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Prairie Conference Semi-Final Summary

11/08/2021, 5:00pm PST
By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

The Thunder and Hilltops advance

Photo courtesy of Wanda Harron Photography

The Prairie Conference championship game is set after the home teams were victorious in the semi-finals on Sunday in Saskatchewan.

Saskatoon Hilltops 33
Edmonton Huskies 31

With time winding down and the Huskies in front the Hilltops marched 78 yards with eight passing plays in 51 seconds for the game winning touchdown pass from Damon Dutton to Dillan Heintz.  The five-yard touchdown sends the Hilltops back into the Conference title game.

That touchdown capped off another terrific second half for the Hilltops who mounted a 19-point comeback in the win. The Huskies who scored 24 points in the first half could only muster seven in the second half.

Running back Carter McLean had a massive afternoon with three touchdowns on 23 carries and 85 yards.  Dutton was 21 of 39 for 285 yards and the game winning touchdown pass.  Heintz caught seven passes while Lachlan Horsley added six for a game high 106 yards.

The defence forced five turnovers including a pair of touchdowns by All-Star Brant Morrow.  Wade Keating and All-Star linebacker Konner Johnson each had six tackles.

The Huskies had a near perfect first half, but couldn’t continue the momentum in the second half.   Quarterback Declan O’Flaherty in his final CJFL game threw for 227 yards and hit Adner St. Hilaire for two touchdowns.   Alex Gayle had a solid game with 110 yards on 19 carries.

Their special teams got in on the scoring as well when Ben Wilton returned a kick-off 90 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter following a Hilltops score.

With the win the Hilltops are back in the Prairie Conference final for the 15th straight season and will travel to Regina next week to face the Thunder.

Regina Thunder 45
Winnipeg Rifles 26

The Thunder will host the Conference final for the first time since becoming the Thunder after their lopsided semi-final win on Sunday over the Rifles.

The offence combined for 583 yards and did most of their damage on the ground. Brayden Long carried 14 times for 117 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns.  Lundyn Kups had his best game of the year with a major on 14 carries and 100 yards.   Quarterback Carter Shewchuk had a rushing touchdown as did offensive lineman Max McFadden.

The passing attack was also very effective as Shewchuk threw for 262 yards and found the Offensive Player of the Year Rylan Sokul for a 48-yard score in the fourth quarter.

Speaking of passing the Rifles pivot Bryson McNeil saved his best game for the playoffs finding eight different receivers.  He threw for 384 yards on 22 completions and three touchdowns finding Everrett Findley twice including a 75-yarder and then Jake Roger for another.   McNeil also rushed for a major.

After the Thunder victory they will host the Saskatoon Hilltops on Sunday.  The winner advances to the CJFL National Semi-Final game in BC.

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