Kaiden Banfield is the Winnipeg Rifles' newest running back, and it only took him one game to make his mark in the Prairie Football Conference.
The Portager was fed the ball relentlessly in the Rifles' season opener against the Edmonton Huskies, and he made the most of the opportunities. Banfield rushed for 151 yards on 30 attempts and also caught a touchdown in the second quarter to help lead his team to a 20-16 victory.
"It was a good game, and the Edmonton Huskies are a good team. So, I knew going into their building that it was going to be a fight the whole way through, and that's what it was," says Banfield. "It was a great feeling to get my first touchdown for the Rifles, and I'm planning to have many more."
The former Portage Collegiate Trojan spent the last two seasons with the Okanagan Sun and had 33 rushing attempts, in total. He enjoyed his time in Okanagan but believes he has already made a bigger impact in one game with the Rifles than he did in two years with the Sun.
"I never had 150 yards in a game for the Sun. So, this is a huge boost for my confidence," Banfield continues. "I always knew I could play at this level, but the Sun had so much depth at running back. There were limited reps for me there, but to be able to play the full game here, it showed me that the hard work is paying off."
Banfield is excited to be a heavily featured player in the Winnipeg offence this season. He adds this was the first time since 2015 that the Rifles beat the Huskies. After a win like that, Banfield believes they can compete with anybody.
"It's a great feeling knowing that we can beat any team this year. That was just our first game of the season, too. I think we're going to get a lot better from that game. We can compete and beat any team in this league."
The Rifles have yet to play a home game, but Banfield is excited to have more friends and family at his games this year. Kaiden is also joined by his brother Kyler and a few other former PCI teammates in Winnipeg.
"Even just when I came in here, Kurt Parker, he's another running back for the Rifles, he helped me get some knowledge on the playbook. That made it really easy to get to know the plays and everything like that."
Banfield says his goals for the season are to keep improving every day and to go 1-0 every week. The Rifles' home opener goes down on Sunday, August 20, against the Saskatoon Hilltops.
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