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Recent Winnipeg Rifles News

Thunder Host Rifles

By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters) 10/22/2022, 6:15pm PDT

A Prairie Conference Semi-Final

Photo courtesy of Wanda Harron Photography

#4 Winnipeg Rifles @ #1 Regina Thunder - Sunday October 23, 1:00pm – Leibel Field | WATCH HERE 

The top team in the Prairie Conference, the Regina Thunder host the Winnipeg Rifles in one of two semi-finals on Sunday afternoon.  The Thunder completed their second straight undefeated regular season and will have homefield advantage right through the Canadian Bowl playoffs.  

During the regular campaign the Thunder won both meetings with the Rifles, but they were very physical and exciting games.   In the first meeting in Regina the Thunder claimed a two-point 24-22 victory kicking two field goals in the final quarter to pull ahead.  Then in the second matchup, this time in Winnipeg the Thunder escaped with a six-point 29-23 win after outscoring the Rifles 20-7 in the second half.  

The Thunder have been very balanced in their offensive attack, while the Rifles lean on quarterback Bryson McNeil.   He did torch the Thunder secondary for 667 yards and five touchdowns in the seasonal series. 

Both teams have a very good defence, the Thunder allowed 16-points a game, while the Rifles give-up 22 a contest. 

These two teams have only met once in the CJFL postseason, and it was last year when the Thunder beat the Rifles 45-26 to advance to the Conference title game.   Surprisingly this year’s playoff game is only the second time these two franchises meet in the playoffs.

Head-to-Head 

Records: Rifles 4-4 – Thunder 8-0
Points For: Rifles 173 – Thunder 286
Points Allowed: Rifles 177 – Thunder 130 

Passing Leaders: Bryson McNeil – 156 of 259 for 2269 yards and 12 touchdowns (Rifles) – Carter Shewchuk – 157 of 250 for 2351 yards and 18 touchdowns (Thunder) 

Rushing Leaders: Brady Meeks – 61 carries for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns (Rifles) – Ryland Leichert – 124 carries for 724 yards and 4 touchdowns (Thunder) 

Receiving Leaders: Jake Roger – 34 receptions for 651 yards and 2 touchdowns (Rifles) – Rylan Sokul – 44 receptions for 669 yards and 4 touchdowns (Thunder) 

Leading Tacklers: Brandon Kamenz – 37 tackles (Rifles) – Branden Janotta – 55 tackles (Thunder) 

Prairie Conference Wrap

By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters) 10/17/2022, 10:00pm PDT

All six teams concluded the regular season

Photo courtesy of Wanda Harron Photography

The playoff teams and matchups are set as the Prairie Conference wrapped up the regular season on Sunday.

Regina Thunder 42
Edmonton Huskies 14

For the second consecutive season the Regina Thunder claim an undefeated regular season after a blowout win over the Edmonton Huskies on Sunday afternoon gathering 436 yards running a balanced offence. 

The Thunder scored 21 points in the first half on route to their eighth win of the season.  Quarterback Carter Shewchuk threw 191 yards and two touchdowns finding Rylan Sokul and Isaac Foord for those scores.   The passing game was complemented by a very strong run game lead by Sadik Sadik and his 101 yards on 10 carries. He also scored a touchdown as did Ryland Leichert and Ife Adebogun. 

Over on the defence side linebacker Stephen Smith was outstanding with four solo tackles, 1.5 sacks, intercepted a pass, forced and recovered a fumble and had a knockdown. Kenten Effa was also very good with five solo tackles. 

The Huskies meanwhile will finish third in the standings following the loss on Sunday and will hit the road for the playoffs.

They scored their 14 points in the even quarters.  Running back Alex Gayle had a game high 130 yards on the ground on 18 carries and scored a touchdown.  The other score was a 32-yard touchdown strike from Jordan Lane to Jordan Howe. 

Next weekend the Thunder (8-0) will host the Winnipeg Rifles (4-4) in a Conference semi-final while the Huskies (5-3) will visit the Saskatoon Hilltops (5-3).

Saskatoon Hilltops 43
Calgary Colts 14

The Hilltops clinched a home playoff date after a blowout win on Sunday afternoon.  They would score 40 points through the first three quarters before the Colts finally got on the board.

