The Saskatoon Huskies continued their quest for a record fifth straight Canadian Bowl championship with a physically hard-fought 28-9 win over the Edmonton Huskies in Sunday’s Prairie Football Conference final at SMF Field.
The defenses stiffened early holding both offenses in check as the game’s first points came after Connor Delehey’s third blocked punt of the season gave Saskatoon the ball on the Edmonton 24 yard line. Hilltops kicker David Solie’s 31-yard field goal opened the scoring about 6-minutes into the first quarter.
The Toppers extended the lead to 10-0 with just over two minutes to go in the opening quarter when Josh Ewanchyna scored his first of three touchdowns on a three-yard plunge. A pivotal play came as time expired in the first quarter when Ewanchyna burst through the middle of the Huskies defense and sprinted for a 19-yard major that gave the Hilltops an 18-0 lead.
The Hilltops defense hunkered down in the second quarter limiting the Huskies to a field goal and single from a missed field goal after Edmonton defenders picked off a pair of passes from Saskatoon quarterback Jordan Walls. Edmonton also picked up a pair of points on a safety early in the second quarter and the team’s when into the locker rooms at halftime with the Hilltops leading 18-6.
After a 19-yard field goal by Edmonton’s Cole Sabourin early in the third quarter cut Saskatoon’s lead to 9-points, Ewanchyna took matters into his own hands again with a 34-yard touchdown run with about a minute-and-a-half left in the quarter to extended the lead to 25-9. Solie put the finishing touch on the scoring with a 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Ewanchyna who was named the PFC’s most outstanding running back earlier in the week, made a good argument for his fifth offensive player of the week award in six weeks by gaining 163-yards on 24 carries and caught two passes for another 33-yards.
Linebacker Adam Benkic led the defense with eight tackles and a fumble recovery, while defensive lineman Garth Knittig had seven. Knittig was named the conference’s most outstanding defensive linemen heading into the game.
The Huskies who were without their starting quarterback Tommy Yanchuk due to an injury, lost Sunday’s starter Brendan Guy in the fourth quarter when he had to be carted off the field after being tackled on a running play. Huskies receiver Tanner Buchanan also suffered a serious injury late in the game and needed to be carted off.
Hilltops head coach Tom Sergeant expressed pride in the players and coaches who have taken this team into unprecedented territory. He spoke of the enormity of being on the brink of a fifth straight Canadian championship during the post-game show on 92.9 THE BULL. Sergeant said winning a fifth straight PFC championship is an incredible feat, one that is unmatched not only in football but across the sports spectrum.
Hilltops await the winner of next weekend’s CJFL semi-final between the B-C champion Langley Rams and Ontario champion Hamilton Hurricanes in the Canadian Bowl set for November 17th at SMF field. Hamilton beat last year’s Canadian Bowl runner-up the Windsor A-K-O Fratmen 28-23 and are unbeaten in ten games this season. The Rams upset the Okanagan Sun 39-7 in the B-C final.
Sergeant said he wasn’t sure how the coaching staff would approach a three-week break, but added, they’ll figure it out.