When he rewinds his high school athletics reel, Morgan Loshny can picture the best of times.
He played a leading role in 2011 when the Stettler Wildcats won the provincial Tier 3 high school football championship in convincing style.
“It was like a family,” Loshny recalled last week after he was named the 2012-13 William E. Hay Composite High School male athlete of the year.
“We kind of dreamt about it from the beginning of the season, and then, it’s just like everything fell into place.
“It felt like a movie. It was crazy. Like, winning it again wouldn’t be the same, because it was so perfect. We were ranked eighth in the province — the lowest we could be — and we beat the first-ranked team. It’s the underdog story. The perfect high school memory.”
The 2012 football season wasn’t as celebrated, but it was another chapter in a standout high school career for Loshny, a graduating student who also played basketball with the Wildcats.
After suffering a serious knee injury in Week 1 action, he returned to the football lineup in time for the provincial playoff push. Loshny, previously the starting quarterback, pitched in as a receiver, despite a partially torn MCL and a completely torn ACL in his right knee.
“After that, I played pretty much three and a half games, which is better than zero — I can say that,” he said.
“It was horrible (sitting out). It was an antsy feeling on the sidelines. Playing a new position that I liked, it was tough to sit there and watch.”
Loshny had experience as a receiver the previous spring in his final season with the Camrose-based Battle River Shock midgets.
He gave it the old college try in both of his final two seasons with the Wildcats, persevering both years in the face of injuries. His athleticism served him well. It’s expected to do likewise as he recovers from knee surgery scheduled for this summer.
“The doctor said the surgery, 99 per cent of the time, is completely successful,” Loshny said.
“And being athletic, the chances are even higher of being successful.
“As long as I take care of myself afterwards and rebuild everything, then it should be great. I wouldn’t have to wear the brace again, and I could do full contact and it would be just like new.”
A new chapter is unfolding in Loshny’s life. He’s entering the bachelor of science in engineering program, initially at Red Deer College and transferring to the University of Alberta in Edmonton after one year.
Sports, in one form or another, figure to be part of his college routine.
“I’m getting my surgery in August, but I want to try out for a junior (football) team out of Edmonton the following year, after I’m done my first year of university,” said Loshny, 18.
“And there’s tons of intramural programs, just-for-fun stuff, that can keep you busy, too, especially in the recovering process. That’ll be good for my first year recovering from my surgery, to get involved with some smaller, just-for-fun intramurals and stuff like that.
“I’m thinking I might do something like that at RDC, like an intramural basketball team, not for competing or anything, but just to keep me active.”
Loshny’s active high school years included not only athletic and academic achievements, but also friendships formed en route.
One of his best buddies throughout high school has been fellow 2013 graduate Ty Page, who also played with the football and basketball Wildcats and the Shock football team.
“He was my gym buddy,” Loshny said of Page. “We’d motivate each other.”
The Wildcats’ team environment was in vogue last Tuesday night for the revamped Colour Night awards ceremony, which was an exclusive gathering for students playing school sports.
“It felt more like a team (event) than a school function,” Loshny said. “It was actually kind of nice.”
In true sports fashion, he’s setting high goals to shoot for in his collegiate years.
“I wouldn’t hesitate to try out for the U of A, at all,” Loshny said. “Maybe do one year of junior (football) and see where my confidence fits in, then go from there.”