Category Archives: Top Stories

Picton Rams To Top Of U-Sports Football

University of Regina Rams quarterback Noah Picton has become the first player in school history to earn the Hec Crighton Trophy, awarded annually to the top player in Canadian university football.

In addition, both Noah Picton and slotback Mitchell Picton were named first-team All-Canadians.

Simply put, Noah Picton had one of the best statistical seasons in U Sports history. He set a national record with 3186 passing yards. His 224 completions set a Canada West record and are the second most by any quarterback in a single season. He led the conference with a 69.3% completion rate. And if that isn’t enough, he threw four touchdown passes in five of the team’s eight Canada West games and also led the nation with 25 on the season.

Picton was also 25-for-35 for 364 yards and one touchdown in the team’s postseason game against UBC. And he was a three-time recipient of U Sports Offensive Player of the Week honours this year, earning the award following the team’s Week 1, Week 2, and Week 8 games.

“It’s just a fantastic honour for Noah,” Rams head coach Steve Bryce. “Given his leadership qualities, the time he devotes to watching tape, his academic performance, and of course his on-field accomplishments, he’s tremendously deserving of being called the best player in the country. He is a cornerstone of this program and played a huge role this year in turning this team around.”

For the Rams, this was the fourth time they’ve had a player nominated for the Hec. Jason Clermont won the Frank Gnup Memorial Trophy as the Canada West Player of the Year in 2001, while Teale Orban won it back-to-back in 2006 and 2007.

Noah Picton still has two years of U Sports eligibility remaining. In his first three seasons, he has completed 513 of 767 pass attempts and has accumulated 7349 passing yards and 46 touchdown passes. His completion rate of 66.9% is the highest in U of R history, while he ranks second in the school record book in completions, passing yards, and touchdown passes.

Mitchell Picton joined his cousin Noah as a first-team All-Canadian after setting a school record with 58 receptions, tying Jason Clermont’s U of R record with 11 touchdown catches, and leading Canada West with 834 receiving yards. Considered a prospect for the 2017 CFL Draft, the fourth-year slotback joins elite company – Clermont, Chris Bauman, Chris Getzlaf, and Addison Richards are the only other Rams receivers to be named first-team All-Canadians.

2016 U Sports Football Awards
Hec Crighton Trophy (Player of the Year) – QB Noah Picton, Regina. Also nominated – QB Samuel Caron (Montreal), QB Tivon Cook (St. Francis Xavier), QB Derek Wendel (Ottawa).

President’s Trophy (Defensive Player of the Year) – LB D.J. Lalama, Manitoba. Also nominated – DL Jonathan Boisonneault-Glaou (Montreal), LB Nakas Onyeka (Wilfrid Laurier), LB DeAndre Smith (Saint Mary’s).

J.P. Metras Trophy (Lineman of the Year) – OL Mathieu Betts, Laval. Also nominated – OL Geoff Gray (Manitoba), OL Sean Jamieson (Western), OL Vernon Sainvil (St. Francis Xavier).

Peter Gorman Trophy (Rookie of the Year) – QB Jakob Loucks, Mount Allison. Also nominated – DB Adam Auclair (Laval), DL Nicholas Dheilly (Regina), K Adam Preocanin (McMaster).

Frank Tindall Trophy (Coach of the Year) – Michael Faulds, Wilfrid Laurier. Also nominated – Steve Bryce (Regina), Danny Maciocia (Montreal), Gary Waterman (St. Francis Xavier).

Russ Jackson Award (Academics and Community Service) – DB Cam Teschuk, Manitoba. Also nominated – LB Shayne Cowan-Cholette (Bishop’s), DL Mark Mackie (McMaster), DB Will Wojcik (Acadia).

2016 U Sports First-Team All-Canadians – Offence
QB Noah Picton, Regina
RB Tyler Chow, Saskatchewan

Top 10 Tuesday – Getting Back At It

To say the last little while has been a bit auspicious would be an understatement. However, time to get back on the saddle so to speak with my random thoughts from the world of sports.

So in no particular order here is today’s Top 10 Tuesday:

10 – Well it may be a week late but definitely never too late to recognize excellence. Congratulations to the Saskatoon Hilltops on the winning of their third consecutive Canadian Bowl. Unbelievably one critic pointed out to me that the only reason the Hilltops win is that they are able to keep their older players on their roster. My response, I think that speaks to the program not the athletes and perhaps if other teams could get the same dedication and commitment they would could emulate the success.

