Photo courtesy of Louis Christ Photography
The five time defending Canadian Bowl champion Saskatoon Hilltops begin their playoff quest on Sunday afternoon when they host the Edmonton Wildcats.
The last time these two teams met in the post season was in 2013 with the Hilltops pounding the Wildcats 41-10 in the semi-final. Oddly enough the other semi that year was between the Edmonton Huskies and Regina Thunder, the exact same match-up as this season.
Since 1982 these two teams have met 17 times in the CJFL post season; however this is the first time since 2013. The Hilltops have won 16 of these playoff match-ups, with the only Wildcats victory coming in the 2009 Prairie Conference final.
Last week the Wildcats visited the Hilltops and left town losing 48-8. In their first meeting of the season the Hilltops beat the Wildcats 40-10, outscoring them in their seasonal series 88-18.
On paper this is a complete mismatch. The Hilltops offence scored 201 more points than the Wildcats offence and allowed 106 fewer points. The Hilltops finished undefeated while the Wildcats won just twice this season. That said, anything can happen in the CJFL playoffs.
Both teams have some very good receivers; however will the quarterbacks have time to throw? Hilltops’ pivot Tyler Hermann in his fifth and final season became the starter after the graduation of Jordan Walls and hasn’t disappointed or missed a beat. He’s completed 64% of this passes for 1908 yards and 17 touchdowns. Meanwhile the Wildcats quarterback Dante Tabacu has completed 51% of this passes for 888 yards and thrown four touchdowns.
The Wildcats will need to capitalize on any mistakes made by the Hilltops and take advantage. The issue is the Hilltops don’t make many mistakes giving the ball away a Conference low 19 times on turnovers. The Wildcats meanwhile also take care of the ball allowing 20 giveaways this past season.
Head to Head
Records – Wildcats 2-6 – Hilltops 8-0
Points For – Wildcats 107 – Hilltops 308
Points Allowed – Wildcats 231 – Hilltops 125
Passing Leaders - Dante Tabacu – 65 of 128 (51%), 888 yards, 4 touchdowns (Wildcats) – Tyler Hermann – 123 of 192 (64%*), 1908 yards, 17 touchdowns (Hilltops)
Rushing Leaders – Ramone English – 58 carries for 358 yards, 1 touchdown (Wildcats) – Ben Abrook – 199 carries* for 1215 yards*, 8 touchdowns* (Hilltops)
Receiving Leaders – Lucas Howe – 25 receptions for 418 yards, 3 touchdowns (Wildcats) – Connor Graham 28 receptions for 599 yards, 6 touchdowns (Hilltops)
Leading Tacklers – Chopper Hippe – 46 tackles* (Wildcats) – Riley Keating – 34 tackles (Hilltops)
Turnovers – Wildcats +11 – Hilltops +14
Tag(s): Home Edmonton Wildcats Saskatoon Hilltops Edmonton Wildcats Saskatoon Hilltops Edmonton Wildcats Saskatoon Hilltops Edmonton Wildcats Saskatoon Hilltops Edmonton Wildcats Saskatoon Hilltops Edmonton Wildcats Saskatoon Hilltops