With a dismal season for the University of Manitoba Bison football team in the rear-view, the herd is looking to reload with some prospects with winning pedigrees.
Stephen Adamopolous and Collin Kornelson will take to the field together next season on a revamped Bisons defence.
“I am very excited. It’s going to be a new experience that I am looking forward to,” Kornelson said.
His fellow commit didn’t mince words when asked his feelings on joining Manitoba.
“I’m very excited to join the Bisons of course,” Adamopolous said.
“The team provides lots of great things like an excellent coaching staff, high-class facilities, and a program that pushes you to be better at all times.”
The former Crusaders will look to make an immediate impact on a Bisons squad that had a strong defence, despite what their 2-6 record might suggest. Manitoba ranked third in tackles among Canada West clubs (442), fourth in sacks (11), and fifth in defensive interceptions (seven).
Adamopolous and Kornelson – a defensive back and defensive lineman, respectively – are coming off back-to-back John Potter AAA championships with the St. Paul’s Crusaders and hope to bring the lessons they learned in those campaigns to help their new club.
“Being a champion was a great way to end my high-school football career and I couldn’t imagine a better finish,” Adamopolous said.
“I feel that winning helped me understand what it takes to succeed, so I will definitely bring the winning mentality to the U of M.”
Kornelson does not like to lose, and will bring that spirit with him to the Bisons.
“It was awesome to win back-to-back,” Kornelson said. “A lot of people can’t say they have done that, so I’m grateful for the last two seasons I have played with the Crusaders.
“I don’t like losing so I will do everything I can to help the Bisons win.”
Kornelson, standing at six-foot-three – had eight tackles, a sack, and forced a fumble during the 2017 Winnipeg High school Football League season.
“I feel my transition will be a bit smoother into the defensive system,” he said. “Bison fans can expect me to make plays when I’m supposed to make plays. I am someone who will always do my job because football is a team sport and if I do my job and everyone else does their job, the defence can’t be stopped.”
Adamopolous is also confident in his abilities. The six-foot-three defensive back had six tackles in 2017 for the Crusaders.
“I believe that Bisons fans should expect to see a young player out of high school that will develop very well throughout his career,” he said.
“They should expect to see a very hard-working DB that will be consistent in doing his job and will have lots of fun doing it.”
The transition to the U SPORTS level can be daunting for some, but the two St. Paul’s products are happy to be making the jump with a familiar face.
“I’m excited to move to the next level with a previous teammate,” Adamopolous said.
“St. Paul’s obviously develops lots of good football players so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more St. Paul’s recruits in the Bisons locker room next year.”
“It’s always good to know someone going in,” Kornelson added. “But it doesn’t take long to get to know a lot of the other guys, especially when you’re spending many hours of the day together.”