As the calendar closes the 2022 chapter, a handful of CJFL teams look back and remember one of the moments that defined their season. Happy New Year from our CJFL family.
Okanagan Sun: winning the 2022 Canadian Bowl brought the CJFL tile back to Kelowna for the first time in 22 seasons. The impressive come-from-behind 21-19 victory in Regina turned out to be one of the most exciting Canadian Bowls in CJFL history. It was the first franchise win for the Sun in the Prairies and second straight title for the BC Conference while on the road.
Regina Thunder: the Prairie Conference champion Thunder had several exciting moments of 2022 including hosting the Canadian Bowl and they were the recipient of the first Rick Smoke team award showing outstanding community service. However, the true spirit of the Regina community was on display during their Conference semi-final when they hosted the Winnipeg Rifles. After a massive snowstorm Leibel Field was left unattended so players, coaches, parents, and fans had to grab their shovels and snowblowers to clear the field and get it into game ready condition. It was an incredible undertaking, but the teamwork displayed truly defined their 2022 season.
Ottawa Sooners: CJFL football returned to the nation’s capital in 2022 as the Sooners finished third in the Ontario Conference, qualifying for the Canadian Bowl playoffs. One of their favourite moments came in Week 3 of the season when they travelled to Hamilton to face the Hurricanes for the first time since 2019. Their seven-point road win was highlighted by an 85-yard defensive touchdown after a strip sack. That play showed the toughness of their defence which made them a legitimate contender and put them on track for #4 on the CJFL Power Rankings.
Valley Huskers: in Chilliwack the Valley Huskers were a difficult team to play against in 2022 as they finished the regular season with a 7-3 overall record and qualified for the CJFL Canadian Bowl playoffs. Their running attack was outstanding led by the 1000-yard rusher Reece Wyke behind a big, nasty offensive line. Quarterback Josh Janssen was solid and had a career game at the VI Raiders in September where he threw for 416 yards on 26 completions and threw eight touchdown passes. That said, their most memorable moment of the past season was the fact they were able to sweep their closest rivals the Langley Rams for the first time in franchise history with scores of 14-7 and 23-22.
Saskatoon Hilltops: all season long the Saskatoon Hilltops were electrified by CJFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Charles Sawi. On a team that doesn’t often play their rookies, Sawi was an exception at the receiver spot and returning kicks. As a matter of fact, it was one of his exciting returns that is the team’s moment of 2022. Against their provincial rivals, the Regina Thunder on September 10th at SMF Field, Sawi caught a missed field goal and quickly turned the tide with a highlight reel return, sprinting 125-yards the other direction for a touchdown in the rain.
Langley Rams: coming into the 2022 season the Langley Rams were the defending Canadian Bowl champions and were able to collect their “hardware” as the players were presented with their championship rings. On the field in Week 6 of the season receiver Terrel Jones made an incredible catch against the Valley Huskers on a tip on their last drive of the game. The bench and crowd erupted following their play of the year.
Hamilton Hurricanes: even before the team got on the field for the regular season the Hamilton Hurricanes’ players and coaches got an opportunity to stay overnight at Redeemer University in Ancaster Ontario which created a very strong team bond and gave them an identity coming out of training camp.
Winnipeg Rifles: this past season the Winnipeg Rifles made some huge strides with their play on the field. There was no bigger moment for them in 2022 then on August 28 when they hosted and finally beat the Saskatoon Hilltops 19-16. Quarterback Bryson McNeil completed 26 passes for 295 yards and set up kicker Donovan Downing to boot four fields, including two in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Their defence was outstanding and frustrated the Hilltops offence all afternoon.
Kamloops Broncos: on September 17th the Kamloops Broncos hammered the Prince George Kodiaks 47-17 recording their first home win of the season and showed the hometown faithful a glimpse of a very promising future. They were led by a pair of 17-year-olds on both sides of the ball. Defensive back Keagan Curtis finished with an impressive three interceptions while on the offensive side receiver Colton Meikle set a franchise record with 222 yards on five receptions and scored three touchdowns. Quarterback Reid Vankoughnett had a career game accounting for six touchdowns, three rushing majors and three TD passes. The Broncos were able to carry that momentum into the following week when they beat the Kodiaks again for a two game winning streak.
