Photo courtesy of Louis Christ Photography
When the Saskatoon Hilltops and London Beefeaters meet on Saturday in the CJFL National Semi-Final game it won’t be the first time they’ve met.
Seven years ago the Beefeaters finished 7-1 during the regular campaign then beat the St. Leonard Cougars 27-17 in the Ontario Conference semi-final before getting by the Hamilton Hurricanes 19-16 in the Conference final. That win punched their ticket to the CJFL National Semi-Final and a date with the Hilltops in Saskatoon.
The Hilltops in 2012 finished second in the standings at 6-2 behind an undefeated Calgary Colts team. However in the Prairie Conference playoffs the Colts fell to the Regina Thunder 24-21 and the Hilltops blasted the Edmonton Wildcats 41-11 in the semis. That turn of events allowed the Hilltops to host the Thunder in the Conference final and shut them out 37-0 to win the right to host the Beefeaters.
The CJFL National Semi-Final was played on October 28, 2012 on the frozen tundra of the Geordie Howe Bowl in Saskatoon complete with some light flurries. The Hilltops came out flying scoring 14 points in the first quarter, and then added 28 more in the second frame giving them a healthy 42-0 lead at halftime.
The Beefeaters finally got on the board in the third quarter with their lone touchdown before the Hilltops added eight more points in the fourth quarter and cruised to a 51-7 victory. With the win the Hilltops headed to Langley to face the Rams in their first Canadian Bowl meeting.
A pair of Hilltops’ quarterbacks led the way during the National Semi-Final. Starter Matt Karpinka completed 11 passes for 152 yards and threw two touchdowns while a young back-up named Jared Andreychuk completed four passes, two of them for majors. Eight different receivers caught passes with Kyle McGinnis, Chad Braun, Lane Bannerman and Coleman Young each scoring touchdowns.
On the ground Andreychuk and Tom Shockey also scored a major each. Leading rusher Andre Lalonde rushed eight times for 86 yards and Wayndel Lewis added 12 carries for 87 yards.
For the Beefeaters it was their first game on the national stage and they were hit hard early and couldn’t find an answer. No doubt the cold temperature and the hard hitting Hilltops played a major roll.
Offensively they gathered 202 total yards with most of it through the air. Quarterback Chuck Wall threw for 111 yards and the lone touchdown finding Riley McMurray. Their main offensively threat Josh Woodman was held to a game high six receptions for just 61 yards.
This season things could be drastically different. The Hilltops have never been to London Ontario and will face a hungry Beefeaters team looking to prove they belong in this game.
The winner of this match-up will play for the 112th Canadian Bowl on Saturday November 16th in British Columbia against either the Langley Rams or Westshore Rebels.
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