Saturday, 25 August 2018

Klisowsky fits in as new O-line starter, Hilltops hammer Colts

Ryder Klisowsky, left, is the Hilltops new starting left guard.
    Ryder Klisowsky was ready to be a starter on the Saskatoon Hilltops offensive line, but that still didn’t prevent him from being attacked by pre-game nerves.
    On Saturday, the fourth-year Watrous, Sask., product made his second career start for the Hilltops slotting in at the left guard position on the offensive line. Klisowsky and the Hilltops first offensive unit piled up 354 yards of offence and a 45-0 lead by halftime of a Canadian Junior Football League regular season clash with the Calgary Colts.
    With the offensive starters getting a rest for the second half, the Hilltops cruised to a 59-1 victory before 1,065 spectators at Saskatoon Minor Football Field to improve to 2-0 on the campaign. The Colts fell to 0-2.
    Klisowsky went the distance in the Hilltops 41-7 regular season opening win over the Thunder in Regina on Aug. 18. The 21-year-old has enjoyed the anticipation that comes, when a start closes in.
Ryder Klisowsky, right, forces a Colts pass rusher into a double team.
    “It is a big change,” said Klisowsky, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 318 pounds. “It was kind of nerve-racking the first couple of games, because I’ve never really started.
    “It was an interesting thing to play a whole game and start off. I like it, and it feels good to start finally.”
    When he attended Winston High School in Watrous, Klisowsky played six-man football. He was placed in a pure offensive line position in the six-man game, which he said eased his transition to the 12-man game.
    In the six-man game, some offensive linemen can become pass receivers.
    “It wasn’t that bad of a change,” said Klisowsky. “It was kind of easier coming, so you didn’t have to run patterns or anything.
    “It was just straight up blocking.”
Ryder Klisowsky, left, protects the Hilltops pass pocket.
    In his preparation to become a starter with the Hilltops, Klisowsky said he was able to refine his game due to the help of the club’s long time offensive line coach in Donnie Davidsen.
    “He (Davidsen) has been a good help,” said Klisowsky. “He is a nice coach. He is great on the line.
    “He knows his stuff. He helps us out a lot. It is nice to have him around.”
    Hilltops head coach Tom Sargeant was pleased by the effort put in by the Hilltops starting offensive line on Saturday. The four other starters include Kirk Simonsen at right tackle, Taylon Elderkin at right guard, Patrick Arno at centre and Mason Ochs at left tackle.
    Simonsen, Elderkin and Ochs were all Prairie Football Conference all-stars last season, while Simonsen and Ochs earned nods as CJFL all-Canadian all-stars. 
Ryder Klisowsky (#61) gets set at the line of scrimmage.
    Simonsen took home honours as the PFC’s most outstanding lineman last season as well.
    “Ryder (Klisowsky) is fantastic, and they all played great,” said Sargeant. “We know we are physical.
    “We know we can run and pass for the most part. The tape we are putting out is pretty good tape right now.”
    Klisowsky faced the challenge of fitting in as the only new starter on the Hilltops offensive line replacing Jack Sloboda, who exhausted his CJFL eligibility at the end of last season, coming into the current campaign.
Joshua Ewanchyna (#18) ran for a pair of touchdowns for the Hilltops.
    “I had to kind of mesh with them better, but I think we are doing well as a unit so far,” said Klisowsky. “We need to work on some more things, but I think we’re getting to that point that we are feeling good as a unit.”
    During his time with the Hilltops, Klisowsky has helped the club win CJFL titles in his first three campaigns with the team. He said that has been a highlight along with being around the rest of the players on the squad.
    “It is a blast,” said Klisowsky. “We are all a good group of guys.
    “It is all fun. We all have a good time on and off the field. It is nice to start and be a part of it all.”
    The Hilltops are trying to win an unprecedented fifth straight CJFL title this season, but Klisowsky said no one on the team is dwelling on the “drive for five” concept.
Keegan Dicks secures a catch near the sidelines.
    “It is in the back of everyone’s mind for sure, but we try to focus on our next game,” said Klisowsky. “That is our most important is the next game coming up.”
    The Hilltops stormed out to a 17-0 lead with just 6:12 elapsed in Saturday’s game as running back Joshua Ewanchyna ran in major scores from three and 20 yards out respectively and David Solie booted a 46 yard field goal.
    Saskatoon’s edge expanded to 31-0 by the end of the first quarter thanks to a one-yard plunge by fullback/defensive tackle Garth Knittig and a 12-yard touchdown reception from receiver Tanner Rhode, which was thrown by star quarterback Jordan Walls.
    In the second quarter, Walls hit receiver Keegan Dicks with an eight-yard touchdown toss and ran in a major score from 10 yards out to give the host side a 45-0 lead.
    Hilltops backup quarterback Tyler Hermann started the second half. In the third quarter, he connected with receivers Dillan Heintz and Carter Norrish on respective 31 and 27 yard touchdown passes to give the Hilltops a 59-0 advantage.
Hilltops DT Garth Knittig stops Colts RB Vad Wayne Kiana.
    Shortly before the third quarter expired, Colts kicker Dylan Pye scored a single on a missed 31-yard field goal attempt to round out the 59-1 final score.
    Walls connected on 14-of-19 passes for 231 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Ewanchyna ran the ball 11 times for 98 yards and scored two touchdowns.
    The Hilltops piled up 163 yards rushing and 348 yards passing of gross offence as a team.
    The Colts had 109 yards rushing and 80 yards passing of gross offence.
    Defensive tackle Jesse McNabb had four tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery for the Hilltops. 
    Backup defensive end Connor Delahey had a pair of sacks for the Hilltops, while fellow backup defensive end Jordan Seipp also had a sack.
    Safety Brant Morrow had an interception for Saskatoon.
Hilltops receiver Carter Norrish (#88) zips to the end zone after a catch.
    “We certainly challenged our team that we want to come out and play at a high level of great execution on offence, defence and specials teams, and we did that,” said Sargeant. “At the end of the day, it was fun to watch, fun to coach and fun to play.
    “More importantly, we got to build some capacity and got a lot of players on the field and that is only going to make us practise better and compete better and make this team better in the long run.”
    The Hilltops return to action on Sept. 2, when they travel to Winnipeg to take on the Rifles (1-1).

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