9 – Question, if a Grey Cup is held in Toronto and no one knows does it really happen? It will be curious to see the number of butts in the seats for Sunday’s Grey Cup game in the big smoke. Right now the forecast for Saturday is calling for a Mix of Sun and Cloud and high of +6.

8 – Organizers of the Grey Cup have to be ecstatic that Ottawa will provide the opposition for Calgary on the weekend. I don’t think that it has to do with the East vs. West tradition argument that now can be avoided (With Edmonton eliminated in the Eastern Final). Instead, I think that organizers can thank their lucky stars that Ottawa fans who may be more apt to travel than those of the Eskimos will make the trip to scoop up some tickets.

7 – What is the CFL doing Part 1: Did you catch who will be performing the national anthem on Sunday? The CFL is bringing out The Tenors to sing O Canada. If the group sounds familiar they are the Canadian crew that performed at the MLB All-Star game while holding up cards and changing the words to the anthem. What could possibly go wrong?

Dinos Vanier Cup Bound

It was the home finale Calgary fifth-year quarterback Jimmy Underdahl had hoped for, but wasn’t sure he’d get.

Sparked by the return of Underdahl to the lineup, the University of Calgary Dinos earned a trip to the Vanier Cup Saturday with a 50-24 win over the St. Francis Xavier X-Men in the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Mitchell Bowl at McMahon Stadium.

Underdahl made his return to the lineup count, sparking Calgary to 32 second half points in his first action since suffering an injury Oct. 14.

The veteran pivot entered the game to start the second half for the Dinos and helped the Hardy Cup champions race away from the Atlantic University Sport champion X-Men, who had given Calgary all they could handle in the first half.

With the score 18-14 after 30 minutes, Underdahl took over for starter Adam Sinagra, who just a week earlier was named Hardy Cup offensive MVP after guiding Calgary to the program’s 16th conference title.

Underdahl needed less than four minutes of action to stretch the Dinos lead to 32-14, en route to being named Mitchell Bowl MVP after going 11-for-16 for 217 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

“We just felt that Jimmy needed to play in the game at some point. We talked about putting him in about halfway through the second quarter. We decided to let Adam finish off the quarter and then at halftime we had another discussion just around if it was the right time or not,” explained Dinos head coach Wayne Harris of the QB switch.

“It wasn’t anything (Adam) had done wrong, we just wanted to have that opportunity to see just what Jimmy would be able to do in a game situation. We were confident that he’d be able to come in and execute, but until you get him in there with the bullets flying, you’re just not quite sure how he’ll handle all of that pressure with the injury he’s coming off of.”

Toppers Complete Three-Peat

The Saskatoon Hilltops have won their 19th National Junior Football championship with a 37 to 25 score over the Westshore Rebels on Saturday November 12th on a windy rainy day at Westhills Stadium in Lanford BC a suburb of Victoria on Vancouver Island.

Since the turn of the century this team has won the Canadian Bowl in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Do the math as that is 10 in 17 years with three 3-peats. Will any other team ever equal this feat and will they even better this phenomenal achievement?

Congratulations to all the players, coaches, supporting staff and directors for an outstanding season in 2016.

Dinos Clip T-Birds – Win Hardy Cup

The University of Calgary Dinos are the 2016 Hardy Cup champions after a classic 46-43 victory over the UBC Thunderbirds Saturday, erasing the gridiron ghosts of 2015 and returning to the national playoffs after a two-year absence.

A year after losing 34-26 in the 79th Hardy Cup on home turf to the underdog UBC Thunderbirds, the Dinos jumped out to a big lead early – taking a 36-10 advantage into halftime –  but the Thunderbirds almost pulled off an epic comeback, and in the end it turned out to be the highest-scoring game in Hardy Cup history.

Calgary (8-2) will host the U Sports Mitchell Bowl – a national semifinal – next Saturday as they welcome Atlantic champion St. Francis Xavier to McMahon Stadium. The game will kick off at 2 p.m. local, live nationwide on Sportsnet 360.

“I wasn’t really too focused on what happened last year other than we tried to learn from the mistakes of the last two seasons. I think for the most part we were able to do that today,” said Calgary head coach Wayne Harris when asked about closing the chapter on last year’s loss.

“We still had a couple of critical mistakes, but the guys just continued to battle and did a great job, so I’m very proud of them.”

Leading the way for Calgary was quarterback Adam Sinagra, who was named the game’s offensive MVP after throwing 366 yards and a trio of touchdowns.

