The Saskatoon Hilltops have won their 23rd national championship in 2023 defeating the Westshore Rebels 17-10 in a rain drenched game.
Due to the weather, it made the offences one dimensional as the passing games were slowed.
There wasn’t much scoring in the first half as both teams were trying to figure the other one out plus deal with the driving rain. The Hilltops finally opened the scoring in the second quarter when quarterback Trey Reider connected on a 35-yard touchdown strike to Noah Flaman. That would be the only scoring of the first half.
As the teams came out for the second half, the rain had eased off and on the opening kick-off Cairo Berry sprinted through a big hole and returned it 81-yards for a touchdown to light a fire under his team and the tremendous crowd that were in the stands.
Two possessions later the Rebels defence again held the Hilltops offence and forced them to punt. On the return, Berry was hit hard and fumbled and the Hilltops recovered. They worked the ball down to the four-yard line and on a third down play Boston Davidsen punch it in to give the Hilltops the lead once again.
In the fourth quarter the teams didn’t generate much, again with the rain coming down even harder and their defences settled in. The Hilltops extended their lead with a 40-yard field goal from Teijon Abel-Douglas before the Rebels answered with a 30-yard field goal of their own from Gio Linuzzi.
Defensively the Hilltops created seven turnovers and frustrated the CJFL Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Te Jessie. He threw a pair of interceptions and didn’t get his offence into the endzone. He completed 23 passes for 221 yards, most of those in the second half desperately trying to get his team down the field.
Linebacker Matt Wist had a marvelous game intercepting three passes, making nine solo tackles, recovered a fumble, and had four assisted stops. He was named the Defensive Player of the Game. Wade Keating was also good with eight tackles and Noah Gedir had five.
On the offensive side Davidsen became the focal point in the rain. He rushed 25 times for 157 yards and had the touchdown and was named the Offensive Player of the Game. Reider finished with 12 completions for 172 yards and the touchdown pass to Flaman.
The CJFL would like to congratulate Tom Sargeant, his coaching staff, and everyone involved in the Hilltops organization on their 23rd national championship. The CJFL would also like to thank the Rebels for hosting the Canadian Bowl festivities this weekend and on a great season.
See you in 2024!