Photo courtesy of Boris Terzic
It’s Week 11 of the CJFL regular season with all but one team in action. For the Ontario Conference, this is the final weekend of the campaign.
Hamilton Hurricanes @ London Beefeaters – Saturday October 1, 5:00pm – City Wide Field | WATCH HERE
It’s the final game of the regular season for both these teams that are playoff bound. Regardless of the outcome on Saturday the Beefeaters will finish second and the Hurricanes fourth. It’s also the second meeting in three weeks between these two after the Beefeaters snuck away with a 16-15 victory after an untimely Hurricanes fumble and a Beefeaters rouge with four seconds remaining to claim the win.
This game will no doubt be another defensive struggle with two of the best in the Conference. Last meeting the Beefeaters could only generate 13 yards through the air against the Hurricanes secondary.
Records: Hurricanes 3-4 – Beefeaters 5-2
Points For: Hurricanes 149 – Beefeaters 222
Points Allowed: Hurricanes 121 – Beefeaters 127
Passing Leaders: Kieran Dej – 58 of 113 for 900 yards and 10 touchdowns (Hurricanes) – Ethan Chambers – 36 of 97 for 519 yards and 2 touchdowns (Beefeaters)
Rushing Leaders: Kadien Williams – 52 carries for 234 yards and 3 touchdowns (Hurricanes) – Taz Bell – 70 carries for 494 yards and 3 touchdowns (Beefeaters)
Receiving Leaders: Anthony Grigg – 31 receptions for 524 yards and 6 touchdowns (Hurricanes) – Nick Mackenzie – 12 receptions for 221 yards and 1 touchdown (Beefeaters)
Leading Tacklers: Isaiah Joseph – 43 tackles (Hurricanes) – Tyler Thompson – 27 tackles (Beefeaters)
Westshore Rebels @ Valley Huskers – Saturday October 1, 3:00pm – Exhibition Field | WATCH HERE
For the second time this season the Rebels and Huskers will duke it out after the Rebels won the first meeting 38-17 in Week 2.
A win would clinch second place and a home playoff date for the Rebels while the Huskers would need a win by more than 21 points to leapfrog the Rebels into second place. Both teams have punched their ticket the Canadian Bowl playoffs, positioning however is still to be determined.
The Rebels have won three of their last four including a 47-28 victory last weekend. This is their final road game of the regular season. Meanwhile the Huskers are coming off a bye week and have had the extra week to prepare for the Rebels.
Records: Rebels 6-2 – Huskers 5-3
Points For: Rebels 307 – Huskers 208
Points Allowed: Rebels 208 – Huskers 207
Passing Leaders: Te Jessie – 132 of 238 for 2305 yards and 25 touchdowns (Rebels) – Josh Janssen – 125 of 217 for 1713 yards and 18 touchdowns (Huskers)
Rushing Leaders: Gerren Hardisty – 102 carries for 666 yards and 2 touchdowns (Rebels) – Reece Wyke – 154 carries for 824 yards and 5 touchdowns (Huskers)
Receiving Leaders: Kiernan Poissant – 34 receptions for 577 yards and 8 touchdowns (Rebels) – Dylan Manocha – 27 receptions for 433 yards and 4 touchdowns (Huskers)
Leading Tacklers: Doloni Robinson – 29 tackles (Rebels) – Jaiden Claassen – 37 tackles (Huskers)
Prince George Kodiaks @ Langley Rams – Saturday October 1, 4:00pm – McLeod Stadium | WATCH HERE
It’s a rematch of their game on September 10th when the Rams beat the Kodiaks in Prince George 43-16.
This is the Rams final game of the regular season as they are fighting for their playoff lives. They currently sit in the final playoff spot and have the tiebreaker over the Kamloops Broncos who have the same points but a game in hand. A Rams win on Saturday would mean the Broncos would have to win their final two games to leapfrog them.
The Kodiaks have a chance to play spoiler to the defending Canadian Bowl champions. A win would make things for the Rams a bit more stressful. This is their final road game of the season and are looking to make it count. They have lost four straight and are looking to create some momentum as they prepare for 2023.