Sinagra, who is in his first season with the Dinos, has led the way offensively in the Stampede City over the last several weeks, after opening day starter Jimmy Underdahl went down Week 6 of the season against Manitoba.

“He had to come in after Jimmy went down and even when you’re learning the system, it’s nothing like game reps, so as much as you practice things until you get on the field and do it against an opponent, it won’t really pay dividends,” Harris said.

“Those games (earlier) have produced what he’s doing now, which is throwing the ball very, very well.”

On the defensive side of the ball,

WGR Hands Out Hardware

After weather played havoc with the schedule all summer long at Wyant Group Raceway, it’s November, the sun is shining, it’s 20 degrees and there is no more racing to be done.  Saturday, members of the Saskatoon Stock Car Racing Association were indoors at Prairieland Park, handing out hardware at its annual awards banquet.

Every division gets awards, as all recognize first, second and third place with trophies.  Most also give out statistical awards for things like most feature wins and rookie of the year.  There’s also awards in most divisions, voted by the other drivers, such as most courteous driver, most improved driver, best looking car and team, and the award nobody wants to win, the Phoenix or hard luck award.

Besides a championship trophy, there is one award that is considered the most prestigious among the drivers.  That is the Fan Favorite Driver, voted on through the year by race fans at the races.

The Fan Favorite Driver award is usually announced at the final race  of the year, but as luck would have it, that last race was rained out.

Maybe the track should win a Phoenix award.

Wyant Group Raceway and the Saskatoon Stock Car Racing Association is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2016 Fan Favorite Driver award is the driver of the Golf’s Car Wash Street Stock Division #3 car, Craig Katelnikoff.

Full list of awards handed out Saturday, November 5, 2016:

Saskatoon CrimeStoppers Bandolero Division:

1st Place: #14 Ty Stewart

2nd Place: #93 Ryley Schneider

3rd Place: #21 Dakota Wollf

Rookie of the year: #21 Dakota Wollf

Most feature wins: #14 Ty Stewart

 

Huskie Season Comes To A Halt In Calgary

The University of Calgary Dinos are headed to the Hardy Cup for the ninth consecutive year following a 47-17 semifinal win over the Saskatchewan Huskies Saturday afternoon at McMahon Stadium.

The Dinos will face the winner of the other Canada West semifinal between Regina and UBC in the 80th Hardy Cup game next Saturday at 1 p.m. local, live on Shaw TV. Should Regina win, the game will be at Mosaic Stadium, while a UBC victory would result in a rematch of last year’s conference championship at McMahon Stadium.

Calgary ended the Huskies’ season for the second year in row thanks to a full team effort that got contributions from all three facets as the Dinos rattled off 40 unanswered points after going down 8-0 to start the game.

“We have a lot of work still to do – there were some mistakes in this game we still have to fix – but the effort, energy, and the enthusiasm our guys played with was sure exciting to watch,” said Dinos head coach Wayne Harris. “They gave us everything they had today. All three phases of the game produced points, and you usually get a favourable outcome when that’s the case. Again, it just comes back to effort, and the energy those big plays provided lifted the rest of the team.”

The two teams got things going offensively in the second quarter after both suffered from miscues in the first 15 minutes. Tyler Chow’s two-yard TD run early in the second quarter put the Huskies up 8-0.

Huskie Handbook – Play-off Edition

Huskie Handbook: Saskatchewan at Calgary
Saskatchewan (5-3 – 3rd) vs. Calgary Dinos (6-2 2nd)

WHEN: Saturday Nov. 6/16, 12pm
WHERE: McMahon Stadium
BROADCAST: CJWW
PREGAME: 11am on CJWW
FORECAST:  Mainly Sunny. Wind SW 20-29. Temperature 18.

HUSKIES in 2015: 3-5, Home 2-2 – 2016 5-3, Road 2-2
DINOS in 2015: 8-0, Home 4-0  – 2016 6-2, Home 3-1

HEAD to HEAD in 2016:            Oct. 22, 2016 – Saskatchewan 38 – Calgary 35 (at Calgary)
Sept. 16, 2016 – Calgary 20 – Saskatchewan 19 (at Saskatoon)

HEAD to HEAD in 2015:            Nov. 7, 2015 – Calgary 37 – Saskatchewan 29 (at Calgary)
Oct. 16, 2015 – Calgary 44 – Saskatchewan 15 (at Saskatoon)
Oct. 3, 2015 – Calgary 59 – Saskatchewan 19 (at Calgary)

Huskies OFFENSE: Points 4 (261) RUSH 3 (157.4 YPG) PASS 5 (277.0 YPG) OVERALL 5 (434.4 YPG)

The lone statistical category that the Huskie offence leads Canada West in is time of possession. That is key. The Saskatchewan offence is meticulous and can pick a defence a part. Content with what the opposition gives them is the name of the game for Scott Fory’s crew. In addition, the group is getting big plays at big times which has given them the edge on their opposition.

