No surprise Titus Lohalm is playing football. After all he’s born and raised in Germany.
The biggest surprise is he’s into North American football.
“Soccer didn’t motivate me anymore so about five years ago I got into flag football,” explained the 17-year-old from Hamburg. “After one year I switched to tackle and love it.”
He played four years of club football, all at quarterback.
His love for the game saw him make a major decision to travel to Canada and the Lindsay Thurber Raiders.
“Football is the big reason I wanted to come here,” he said. “After school was out in Germany I wanted to take a time out and come here and Red Deer was the perfect city. I’m from a big city in Hamburg but I love this city, I love my team and I love the school. It also gives me an opportunity to improve my English.”
Titus doesn’t have to worry about that. He speaks outstanding English – something he’s been taking since Grade 1. He’s now working on Spanish.
“Certain things working in Germany you need a second foreign language so that’s one of the reasons I picked Lindsay Thurber.”
Titus didn’t know anything about Red Deer before deciding to attend LTCHS.
“I signed up with an organization and picked a school district and a school.”
Being vaccinated he had no problem coming into Canada.
“I was scared a bit about it but I came over at the end of August and there was no problem.”
He lives with a host family in Red Deer.
“I was in contact with both my host parents for a couple of months so they were not strangers,” he said. “They have three boys and the youngest is playing at the University of Alberta, so it’s a football family.
“I’m with them for 10 months until next July, and it’s been great.”
There’s a difference between football in Germany and Red Deer.
“There is no school teams, only club. I played in the A Youth Level which is for those 16-19,” he explained. “So there’s a difference for sure. I like it more here where you go out after school with your boys.”
Football in Germany is also four-down football.
“The Canadian game is obviously different for him, but he’s polished and is excellent academically and a quick learner,” said Raiders head coach Devon Hand. “He’s now taking full time reps, which will help him even more down the line.”
Hand heard about Lohalm in late July.
“I got a message from his coach. He spoke highly of him and sent a tape of him. So I knew he was coming but really didn’t know much about him other than that.”
Lohalm started at quarterback for the Raiders during a 24-16 loss to Notre Dame last Friday, after taking over from Dayton Smythe in the second half the week before, in a 19-10 win over Hunting Hills.
He’s listed as five-foot-eight, but has a very strong arm and mobile.
“I think I have a strong arm and can use my legs,” he said. “I do love deep passes.”
Hand indicated he’s continuing to add to the team’s offence.
“Every week we add a bit more, things where we can take advantage of his strengths.”
Although he’s only been with the team for a few weeks, he feels comfortable.
“I think we have good chemistry. We’re always learning and coming together.”
Titus is in Grade 11.
“In Germany you have 13 grades. I was in Grade 11 there so I took Grade 11 here.”
Obviously he could return for another year, but isn’t sure what will happen.
“I would love one more season with the team, so maybe another semester … we’ll see. I have time.”
Titus will continue to share some time at quarterback with Smythe, who is also an excellent receiver and has hauled in three passes from Lohalm for touchdowns in the first two games.
“We’re super lucky to have two good quarterbacks … I can’t remember having that luxury before,” added Hand.
The City Division of the Central Alberta High School Football League is off this weekend before concluding league play the following weekend where LTCHS meets Lacombe and Notre Dame and Hunting Hills clash.
Danny Rode is a retired Advocate reporter and member of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame who can be reached at email@example.com