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Saskatoon Hilltops

Playoffs 2016

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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: Wildcats v. Hilltops

10/19/2019, 11:15pm PDT
By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters)

Prairie Conference Semi-Final

Photo courtesy of Louis Christ Photography

Edmonton Wildcats @ Saskatoon Hilltops – Sunday October 20, 1:00pm – SMF Field | WATCH HERE | Hilltops radio broadcast HERE

The five time defending Canadian Bowl champion Saskatoon Hilltops begin their playoff quest on Sunday afternoon when they host the Edmonton Wildcats.

The last time these two teams met in the post season was in 2013 with the Hilltops pounding the Wildcats 41-10 in the semi-final.  Oddly enough the other semi that year was between the Edmonton Huskies and Regina Thunder, the exact same match-up as this season.

Since 1982 these two teams have met 17 times in the CJFL post season; however this is the first time since 2013.  The Hilltops have won 16 of these playoff match-ups, with the only Wildcats victory coming in the 2009 Prairie Conference final.

Last week the Wildcats visited the Hilltops and left town losing 48-8.  In their first meeting of the season the Hilltops beat the Wildcats 40-10, outscoring them in their seasonal series 88-18.

On paper this is a complete mismatch.   The Hilltops offence scored 201 more points than the Wildcats offence and allowed 106 fewer points.  The Hilltops finished undefeated while the Wildcats won just twice this season.   That said, anything can happen in the CJFL playoffs.

Both teams have some very good receivers; however will the quarterbacks have time to throw?  Hilltops’ pivot Tyler Hermann in his fifth and final season became the starter after the graduation of Jordan Walls and hasn’t disappointed or missed a beat.   He’s completed 64% of this passes for 1908 yards and 17 touchdowns.  Meanwhile the Wildcats quarterback Dante Tabacu has completed 51% of this passes for 888 yards and thrown four touchdowns.

The Wildcats will need to capitalize on any mistakes made by the Hilltops and take advantage.  The issue is the Hilltops don’t make many mistakes giving the ball away a Conference low 19 times on turnovers.  The Wildcats meanwhile also take care of the ball allowing 20 giveaways this past season.

Head to Head

Records – Wildcats 2-6 – Hilltops 8-0
Points For – Wildcats 107 – Hilltops 308
Points Allowed – Wildcats 231 – Hilltops 125

Passing Leaders - Dante Tabacu – 65 of 128 (51%), 888 yards, 4 touchdowns (Wildcats) – Tyler Hermann – 123 of 192 (64%*), 1908 yards, 17 touchdowns (Hilltops)

Rushing Leaders – Ramone English – 58 carries for 358 yards, 1 touchdown (Wildcats) – Ben Abrook – 199 carries* for 1215 yards*, 8 touchdowns* (Hilltops)

Receiving Leaders – Lucas Howe – 25 receptions for 418 yards, 3 touchdowns (Wildcats) – Connor Graham 28 receptions for 599 yards, 6 touchdowns (Hilltops)

Leading Tacklers – Chopper Hippe – 46 tackles* (Wildcats) – Riley Keating – 34 tackles (Hilltops)

Turnovers – Wildcats +11 – Hilltops +14

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