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By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters), 11/11/23, 7:00AM PST


The 115th Canadian Bowl kicks off today

Saskatoon Hilltops @ Westshore Rebels – Saturday November 11, 3:00pm PST – Starlight Stadium | WATCH HERE

For the third time in Canadian Bowl history the Hilltops and Rebels meet in the CJFL national final and first time since 2016.

The BC Conference champion Rebels host the Canadian Bowl like they did in 2016 after finishing with the franchise’s first undefeated 10-0 regular season.  They breezed through the BC Conference playoffs beating the Langley Rams and defending national champion Okanagan Sun, interestingly enough the Rams and the Sun are the last two Canadian Bowl champs.  

Their offence has been the best across the country averaging over 58-points a game with two of their players setting a new CJFL records.  Two-time CJFL Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year quarterback Te Jessie set a new single season record with 41 touchdown passes, while receiver Cairo Berry hauled in a record setting 18 touchdown receptions. 

While their offence gathered the headlines, their defence was the stingiest allowing 11-points a game and with a tremendous pass rush, incredible linebackers and ballhawks in the secondary.  Linebacker Demar Hohnstein leads the way with a CJFL high 56 solo tackles, along with 4.5 quarterback sacks, three knockdowns and two interceptions.  Nehemiah Forde-Bowen, Cody McMahon and Gio Linuzzi also played major factors during the Rebels season and will need to step up even more in the Canadian Bowl.

The Prairie Conference champion Saskatoon Hilltops are back in the Canadian Bowl for the first time since 2019 and come with the most experienced coaching staff in the CJFL.  Regardless of their roster, Tom Sargeant and his staff continue to get the most out of their players and in 2023 that is no different.  

Their running attack behind a big, strong and athletic offensive line was the best in the Prairies that featured First Team All-Canadian Cody Shumanski.  They were able to blow open holes for All-Canadian running back Boston Davidsen to gain 1184 yards and to give quarterback Trey Reider time to throw for a Conference high 16 touchdowns and complete 64.7% of his passes. 

Overall, the offence averaged the most points in the Conference with 41.8 a game. led by Davidsen and All-Canadian receiver Drake Douglas who had 42 receptions for 591 yards and four touchdowns.  Receiver Noah Flaman also had a solid season with a team high six touchdowns on 21 receptions and 422 yards. 

Where their offence was solid, their defence has been simply unbeatable.  They allowed just over six points a game, getting pressure on the opposition quarterback seemingly on almost every play.  Their defence is fast and can swarm to the ball in a blink of an eye and are led by All-Canadians Riece Kack, Matt Wist and Johnathon Stevens.  Kack in particular had a standout season leading the Conference with 7.5 sacks and was the emotional leader.   As a team, they led the Conference with 41 takeaways which included 20 interceptions led by Dalton Urban’s five. 

This defence will be tested on Saturday because the Rebels love to stretch the field and possess a very potent passing attack led by Jessie and his record setting 41 touchdown passes.  

This has all the makings of a classic Canadian Bowl and will no doubt be very entertaining. 

Head-to-Head (regular season stats)

Records: Hilltops 8-0 – Rebels 10-0
Average Points For: Hilltops 41.8 – Rebels 58.3
Average Points Allowed: Hilltops 6.3 – Rebels 11.2

Passing Leaders: Trey Reider – 108 of 167 for 1571 yards, 16 touchdowns, 64.7% completions (Hilltops) – 150 of 212 for 2453 yards, 41 touchdowns, 70.8% completions (Rebels) 

Rushing Leaders: Boston Davidsen – 170 carries for 1184 yards and 9 touchdowns (Hilltops) – Gerren Hardisty – 108 carries for 1084 yards and 13 touchdowns (Rebels) 

Receiving Leaders: Drake Douglas – 42 receptions for 591 yards and 4 touchdowns (Hilltops) – Kieran Poissant – 54 receptions for 849 yards and 13 touchdowns (Rebels) 

Leading Tacklers: Matt Wist – 22 tackles (Hilltops) – Demar Hohnstein – 56 tackles (Rebels)