The ground game did most of the damage to the tune of 355 yards led by Boston Davidsen.  He rushed for 146 yards on 16 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns.  Carter McLean and Jordan Levesque also got into the endzone.  Quarterback Trey Reider found Drake Douglas for a touchdown as well after completing eight passes for 108 yards. 

Defensively the Hilltops rotated several players and forced five turnovers.  Steve Gilewicz and Isaac Rivalin each picked off a pass and Riece Kack had a sack and a fumble recovery. 

The two touchdowns for the Colts happened in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of reach. Quarterback Nick Kennedy hit Alex Wahl for a score and Joseph Richardson ran in the only other touchdown.

The Hilltops (5-3) will host the Edmonton Huskies (5-3) in a Conference semi-final this weekend while the Colts (2-6) begin preparations for next season. 

Winnipeg Rifles 12
Edmonton Wildcats 8

In a defensive controlled game, the Rifles got their record back to .500 with a four-point win and will hit the road for a Conference semi-final. 

With time ticking down and the Wildcats nearing the endzone Brandon Kamenz came off the right side on third down, untouched and recorded his third sack of the game at the final buzzer.  In all, the Rifles had six sacks as Spencer Pilon added 2.5 to make life miserable for the Wildcats quarterback. 

Offensively their lone touchdown was a two-yard run by back-up quarterback Thomas Hubbard in the second quarter.  Hubbard completed 12 passes for 152 yards in the game. 

The Wildcats lone touchdown was also on a run play when Nathan Zacharias scored in the first quarter on a nine-yard rush giving his club the lead.   Their defence held them in the game recording three sacks and Will Downs intercepted a pass.

The game was the final one for head coach Darcy Park who announced he would not be returning to the Wildcats after over 20 years. 

The Rifles (4-4) visit the Regina Thunder (8-0) in this weekend’s semi-final.  The Wildcats (0-8) will lick their wounds and try to turn things around in 2023.

Week 13 Preview

By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters) 10/15/2022, 9:30am PDT

An exciting weekend ahead as the playoffs open up

Photo courtesy of Wanda Harron Photography

The Prairie Conference wraps up their regular season on Sunday with three games with playoff positioning on the line.

Edmonton Huskies @ Regina Thunder – Sunday October 16, 1:00pm – Leibel Field | WATCH HERE

For the top ranked Regina Thunder this game means nothing in the standings.  They have already wrapped up first place in the Conference and homefield advantage throughout the Canadian Bowl playoffs.   They are coming off the Thanksgiving bye week so their best players will no doubt start the game, however most likely will not finish it as the coaching staff doesn’t want to take any unnecessary chances.

The Huskies meanwhile need a win to clinch a home playoff date.  They currently sit in second place and a loss would mean they would need help from the Calgary Colts to beat the Saskatoon Hilltop to clinch the home playoff game.  A loss and a Hilltops win would put the Huskies on the road for the post season.

It’s the second time this year the Thunder and Huskies have battled. On August 28th the Thunder blew out the Huskies 43-14 in Edmonton as quarterback Carter Shewchuk threw for 367 yards and five touchdowns.  The Thunder defence was great, holding the Huskies to 14 points, all in the second quarter. 

The Thunder remain undefeated while the Huskies have won four straight including an important win over the Winnipeg Rifles before Thanksgiving.

Head-to-Head

Records: Huskies 5-2 – Thunder 7-0
Points For: Huskies 212 – Thunder 244
Points Against: Huskies 169 – Thunder 116

Passing Leaders: Jordan Lane – 74 of 129 for 1273 yards and 7 touchdowns (Huskies) – Carter Shewchuk – 144 of 227 for 2160 yards and 16 touchdowns (Thunder)

Rushing Leaders: Alex Gayle – 132 carries for 793 yards and 9 touchdowns (Huskies) – Ryland Leichert – 118 carries for 710 yards and 3 touchdowns (Thunder)

Receiving Leaders: Jake Strakowicz – 21 receptions for 333 yards (Huskies) – Rylan Sokul – 39 receptions for 582 yards and 3 touchdowns (Thunder)

Leading Tacklers: Paul Loggale – 26 tackles (Huskies) – Matthew Schill – 28 tackles (Thunder)

Calgary Colts @ Saskatoon Hilltops - Sunday October 16, 1:00pm – SMF Field | WATCH HERE

If the Hilltops can get by the Colts on Sunday, they will clinch second place and a home playoff date as both teams wrap up the regular season. 

