For Beck Fullerton and Ryan Ewashko, football is the tie that binds.
Since first playing community football together in Winnipeg well over a decade ago, the two have remained the closest of pals.
“We just became best friends over the game, just the love of the game,” said Fullerton, 21. “All we do is play Madden (NFL video game), talk about football and work out. It’s been a football specific relationship for such a long time.”
Not surprisingly, football has helped reunite the two defensive backs, who both took to the field last weekend at the Okanagan Sun’s 2017 spring camp.
A BC Football Conference all-star last year and a key leader on defense, Fullerton is heading into his fifth and final season with the Sun.
Ewashko attended the Sun’s spring camp three years ago but a job opportunity pushed him to put his football career on hold.
Now, in his final year of junior football eligibility, Ewashko is excited about the prospects of returning to Kelowna and playing football again with his closest friend.
“It’s so nice to come back, a great atmosphere, I think it’s the best place in Canada to be, and I love the Sun family,” said Ewashko, who trains with Fullerton during the off-season. “I’m excited to be with (Beck) again for his last year here, and my last chance to play, too.”
“I’m trying to learn from Beck, picking his brain as much as I can,” he added. “He’s an amazing player and knows the game so well.”
Despite Ewashko being at arm’s length from football for a couple of seasons, Fullerton is confident his friend has all the tools to adapt.
“He has the skill, the brain, we’ve just got to put it together,” Fullerton said of Ewashko, a league all-star in his last season of high school football in Winnipeg. “He hasn’t played football for a couple of years but it doesn’t show out there.
“He was making a lot of plays (at spring camp) and doing really well for himself.”
Fullerton believes his game will also benefit from Ewashko’s presence, input and support.
“The chemistry is always there, I know I can trust him, I know he understands what he needs to do,” Fullerton said. “It’s nice to have that little bit of extra support from your best friend, just pushing you day-in and day-out.”
As for Fullerton’s role this season, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound defensive back knows he’ll be relied on by the coaching staff, both on and off the field.
“I definitely feel like I’m in a different role that requires a lot more responsibility, I’ve met with coaches about it, they’ve helped me along and shown me the ropes,” Fullerton said. “I think I’m taking it in stride, I’m just doing my best to keep everyone fired up, high energy and just happy…if you’re happy on the field, you’re making plays and it’s good for everyone.”
If all goes as planned, Ewashsko will join Fullerton on the club’s opening night roster when the Sun hosts the Westshore Rebels on Saturday, July 29 at the Apple Bowl.