For the third straight season the Langley Rams are going to play for the CJFL Canadian Bowl after a 17-14 victory over the Saskatoon Hilltops in Saturday’s CJFL National Semi-Final game.
The defences were on display in this contest with the Rams forcing 13 turnovers and the Hilltops seven. Speaking of the Hilltops their goal stand was simply incredible stopping the Rams on five separate occasions and keeping them out of the end zone.
The Rams “D” was led by Bako Wande who picked off two Hilltop passes and recovered a fumble while making one tackle. BC Conference Defensive Player of the Year Kyle Clarot collected a team high six tackles and Colten Dejong and Cole Barron each intercepted a pass. Tyler Eckert was named the Defensive Player of the Game and was a major factor with four tackles, two sacks and recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter to set up the game winning field goal.
Thanks to their defence the Rams were able to score 10 points in fourth quarter. Down 14-7 in the final frame running back Derek Best caught a short pass, then rumbled 29 yards to pay dirt tying the score. The touchdown was especially gratifying after Best was stuffed multiple times in third quarter on the goal line. Then with time winding down kicker Tato Ferreyro Araya knocked in an eight yard field goal that turned out to be the winning points.
Best was named the Offensive Player of the Game after 15 carries and 74 yards, most of that in the second half. Quarterback Michael Calvert completed 19 passes for 229 yards and threw the touchdown to Best. He found six different receivers including Darian Pritchard for a game high seven receptions. BC Conference Rookie of the Year Daniel Kubongo made an impact in the second half making four catches for 39 yards.
The Hilltops on the other hand have their season come to an end and their 22 game playoff winning streak snapped. Quarterback Damon Dutton completed 10 passes for 107 yards and found Dillan Heintz for a second quarter touchdown.
With the score tied at seven and the Hilltops lining up for a field goal in the third quarter, they went into their bag of tricks. Holder and back-up quarterback Doug Fleming faked the field goal attempt and threw a 23 yard touchdown strike to a wide open Presley Peterson to give the Hilltops the lead heading into the fourth.
The Rams will now travel to Ontario to face the London Beefeaters in the 2021 CJFL Canadian Bowl on December 4th. Neither team has ever won a national championship.
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