid like these other seniors we have. I wish I could have had these guys for four years.”

Nicknamed Gump by his family for his affinity for the movie “Forest Gump” as a kid, Canada fully expected to make an impact.

“I expected to make an impact for sure, just because I feel like I’m an athlete and I can come in and change some things up,” Canada said. “But it’s just the coaching staff, helping me and developing me into the player that I am.”

He has been a part of turning the team around, from 2-8 last year to 8-2 this season.

“It means a lot because of our past seasons, they’ve been terrible,” Canada said of the turnaround. “This year we turned it around, we got the guys together and now we’re going to the playoffs.”

Class AA No. 11 Wyoming East will make the more than five-hour trip to No. 6 Oak Glen (10-0) Saturday for the first round of the playoffs.