It’s been a long year for Spectrum Thunder football player Sahjun Sehmi.
The Grade 12 student showed up to Spectrum Community School a week into school on a transfer from Mount Douglas secondary, where he was the target of a football team hazing incident.
In search of a fresh start, he left Mount Doug, where he’d played football since Grade 9, and found a home at Spectrum. His only regret, coming so close to finishing his high school football career with a provincial championship.
Sehmi blamed himself for a couple of key defensive miscues that were part of the Thunder’s 28-21 loss in the Subway Bowl Tier 2 championship on Saturday.
“It’s funny, I had an interception, I caught a pass for a 40-yard gain, and I recovered the onside kick, but I also didn’t play well either, I got burned a couple times,” Sehmi said.
The Tier 2 Subway Bowl was Sehmi’s third time playing at BC Place, all of them losses. With Mount Doug, Sehmi played in the Subway Bowl junior final but lost to New Westminster Hyacks. In Grade 11 he was with the AAA Rams when they lost in the quarterfinals to Terry Fox.
“BC Place and I don’t get along too well,” Sehmi said.
At six feet, 165 pounds, Sehmi uses speed and agility to make plays as a defensive back, which is his stronger area. Offensively he lined up at wide receiver this year.
Coming from Mount Doug, where things went sour in the spring, there were no guarantees he could transfer and play this season. In seeking a fresh start, Sehmi considered community football until he was permitted to play for Spectrum.
But it almost didn’t happen.
Through an appeal involving extenuating circumstances, Sehmi was able to earn the blessing of B.C. School Sports and his former team, Mount Douglas, to play for Spectrum this season. Without the approval of the appeal board, Sehmi would have had to wait a year to play, effectively ending his high school football career.
“I love Spectrum, it’s been great here,” Sehmi said. “Of course I had apprehensions at first. It was like, ‘OK, I’m new here, I’m trying to get my footing,’ and I mostly came for football but I did actually know a few people.”
He found the football players were welcoming and accepting, happy to have him join the team in its fifth season. Based on his big-program experience, and the Thunder’s inexperience, Sehmi was named as one of the captains.
Academically, Sehmi is on track to graduate with a goal of studying at university. He doesn’t have anything lined up athletically at university but will give it another go at the Dec. 9 Alberta vs. B.C. Border Bowl match in Chilliwack. There are two ABC matches a year and the games feature a number of Canadian university scouts looking to fill those final spots. Twenty-three players from the 2016 and 2015 B.C. rosters are now playing U Sports football.
Sehmi was named the most outstanding defensive player at the ABC Border Bowl in May, held in Lethbridge, Alta. He’s joined by Spectrum’s star receiver and defensive back Riley Wilson.
“I just played really well that game, made big plays, and after scouts talked to me and the team invited me back,” Sehmi said.
Football isn’t the end of athletic season for Sehmi, who will lace up the high-tops for the coming high school basketball season.