Peter and Mike Kozushka are literally pretty big deals in the Moose Jaw High School Football League.
Peter, who stands roughly 6-foot-6, and Mike, who stands roughly 6-foot-3, are regarded as two of the best offensive linemen to suit up for the YRHS Raider Gridders’ football team in the history of the program.
“They are two specials players,” said Raider Gridders head coach Roby Sharpe. “I was very happy they chose to play for our program. They not only have the size, but they also have the skill and work ethic. They have quick feet and are able to use their size to their advantage by keeping up with their opponents. And they work hard every practice and leave it all out on the field.”
The combination of their size, skill, and work ethic makes Sharpe believe the sky is the limit for the Kozushka brothers.
“I don’t think there’s a question they will be stars in college,” said the head coach. “Most players sit on the bench the first year in CIS, but I think both of them will be starters right off the bat. From there, anything is possible. I think they have what it takes to play pro in the CFL.”
The Kozushka brothers have been tall enough to ride Ferris Wheels since they were practically out of diapers. They both hit 6-feet while in junior high and towered over their classmates since day one of kindergarten.
“They are big boys,” said Sharpe. “They are guys you want on your side to go to war with. I always wonder if their bones hurt while growing that much as kids.”
On a more serious note, Peter’s bones actually did hurt while growing up. They grew at such a fast rate that his skin and feet couldn’t keep up with them.
“My bones were actually growing faster than my skin and my feet,” said Peter. “The bones were actually pushing through the bottom of my heel. After some practices I’ve had a hard time walking because of the problem.”
Although the pains weren’t fun to go through, Peter is happy to enjoy the benefits of them now on the football field.
“My size is definitely an advantage over some players,” he said. “It lets me hold the line better and not let guys by me.”
Besides being blessed with imposing statures, the Kozushka boys also inherited elite athletic genetics. Their mother, Madalina, played for the Romanian National basketball team in the Olympics. Albeit Peter and Michael chose a different sport of choice than their mother, it seems the potent athletic genetics she passed down has helped their football careers.
“I guess she must have passed some good genes to us,” said Peter. “She was a good athlete and did very well for herself in basketball.”
Heading into this season, Peter, who is a Grade 11 student, and Mike, who is a Grade 12 student, didn’t set any personal goals. They just focused on getting ready to help lead their team to a 12-man 3A championship.
“It’s all about the team and winning games,” said Mike. “On the offensive line I want to do my part by giving our quarterback time and opening up holes.”
“I just try to do my part,” added Peter. “I don’t focus on personal stats, just helping the team win.”
Partially because of the Kozushka brothers’ strong play, the Raider Gridders have thrived this season. Following finishing with a 5-1 regular season record, they knocked off their first-round playoff opponent, Moose Jaw Vanier, and are now headed to the semi-finals.
“It has been a great year,” said Mike. “We’ve played some great games with a lot of guys reaching their potential. But the season isn’t over and we still have to win in the playoffs. We won’t be happy unless we win league.”
As for next year, Mike is college bound, but he doesn’t know what school yet.
“I haven’t committed to any school yet, but I will be playing college football next year,” said Mike. “I’ve been talking to the University of Alberta and the University of Regina. It should come down to one of them.”
Peter, meanwhile, has to wait another year before making the jump to college ball. He has already started looking into the process, though.
“I’m looking at university in Canada and down south,” said Peter. “I’m looking at some Division 1 schools in the States. I’m not sure yet, though. I’m also looking at Canadian schools. It will come down to whoever gives me what I want in schooling and football.”