Three weeks ago, when they met in Calgary the Toppers claimed a 35-17 victory.  Running back Boston Davidsen paced his club with 144 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.  The Hilltops did most of their damage in the first half scoring 25 of their 35 points.

Sunday afternoon they will honour head coach Tom Sargeant and his 25 years of coaching this perennial powerhouse. 

His club has won two straight and are on the verge of hosting yet another playoff game.  If they win, they will host the Edmonton Huskies in the post season, however If they lose, they will be on the road in Edmonton.

The Colts have an opportunity to play spoiler and make sure the Hilltops must travel in the playoffs, but scoring won’t be easy against the stingiest defence in the Conference.  They have lost four straight including the 18-point loss to the Hilltops three weeks ago.  This is their final game of the season.

Head-to-Head

Records: Colts 2-5 – Hilltops 4-3
Points For: Colts 198 – Hilltops 200
Points Against: Colts 214 – Hilltops 115

Passing Leaders: Nick Kennedy – 92 of 152 for 1239 yards and 11 touchdowns (Colts) – Damon Dutton – 71 of 114 for 779 yards and 3 touchdowns (Hilltops)

Rushing Leaders: Alan Xiang – 91 carries for 606 yards and 5 touchdowns (Colts) – Boston Davidsen – 133 carries for 891 yards and 5 touchdowns (Hilltops)

Receiving Leaders: Nicholas Sirleaf – 23 receptions for 357 yards and 1 touchdown (Colts) – Broden Marley – 30 receptions for 304 yards and 1 touchdown (Hilltops)

Leading Tacklers: Damien Bucknor – 31 tackles (Colts) – Matt Wist – 35 tackles (Hilltops)

Edmonton Wildcats @ Winnipeg Rifles – Sunday October 16, 3:00pm – IG Field | WATCH HERE

The Winnipeg Rifles are playoff bound and know they will face the Regina Thunder in a semi-final.  They would love nothing more than to head into the post season on a winning note.  

The Rifles have lost two straight with their last victory coming in Edmonton and a 48-20 victory over the Wildcats on September 18th.  Win or lose they face the Thunder in the playoffs, a team they have played well against.  Coming out of the Thanksgiving bye week it will be interesting to see how head coach Geordie Wilson manages his starters not wanting to take unnecessary risks with his top players. 

The Wildcats conclude the regular season after this game and are hoping to give head coach Darcy Park a win in his final game. He and the team announced he will not be returning in 2023 after coaching with the Wildcats for over 20 years.   It will no doubt be an emotional game for the entire organization. 

Head-to-Head

Records: Wildcats 0-7 – Rifles 3-4
Points For: Wildcats 105 – Rifles 161
Points Against: Wildcats 337 – Rifles 169

Passing Leaders: Caleb Taylor – 61 of 115 for 921 yards and 2 touchdowns (Wildcats) – Bryson McNeil – 154 of 252 for 2204 yards and 12 touchdowns (Rifles)

Rushing Leaders: Jayden Sak – 55 carries for 255 yards (Wildcats) – Brady Meeks – 61 carries for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns (Rifles)

Receiving Leaders: Travis Heggart – 19 receptions for 307 yards and 2 touchdowns (Wildcats) – Jake Roger – 29 receptions for 548 yards and 2 touchdowns (Rifles)

Leading Tacklers: Tanner Shaw – 34 tacklers (Wildcats) – Brandon Kamenz – 35 tackles (Rifles)

Ontario Conference PLAYOFFS

Hamilton Hurricanes @ St. Clair Saints - WATCH HERE

Ottawa Sooners @ London Beefeaters - WATCH HERE

BC Conference PLAYOFFS

Langley Rams @ Okanagan Sun - WATCH HERE

Valley Huskers @ Westshore Rebels - WATCH HERE

  • Week 11 Preview

  • By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters) 09/30/2022, 10:00am PDT
  • With the season winding down, points are so important
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