Photo courtesy of AllSportsMedia.ca
It’s CJFL Defensive Backs Week.
Some players will tell you that intercepting a pass has a better and more exhilarating feeling than catching a touchdown pass.
An interception can change the momentum of a game and can deflate the opposition’s offence and can have a lingering effect. The confidence of a quarterback often declines after throwing a pick and the receivers tighten up and rush a route which can lead to more trouble.
The CJFL interceptions all-time records have now lasted several years. James Schafer who played four seasons with the South Fraser Rams (now Langley Rams) has been at the top of the record book with 31 career interceptions, last playing 17 years ago. Two of the defensive backs in the top 5 last played in the 1980s.
The top 5 career leaders for interceptions in the CJFL are as follows:
1 – James Schafer – 31 with the South Fraser Rams of the BCFC (2000-2004)
2 – Karim Maher – 26 with the Victoria Rebels and VI Raiders of the BCFC (2004-2007)
3 – Wayne Pierce – 24 with the Windsor AKO Fratmen of the OFC (1985-1988)
4 – Ian Ployart – 22 with the North Shore Broncos of the QMJFL (1985-1988)
5 – Kit Chansavang – 21 with the Abbotsford Airforce of the BCFC (1993-1996)
Each day this week, a new category will be highlighted.
Photo courtesy of Wanda Harron Photography
The Regina Thunder officially became a member of the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) in 2000 as part of the Prairie Conference. Originally the Regina franchise of the CJFL was known as the Rams until they left for the University ranks following the 1998 season. In 2000 the team was known as the Prairie Thunder before dropping the “Prairie” name in 2005.
The Thunder have been fortunate to play on a CFL field since they began. They started at Taylor Field until 2018 when they moved with the Saskatchewan Roughriders to the new Mosaic Stadium. They have also played a handful of games at Leibel Field in the last couple of years.
Since 2000 the Thunder have had success in the Prairie Conference with an overall record of 76-63 to date. Despite the winning record the Thunder have just one Conference title; which was in 2013.
As a matter of fact that 2013 season was magical for the Thunder. After hiring current head coach Scott MacAulay, the Thunder finished 5-2-1 in the regular season. In the playoffs they defeated the Edmonton Huskies 26-17, before upsetting the top ranked Saskatoon Hilltops 21-16 on the road in the Conference final and won the right to host the Canadian Bowl. In the national championship game they dismantled the VI Raiders 55-26 to win their first and only Canadian title.
Since becoming the Thunder in 2000, the club has had a couple of national award winners including the 2002 Gordon Currie Coach of the Year Randy Shaw and in 2003 Steve Wilson was named the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year. This past year in 2020 defensive lineman Jordan Tholl was named the Past Commissioner’s Award winner after tremendous volunteer work in the Regina area.
The Thunder currently have three players on a CFL roster, all members of the Roughriders; Logan Ferland, Zack Evans and Dan Clark.
Quick Thunder Facts:
Conference – Prairie Conference
Location – 1700 Elphinstone St, Regina, SK
Team President – Murad Al-Katib
Head Coach – Scott MacAulay
Stadium – Mosaic Stadium
Social Handle -@reginathunder, @reginathunderfootballclub
Motto – “Together We Roll”
Primary Colours – Maroon and Navy
The year was 2009, the final year of the decade and it started on a Thursday.
As the world prepared for a new decade the CJFL was three Conferences strong with a total of 19 teams, one of which seemed head and shoulders above everyone else.
The BC Conference was led by the dominating VI Raiders with Andrew Harris in the backfield. The Raiders went a perfect 10-0 in the regular season averaging over an incredible 50 points a game and gave up only 10. They would breeze through the playoffs beating the Okanagan Sun 25-16 and the South Surrey Big Kahaua Rams 49-14 to win the right to host the Canadian Bowl.
In the Prairie Conference that season the Saskatoon Hilltops finished first with a 7-1 record with the Edmonton Wildcats right behind them at 6-2. In the playoffs the Hilltops just got past the Regina Thunder 30-24 and the Wildcats beat the Calgary Colts 35-20. The Cats then went on the road and upset the favoured Hilltops in the Conference final 33-20 to win the right to play in the national semi-final game.
Their opponent in that game would be the Ottawa Sooners after they finished in first place with a 6-2 record in the Ontario Conference. The Sooners had the top defence holding teams to just 13 points a game. They would beat the London Beefeaters 24-10 and the St. Leonard Cougars 14-11 in the playoffs to win the Conference and the right to host the Wildcats in the national semi-final game.
The Wildcats defence was stifling in that contest holding the Sooners to just five first downs and 77 yards of total offense. The Cats went onto win 31-3 to set up a rematch of the 2006 Canadian Bowl with the Raiders in Nanaimo.
The night before the Canadian Bowl, Beefeaters head coach Brad Winder was named the CJFL Gordon Currie Coach of the Year, Harris was named the Outstanding Offensive Player of the Year while Aram Eisho of the Hamilton Hurricanes is named the Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season.
The next day in a classic Nanaimo afternoon in November which included rain throughout the game, the hometown Raiders blasted the Wildcats 51-14 in front of 1900 fans to win their second straight national title and third in four years. At the time the 51 points was the fourth most in Canadian Bowl history. Also at the time Raiders quarterback Jordan Yantz set a new Canadian Bowl record with five touchdown passes.
Off the field in 2009, the United States made history when Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President, becoming the first African-American to hold the office. Meanwhile here in Canada Stephen Harper is Prime Minister.
This was also the year of the H1N1 or Swine Flu global pandemic which was deemed a pandemic in June. By September China becomes the first country to discover a vaccine.
In October, Microsoft released Windows 7 and the International Olympic Committee awarded Rio de Janeiro the right to host the 2016 Summer Games.
In sports, the Montreal Alouettes came back to beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 28-27 on a last second field goal after the Riders were flagged for too many men on the field. Meanwhile in the Super Bowl the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Arizona Cardinals 27-23 in Tampa Bay. Speaking of Pittsburgh, in the NHL the Penguins get by the Detroit Red Wings in seven games to win the Stanley Cup and in baseball the New York Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies to win the World Series in six games.
At the box office the world is taken over by Avatar on December 18th which goes onto to become the highest-grossing movie at the time. However in the 2009 calendar year Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is the top grossing movie raking in over $400M. In music the Black Eyed Peas finish at the top of the Billboard Chart with Boom Boom Pow.
That was the year of 2009.