Records: Kodiaks 1-7 – Rams 4-5
Points For: Kodiaks 112 – Rams 176
Points Allowed: Kodiaks 259 - Rams 184
Passing Leaders: Liam Oczkowski – 86 of 159 for 1105 and 2 touchdowns (Kodiaks) – Trey Jones – 82 of 156 for 1236 yards and 8 touchdowns (Rams)
Rushing Leaders: Liam Oczkowski – 26 carries for 209 yards and 2 touchdowns (Kodiaks) – Caleb Wheeler – 64 carries for 345 yards and 2 touchdowns (Rams)
Receiving Leaders: Andrew Brown – 14 receptions for 328 yards and 1 touchdown (Kodiaks) – Terrel Jones – 22 receptions for 419 yard and 3 touchdowns (Rams)
Leading Tacklers: Marcellus Pope – 30 tackles (Kodiaks) – Cole Barron – 28 tackles (Rams)
Regina Thunder @ Calgary Colts – Sunday October 2, 1:00pm – Shouldice Park | WATCH HERE
The undefeated Thunder travel to Calgary for their only meeting with the Colts this season and it will be their final road game. If the Thunder win, they would clinch first place in the Prairie Conference and homefield advantage throughout the Canadian Bowl playoffs.
The Colts have lost three straight and are at home for the final time this season. They are fighting for their playoff lives and are on the outside looking in, two points back of the final playoff spot.
Records: Thunder 6-0 – Colts 2-4
Points For: Thunder 205 – Colts 184
Points Allowed: Thunder 102 – Colts 175
Passing Leaders: Carter Shewchuk – 130 of 196 for 1949 yards and 13 touchdowns (Thunder) – Nick Kennedy – 92 of 152 for 1239 yards and 11 touchdowns (Colts)
Rushing Leaders: Ryland Leichert – 102 carries for 611 yards and 3 touchdowns (Thunder) – Alan Xiang – 81 carries for 589 yards and 5 touchdowns (Colts)
Receiving Leaders: Isaiah Woodley – 32 receptions for 561 yards and 5 touchdowns (Thunder) – Nicholas Sirleaf – 23 receptions for 357 yards and 1 touchdown (Colts)
Leading Tacklers: Matthew Schill – 24 tackles (Thunder) – Jordan Maucieri – 28 tackles (Colts)
Winnipeg Rifles @ Edmonton Huskies – Sunday October 2, 1:00pm – JP Bowl | WATCH HERE
This is the only time these two teams meet this season and it’s a very intriguing match-up. There is just two points separating them in the standings with the Huskies currently holding down a home playoff date as the second seed, however there is still two games to be played.
Last week the Rifles had their three-game winning streak snapped and are on the road for the final time in the regular season. The Huskers on the other hand have put together a three-game win streak and still have a shot to finish first. If they win this week and the Thunder lose, then next week will be a game with first place on the line when the Huskies visit the Thunder.
This game between the Rifles and Huskies is also a potential playoff preview.
Records: Rifles 3-3 – Huskies 4-2
Points For: Rifles 153 – Huskies 179
Points Allowed: Rifles 136 – Huskies 161
Passing Leaders: Bryson McNeil – 141 for 223 for 2023 yards and 12 touchdowns (Rifles) – Jordan Lane – 51 of 98 for 968 yards and 5 touchdowns (Huskies)
Rushing Leaders: Brady Meeks – 61 carries for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns (Rifles) – Alex Gayle – 114 carries for 710 yards and 8 touchdowns (Huskies)
Receiving Leaders: Jake Roger – 24 receptions for 523 yards and 2 touchdowns (Rifles) – Jake Strakowicz – 14 receptions for 244 yards (Huskies)
Leading Tacklers: Brandon Kamenz – 27 tackles (Rifles) – Paul Loggale – 26 tackles (Huskies)
Saskatoon Hilltops @ Edmonton Wildcats – Sunday October 2, 1:00pm – Emerald Hills | WATCH HERE
It’s the lone meeting of the season between the Toppers and ‘Cats.
The Hilltops snapped their three-game losing skid last week with a convincing win over the Colts in Calgary. This is their final road game as they currently sit tied for third with the Winnipeg Rifles with six points. Oddly enough the Rifles are also in Edmonton on Sunday as they face the Huskies. A Hilltops win, Rifles win and Huskies loss will create a log jam in the Prairie Conference as each team would move to 4-3.
The Wildcats have an opportunity to play spoilers on the Hilltops but they will need to play their best game of the season. They are still winless and are the only team in the Conference to have allowed over 200 points scored this season. They play at home for the final time this year.
