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Prairie Conference Playoff Rewind

10/20/2019, 9:15pm PDT
By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

The Hilltops and Huskies advance in the CJFL playoffs

Photo courtesy of Louis Christ Photography

Edmonton Huskies 20
Regina Thunder 17

The Huskies punched their ticket to the Prairie Conference final for the second straight year with a three point road victory over the Thunder on Sunday.

The defence stood tall for the Huskies, after the offence scored 15 of their 20 points in the first quarter.  They held the Thunder to just 70 yards rushing and focused on slowing down the passing attack.  They forced three turnovers led by Justin Hodinsky who had two interceptions and five solo tackles.  Team leading tackler Tadi Siwira collected another three stops, two assisted tackles and had a knockdown.

On the offensive side quarterback Declan O’Flaherty was outstanding completing 29 passes for 375 yards and a pair of first quarter touchdown passes.  His favourite target was Sam Clayton who hauled in 11 receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown.  Ronnie Oling also had a major on five catches.

The Thunder started rolling in the second half, scoring 13 of their 17 points but still came up a bit short.  Quarterback Blake Scherle had a big game completing 21 passes for 294 yards and had an 18 yard rushing touchdown.  But it was his two interceptions that hurt the Thunder.  Running back Maxwell Foerster had the other touchdown for the home side.

The defence did hold the Huskies to just 89 yards on the ground, but it was the passing game they struggled to stop.  Brandyn Martin was the best defender on the field with a game high nine solo tackles while Davin Williamson had four and a knockdown.

The Huskies move onto the Prairie Conference title game in Saskatoon on Sunday in a rematch of last year’s championship game.  The winner will head to Ontario for the CJFL National Semi-Final.

Saskatoon Hilltops 31
Edmonton Wildcats 7

The Hilltops jumped out to a 14 point lead in the first quarter and never looked back.  As they do so often the ground game controlled the play led by Ben Abrook and his 29 carries for 153 yards and he scored two touchdowns.  In all the Hilltops chewed up 229 yards on the ground.

Quarterback Tyler Hermann seemed content to hand the ball off.  However when they needed a pass he was there and more often than not made a positive play by completing 10 passes for 125 yards and threw two touchdowns in his playoff debut as a starter.   Both touchdown passes were caught by Rylan Kleiter, which were the only balls he caught on the afternoon.

Defensively the Hilltops forced five turnovers and Jared Giddings had two of them, including intercepting a pass and forcing and recovering a fumble.  Evan Mantyka had eight tackles and Jesse McNabb had six and shared a sack.

The Wildcats tried to tie up the Hilltops defensively by starting Devin Desormeau at quarterback rather than Dante Tabacu.  Desormeau had a decent game completing 24 passes for 200 yards and found Tanner Holt for a second quarter touchdown.

On the defensive side Rony Bakehe had four tackles and the lone sack while Tony Savchuk intercepted a pass.

The Hilltops will now host the Edmonton Huskies for the second straight season in the Prairie Conference final on Sunday at 1:00pm at SMF Field.

Playoffs: Huskies v. Thunder

10/20/2019, 5:00am PDT
By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

It's a Prairie Conference semi-final

Photo courtesy of Wanda Harron Photography

Edmonton Huskies @ Regina Thunder – Sunday October 20, 1:00pm – Leibel Field | WATCH HERE

A pair of 6-2 teams will battle on Sunday afternoon for the right to play for the Prairie Conference title when the Thunder battle the Huskies for the third consecutive season in the semis.

Since 2000 and the birth of the Regina Thunder, these two teams have met four times in the playoffs with each team winning twice.  All four games have been determined by nine points or less.  The last two seasons the final score has been just a three point differential.   This season has every indication it will be another tight contest.

These two teams are very evenly matched.  Thunder quarterback Blake Scherle completes 58% of this passes while Huskies pivot Declan O’Flaherty has completed 59% of his passes.  They have combined to throw 29 touchdowns.

Looking at the run game the Huskies have the advantage with Brandt Burzuk in the backfield.  He’s rushed 129 times this year for 824 yards and six touchdowns.  Through the air however the Thunder arguably has a slight advantage with Scherle at the helm completing 144 passes, second most in the Conference this season.  He also has two key receivers to throw to in Ethan Douglas and Isaac Foord who have combined for 66 receptions, 1236 yards and nine touchdowns.

This game could be won on the defensive side and creating mistakes.  The Thunder have 36 takeaways and the Huskies with 35.  The special teams will no doubt be a major factor as well.

In their lone meeting this season the Thunder clung to a 24-21 victory.  The Thunder needed to score 15 points in the fourth quarter to come back and win.

According to The Weather Network Sunday in Regina will be glorious with sunshine and a high of 10.

Head to Head

Records – Huskies 6-2 – Thunder 6-2
Points For – Huskies 270 – Thunder 251
Points Allowed – Huskies 121 – Thunder 164

Passing Leaders – Declan O’Flaherty – 111 of 186 (59%), 1453 yards, 12 touchdowns (Huskies) – Blake Scherle – 144 of 247 (58%), 2196 yards, 17 touchdowns (Thunder)

Rushing Leaders – Brandt Burzuk – 129 carries for 824 yards, 6 touchdowns (Huskies) – Brayden Long – 82 carries for 456 yards, 2 touchdowns (Thunder)

Receiving Leaders – Ronnie Oling – 30 receptions for 480 yards, 5 touchdowns (Huskies) – Ethan Douglas – 34 receptions for 631 yards, 7 touchdowns (Thunder)

Leading Tacklers – Tadi Siwira – 33 tackles (Huskies) – Davin Williamson – 26 tackles (Thunder)

Turnovers – Huskies +13 – Thunder +5

CJFL Top 10 Power Rankings

10/17/2019, 11:00am PDT
By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

The ten best teams across the CJFL

Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography

The Top 10 Power Rankings are out as the regular season comes to a close.  The BC Conference will play their final games, while the Prairie and Ontario Conferences open the 2019 post season.

Last weekend the BC teams had a bye weekend, there was only one game in Ontario and just two in the Prairies, so nothing has changed in the Power Rankings

Ranking Teams Last Week
1 Saskatoon Hilltops (8-0) 1
2 Langley Rams (9-0) 2
3 Windsor AKO Fratmen (7-1) 3
4 Regina Thunder (6-2) 4
5 Edmonton Huskies (6-2) 5
6 Westshore Rebels (7-2) 6
7 London Beefeaters (6-2) 7
8 Hamilton Hurricanes (6-2) 8
9 Okanagan Sun (5-5) 9
10 VI Raiders (4-5) 10