The St. Paul Lions got a leg up in their Provincials hopes while recognizing an integral part of their football program over the decades on Friday night.
In the Lions first game in almost two full years due to COVID restrictions, St. Paul shutout the Wainwright Commandos 29-0 on an evening that shone light on the impact Randall Krys had on St. Paul football since its early days.
Krys, a long-time referee and coach, passed away last October from cancer. A moment of silence was held before the game, and all football players wore an “RK” sticker on the back of their helmets for the community man.
“Without a guy like Randall, our program probably isn’t here,” said Todd Tanasichuk, St. Paul Bengals coach.
“Randall started with the program back in 1985. The program started in ‘84 and the very next year he was coaching. Green as grass, looking young…Randall did everything to keep this program going. He refereed, but there was a couple years where I was desperate and I knew he had coached in the past, so I asked him, ‘Can you coach at the same time?’”
While a key cog during the week of preparation for the games, Tanasichuk assures that Krys, a long-time teacher at F.G. Miller Jr./Sr. High School, never let his ties with the Lions interfere with calling a fair game. Far from it.
“I knew that Randall was a guy of integrity. When he put that hat on, he was a referee, and he had no problem threatening to throw me out of the game or flag me. He was just that way. He was a special guy that lived his life with integrity…he was a guy who gave his life really to helping others and was a real role model for our kids.”
Friday night’s game marked the first St. Paul Lions game since November 2019, when the Lions took home a silver medal in Tier IV Provincials.
By blanketing the Commandos attack and allowing zero points, the Lions now have a game advantage against Wainwright when it comes to playoff groupings and seedings.
The St. Paul Lions will host the Lloyd Comp Barons on Friday.