Records: Hilltops 3-3 – Wildcats 0-6
Points For: Hilltops 136 – Wildcats 98
Points Allowed: Hilltops 108 – Wildcats 273
Passing Leaders: Damon Dutton – 67 of 107 for 730 yards and 3 touchdowns (Hilltops) – Caleb Taylor – 61 of 115 for 921 yards and 2 touchdowns (Wildcats)
Rushing Leaders: Boston Davidsen – 121 carries for 734 yards and 3 touchdowns (Hilltops) – Jayden Sak – 45 carries for 240 yards (Wildcats)
Receiving Leaders: Boden Marley – 24 receptions for 264 yards and 1 touchdown (Hilltops) – Travis Heggart – 19 receptions for 307 yards and 2 touchdowns (Wildcats)
Leading Tacklers: Matt Wist – 30 tackles (Hilltops) – Tanner Shaw – 32 tackles (Wildcats)
Okanagan Sun @ Kamloops Broncos – Sunday October 2, 12:00pm – Hillside Stadium | WATCH HERE
These BC Interior rivals will battle for the only time this season on Sunday afternoon at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops. Last week the Sun clinched first place and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs and remain the top seeded team in the CJFL. They have two games remaining on their schedule and both are on the road. They visit Kamloops this weekend, then Prince George next weekend.
The Broncos have won two in a row and got themselves back into the playoff picture, but they need to win their last two games and have the Langley Rams lose this weekend in order to stay in the discussion. They will try to do something no other team has been able to do this year and that’s beat the Sun. It’s a tall task as the Sun average the most points scored and fewest points allowed.
Records: Sun 8-0 – Broncos 4-4
Points For: Sun 353 – Broncos 178
Points Allowed: Sun 104 – Broncos 181
Passing Leaders: Dominic Britton – 95 of 165 for 1592 yards and 17 touchdowns (Sun) – Reid Vankoughnett – 101 of 199 for 1660 yards and 10 touchdowns (Broncos)
Rushing Leaders: Jevon Garwood – 82 carries for 742 yards and 8 touchdowns (Sun) – Evan Guizzo – 49 carries for 263 yards and 1 touchdown (Broncos)
Receiving Leaders: Noah Bymak – 24 receptions for 487 yards and 7 touchdowns (Sun) – Colton Meikle – 29 receptions for 642 yards and 5 touchdowns (Broncos)
Leading Tacklers: Peyton Ryder – 33 tackles (Sun) – Maxim Bosc – 27 tackles (Broncos)
GTA Grizzlies @ St. Clair Saints – Sunday October 2, 2:00pm – Acumen Stadium | WATCH HERE
It’s a David vs. Goliath match-up as the Saints and Grizzlies meet for the only time this season. The undefeated Saints hosting the winless Grizzlies.
The Saints have rolled through the regular season and have clinched first place and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs and are hoping to host the National Semi-Final game. They already know they will need to battle the Hamilton Hurricanes in a Conference semi-final so this game against the Grizzlies means nothing in the standings. Many believe the Saints will rest most of their starters or they will see limited playing time.
The Grizzlies are playing for pride and are focusing on the 2023 season. They have scored double-digit points just once this year and are averaging just under seven points a game.
Records: Grizzlies 0-7 – Saints 7-0
Points For: Grizzlies 48 – Saints 323
Points Allowed: Grizzlies 222 - Saints 87
Passing Leaders: Andrew Brush – 45 of 92 for 794 yards and 8 touchdowns (Saints)
Rushing Leaders: Elio Almedia – 50 carries for 155 yards (Grizzlies) – Jonathan Cartier – 49 carries for 403 yards and 4 touchdowns (Saints)
Receiving Leaders: Jared Hayes Williams – 28 receptions for 523 yards and 5 touchdowns (Saints)
Leading Tacklers: Jamal Vassell – 20 tackles (Grizzlies) – Josh Allen – 23 tackles (Saints)
Ottawa Sooners @ Quinte Skyhawks – Sunday October 2, 2:00pm – Loyalist College | WATCH HERE
The Sooners and Skyhawks wrap up the regular season on Sunday with their second meeting of the season. During the Labour Day weekend the Sooners pounded the Skyhawks in their first ever meeting 53-3.