 

DINOS OFFENSE: Points 1 (294) RUSH 1 (195.9 YPG) PASS 4 (311.5 YPG) OVERALL 2 (507.4 YPG)

There may be a number of moving parts for the Dinos offense with a lot of banged up bodies along the offensive line and Quarterback Adam Sinagra only starting his 3rd CIS game. With that being said the sophomore out of Quebec has done a nice job in managing the game, no interceptions in his three starts. Meantime Bryce Harper has done a good job of running the ball and blocking out of his tailback spot. If Calgary can force the ball downfield they will win the battle.

 

Handful Of Huskies Get All-Star Nod – AUDIO

Five University of Saskatchewan Huskie football players were named Canada West all-stars on Thursday. You can hear Head Coach Brian Towriss’ thoughts on his All-Stars at the bottom of the page.

Kicker Sean Stenger, running back Tyler Chow, receiver Mitch Hillis, defensive lineman Donovan Dale and offensive tackle Evan Johnson were all honoured for their performance in the 2016 season.

Stenger, a unanimous selection at both punter and place kicker, enjoyed a record-breaking season. The third-year Engineering student set a Huskie single season benchmark with 22 field goals in eight games. Scoring 92 points, he added 2,372 yards on 63 punts. He was twice named Canada West and U Sports Special Teams Player of the Week for hitting six field goals in a game.

Chow, a third-year running back from Calgary, averaged 103 yards per game. He recorded seven touchdowns on 127 carries for 828 yards in the season.

A fourth-year Engineering student from Regina, Johnson, played in all eight games for the Huskies on the offensive line and helped the offence to average 32.6 points per game and 434 yards per game.

Only playing in six games in 2016 due to injury, Hillis tallied 423 yards on 35 catches. The fourth-year Engineering student and all-star and all-canadian from one year ago scored three touchdowns.

The lone all-star on defence, Dale, a Graduate Students student, recorded 24 tackles, three sacks and one interceptions in his final year of eligibility.  The 2016 all-star selection (two with UBC Thunderbirds) was Dale’s fourth of his career.

The Huskies travel to Calgary to meet the Dinos in a Hardy Cup semifinal Saturday at 12 p.m.

 

2016 Canada West Football All-Stars

Huskies Stenger Gets A Kick Out of Canada West

Following his record-breaking weekend, Regina Rams quarterback Noah Picton is the Canada West Offensive Player of the Week after finishing the season with 3,174 passing yards.

The third-year pivot tossed 447 passing yards against the Manitoba Bisons to break the Canada West and U Sports single-season passing yards record of 3,162, set only last season by former Calgary Dinos quarterback and current Calgary Stampeders pivot Andrew Buckley.

Picton, who went 27-for-39 in the regular season finale against Manitoba, helped lead the Rams to a 55-21 win over the Bisons and a 6-2 regular season record, as Regina topped the Canada West regular season standings for the first time in program history.

The Regina native set the single-season passing mark in fitting fashion, tossing a 22-yard touchdown pass to Atlee Simon midway through the third quarter on his final pass of the regular season, before getting the remainder of the game off.

Also earning player of the week honours from the Rams was defensive tackle Nicholas Dheilly, who takes home the defensive award following an interception and a pair of tackles for loss.

Dheilly, who took over as a starter for Regina midway through the season, finished the 2016 regular season tied for second in the conference in sacks and tackles for loss with four and 7.5 respectively.

Regina will now host the UBC Thunderbirds in a Hardy Cup semifinal on Saturday, November 5 at Mosaic Stadium (3:30 p.m. SK).

On the special teams side of the ball, Saskatchewan’s Sean Stenger finished the season in fine form with a 6-for-6 field goal performance in the Huskies’ 48-9 win over the Alberta Golden Bears. Stenger’s 22 field goals on the season set a new single-season mark for the Huskies.

Saskatchewan, who finished 5-3 on the season, head to Calgary this weekend to take on the Dinos in the Hardy Cup semis (12 p.m. MT / McMahon Stadium).