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A Look Back at 2022

By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters) 12/31/2022, 11:00am PST

CJFL teams give their favourite moment of 2022

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. 

Colts New Head Coach

By Supplied 12/18/2022, 3:45pm PST

Greg DeLaval will lead the Colts in 2023

The Calgary Colts are pleased to announce the signing of former Vanier Cup winning coach, Greg Delaval.

Greg will take over duties from previous Head Coach, Dennis Holowaychuk, who was in the position since the 2020 season.

"Head Coach transitions are always a bittersweet time for any football organization" says Calgary Colts President, Paul Dimini. "You look back at all of the amazing work Coach Holowaychuk did for this organization, and look forward to the tremendous amount of experience that Coach Delaval brings to the club. As an organization, we must keep looking forward, and l am extremely excited to see the immediate positive impact Coach Delaval will have on our football team".

Coach Delaval brings with him 19 years of ClS coaching highlighted by a National Championship season with the UBC Thunderbirds in 2015 as the teams Offensive/Special Teams Consultant and Receivers Coach. At the ClS level, Coach Delaval has been with many winning programs including the University of Calgary Dinos, St. Francis Xavier X-Men, the University of Toronto Varsity Blues, and the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds. ln 2008, Greg initiated one of the most difficult rebuilds in university sport in Canada. ln his first game as Head Coach of the University of Toronto Varsity Blues Football Program, the team ended the longest losing streak in Canadian lnteruniversity Sport (ClS) history and went on to compete for a playoff position. ln 2014, Greg coordinated the Dino's offense that amassed 52.4 points per game setting a new points per game record in Canada West.

Greg has a tremendous reputation for developing players and has produced many All-Canadians and CFl players including a number of Quarterbacks that were nominated for Major Awards, most notably Andrew Buckely (QB) who won the Hec Crighton Trophy as the Top Player in Canada in 2014 with the Calgary Dinos.

Committed to player development and amateur football, Coach Delaval turned down an opportunity to be the Special Teams Coodinator with the Montreal Allouetttes in 2010.

Brent Allardyce, Chairman of the Board for the Calgary Colts, believes this could shape up to be one of the biggest hires in recent club history. "Greg has a such a great track record with the teams he has coached for, it won't surprise me to see a playoff contending team in 2023. Greg's coaching philosophy is so dialed in and straightforward, l can't wait for the entire organization to benefit from his systems."

First-Team All-Canadians

By Ryan Watters (@ryan2tswatters) 11/10/2022, 10:00am PST

The best players from the 2022 season

The Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) is proud to announce the First-Team All-Canadians for the 2022 season.

Offensive Line
Jayson Kehler – Saskatoon Hilltops
Connor Klassen – Regina Thunder
Isaiah Letander – Valley Huskers
Corey Levesque – St. Clair Saints
Jeff Vander Werff – Okanagan Sun

Receivers
Isaac Foord – Regina Thunder – 40 receptions for 638 yards and 8 touchdowns

Jared Hayes-Williams – St. Clair Saints - 33 receptions for 617 yards and 6 touchdowns

Kieran Poissant – Westshore Rebels – 44 receptions for 811 yards and 10 touchdowns

Rylan Sokul – Regina Thunder – 44 receptions for 669 yards and 4 touchdowns

Running Backs
Taz Bell – London Beefeaters - 86 carries for 554 yards and three touchdowns

Alex Gayle – Edmonton Huskies – 150 carries for 923 yards and 10 touchdowns 

Quarterback
Te Jessie – Westshore Rebels – 169 of 305 for 2864 yards, 28 touchdowns and completed 55% of his passes

Punter
Eric Maximuik – Regina Thunder – 41 punts averaging 34.5 yards and 1 single

Place Kicker
AJ Williamson – London Beefeaters - 19 of 25 in field goals, 76% with his longest being 49 yards, 21 of 22 in coverts

Defensive Line
Dylan Clarke – London Beefeaters - 23 tackles, 9 assists, 6.5 sacks, 1 blocked kick, 5 knockdowns, 2 fumble recoveries with 1 for a touchdown

Riece Kack – Saskatoon Hilltops – 20 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception

Reece McCormick – Regina Thunder- 16 tackles, 4 assisted tackles, 3 sacks

Kelon Thomas – Okanagan Sun – 11.5 sacks, 19 tackles, 1 blocked kick, 1 knockdown, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery

Linebackers
Jaiden Claassen – Valley Huskers – 43 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 knockdown, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception

Konner Johnson – Saskatoon Hilltops – 31 tackles, 2 sacks, 5 knockdowns, 4 interceptions 

Isaiah Joseph – Hamilton Hurricanes - 43 tackles, 11 assists, 1 sack, 2 knockdowns, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception

Defensive Backs
Sean Adams – VI Raiders – 34 tackles, 2 blocked kicks, 3 knockdowns, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions

Damien Bucknor – Calgary Colts – 36 tackles, 1 knockdown, 1 forced fumble, 2 interceptions 

Keagan Curtis – Kamloops Broncos – 9 interceptions, 28 tackles, 2 knockdowns

Justin McKerracher – Regina Thunder – 5 interceptions, 1 returned for a touchdown, 16 tackles, 6 knockdowns, 1 fumble recovery 

Nathanial Norton – St. Clair Saints - 12 tackles, 2 assists, 4 interceptions, 2 knockdowns

Return Specialist
Mike O’Shea – Okanagan Sun – 44 punt returns, 649 yards and 3 touchdowns, 14 kick-off returns for 362 yards

The CJFL Major Award winners will be announced on Friday at the Celebration of Excellence.

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