Regardless of the outcome the Sooners will finish third in the Conference and go on the road to face the London Beefeaters in a semi-final. The Skyhawks season will come to an end and preparation will begin to come back stronger in 2023.
Records: Sooners 4-3 – Skyhawks 2-5
Points For: Sooners 194 – Skyhawks 95
Points Allowed: Sooners 146 – Skyhawks 321
Passing Leaders: Owen Cowan – 80 of 150 for 1141 yards and 8 touchdowns (Sooners) – Brody Fairbairn – 63 of 122 for 748 yards and 6 touchdowns (Skyhawks)
Rushing Leaders: Rogean Wilson – 63 carries for 288 yards and 4 touchdowns (Sooners) – Adam Misiewicz – 67 carries for 246 yards and 4 touchdowns (Skyhawks)
Receiving Leaders: Mark Webb – 11 receptions for 276 yards and 2 touchdowns (Sooners) – Nick Szigeti – 11 receptions for 258 yards and 1 touchdown (Skyhawks)
Leading Tacklers: Richard Graham – 21 tackles (Sooners) – Thomas Robinson – 19 tackles (Skyhawks)
Photo courtesy of Joanna Kurowski
A quick rewind of the three games in the Ontario Conference this past weekend.
St. Clair Saints 23
Hamilton Hurricanes 13
It was a defensive battle last weekend as the top two defences in the Conference went toe-to-toe.
The Saints got the victory to remain undefeated, but their passing game was almost non-existent as they relied on the running attack. Jonathan Cartier led the way with 137 yards on 21 carries and scored a touchdown. Kian Voakes and quarterback Andrew Brush also scored majors on the ground as they combined to chew up 239 yards as a team.
Their defence held the Hurricanes at bay until the fourth quarter as they forced an incredible seven turnovers including four interceptions. Nick Brajkovic, Nate Norton, Kenley Williams and Shaye Wynter each picked off a pass. Nikko Hrcan had a pair of sacks and recovered a fumble.
The Hurricanes allowed all 23 points to the Saints in the first half, pitching a second half shutout. They scored all 13 of their points in the final frame. Quarterback Kieran Dej found Anthony Grigg for a pair of fourth quarter touchdown passes.
Linebacker Isaiah Joseph led the solid Hurricanes defence with four tackles, a sack, had four assisted stops and forced and recovered a fumble.
This weekend the Ontario Conference will play their final regular season games as the Saints (7-0) host the GTA Grizzlies (0-7) on Sunday while the Hurricanes (3-4) visit the London Beefeaters (5-2) the day before.
London Beefeaters 31
Ottawa Sooners 6
The defending Ontario champs put together a very balanced attack in what could be a potential playoff match-up outgaining the Sooners 360 yards to 121.
Their ground assault tallied 253 yards between five different ball carriers as Keegan Cardona, LJ Dyer and quarterback Ethan Chambers each scored touchdowns. Kicker AJ Williamson nailed three field goals in addition to those majors.
The defence as unrelenting holding the Sooners run game to just 53 yards and without a touchdown. They combined for seven sacks led by Dylan Clarke who collected 3.5 of them on route to being named the Defensive Player of the Week.
The lone Sooners’ points came from a 47-yard pick six in the second quarter by Christian Fadael. Offensively they were frustrated all game by the Beefeaters suffocating defence.
This Saturday the Beefeaters (5-2) will host the Hamilton Hurricanes (3-4) while the Sooners (4-3) look to snap their two-game losing skid when they visit the Quinte Skyhawks (2-5) on Sunday.
Quinte Skyhawks 37
GTA Grizzlies 7
The Grizzlies jumped out quickly in this game as Cliff-Jerry Karlngoh took the opening kick-off 95 yards for a touchdown to give the hometown crowd something to cheer about. However, it was the only scoring the Grizzlies could muster.
Offensively the Skyhawks used their aerial attack to beat the Grizzlies. Quarterback Brody Fairbairn completed 15 passes for 207 yards and threw touchdowns to Nick Szigeti and Josiah Bowman. Speaking of Bowman, he also threw a touchdown pass, on his only pass attempt, a 60 yarder to Isaiah Lockwood.
This Sunday the Skyhawks (2-5) host the Ottawa Sooners (4-3) in their final game of the season while the Grizzlies (0-7) visit the St. Clair Saints (7-0).