Thursday, 25 October 2018

Hilltops ready to rock and roll with Huskies in PFC final

Hilltops LB Cody Peters was a unanimous PFC all-star selection.
    Cody Peters can’t hide the fact that this is the time of year he and his Saskatoon Hilltops live for.
    In what will be conference champion final Sunday for the Canadian Junior Football League, the Hilltops host the Edmonton Huskies in the Prairie Football Conference final at 1 p.m. at Saskatoon Minor Football Field. The Hilltops enter the PFC final sporting a 9-0 overall record and riding a 17 game winning streak including action in the regular season and playoffs.
    The Huskies are 7-2 overall and have won their last three straight including action in the regular season and playoffs.
    This will be a heavyweight tilt and the winner will host the CJFL’s national championship game – the Canadian Bowl – on November 17.
    The Hilltops have won the last four straight CJFL titles and have claimed the Canadian Bowl in seven out of the last eight years.
    Peters is pumped to get things going against the Huskies on Sunday.
    “We’re beyond excited,” said Peters. “I cannot wait for this.
    “I’m just looking forward to flying around and seeing what they want to bring to the table this time.”
    The two sides met once in the regular season with the Hilltops posting a 36-16 victory at SMF Field. That win allowed the Hilltops to clinch first in the PFC.
    The Hilltops defence was flying around in that encounter forcing the Huskies to turn the ball over 10 times on three interceptions, two fumbles and five times on downs.
    During the eight-game regular season, the Hilltops gave up the fewest points against in the PFC at 70. On Thursday, they had five players named as PFC all-stars on defence.
    Peters and defensive tackles Garth Knittig and Jesse McNabb were named unanimous selections. Defensive backs Jared Giddings and Colton Holmes were also named PFC all-stars.
    Receiver Adam Ewanchyna was named a PFC all-star as a return specialist.
    Huskies linebacker Oshane Samuels and defensive back Justin Hodinsky were selected as PFC all-stars on defence. Edmonton’s Cole Sabourin was named the PFC’s all-star punter.
    “I guess we had the most all-stars, so that is great,” said Hilltops head coach Tom Sargeant. “I think that is just a credit to the scheme we have.
    “It has stood the test of time. Whatever players we put in seem to make plays. The top defence is the one that allows the least points, and that is what we did.”
Hilltops DT Garth Knittig (#59) was a unanimous PFC all-star selection.
    Sargeant gave a lot of credit to Hilltops defensive coordinator Jeff Yausie, defensive backs coach Brent Turkington and defensive line coach Dave Fisher for the success the Hilltops have had on that side of the ball resulting in the defensive all-star selections.
    Peters was humbled to be an all-star selection and was quick to add everyone on Saskatoon’s defensive unit has come up with big plays this season.
    “I’m grateful that I was named that, and that people have recognized what I have been doing on the field,” said Peters, who had 26 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception during the regular season. “I just want to keep pushing forward and keep getting better.
    “I feel right now we are solid, and we are all working together. We are all just waiting for our moment to make a play on the field, so when it comes up, we are just ready to go. Everyone on our defence, I feel like they all should be recognized, because they all deserve like an award like that.”
    Offensively, both the Hilltops and Huskies are loaded with playmakers, who will test each sides’ respective defences.
    Saskatoon’s fifth-year star quarterback Jordan Walls had an outstanding campaign completing 122-of-197 passes for 2,010 yards, 18 touchdowns and four interceptions in the regular season. He topped the PFC in passing yardage.
    Hilltops star running back Josh Ewanchyna appeared in seven regular season games carrying the ball 134 times for 1,007 yards and 14 touchdowns. He led the PFC in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns and was named the PFC’s offensive player of the week on four occasions.
    Saskatoon’s fifth-year star receiver Jason Price was by far the PFC’s most productive pass catcher. During the regular season, Price hauled in 31 passes for 709 yards and scored four touchdowns. He collected the most receiving yards in the PFC.
    Huskies starting quarterback Tommy Yanchuk completed 108-of-192 passes for 1,523 yards, nine touchdowns and nine interception during the regular season.
    Edmonton running back Brandt Burzuk finished second in the PFC’s regular season rushing yardage race carrying the ball 102 times for 722 yards and eight touchdowns.
    Receiver Sam Clayton was the Huskies top pass catcher hauling in 26 passes for 406 yards and four touchdowns during the regular season.
    Sargeant is expecting his side to give an effort that lives up to the Hilltops storied past.
Hilltops DT Jesse McNabb was a unanimous PFC all-star selection.
    “This is the game we wanted to be in,” said Sargeant. “We signed up for it.
    “This program traditionally signs up for that game, so I’m expecting to see them come out and play their best game of the year. Edmonton, they are a formidable opponent, they are well coached, and they have some good players on their end. Coming into our home, we worked hard to finish first, so now we need to take advantage of it.
    “Home field should mean a lot, and it is up to us to take advantage of that.”
    Sunday’s British Columbia Football Conference final sees the Langley Rams (8-3 overall) travel to Kelowna to face the Okanagan Sun (8-2-1 overall), and the Ontario Football Conference final features the Windsor AKO Fratmen (7-2 overall) traveling to Hamilton to take on the Hurricanes (9-0 overall).
    The OFC champion will travel to face the BCFC champion in a CJFL semifinal game slated for Nov. 3.

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