The Saskatoon Hilltops are a win away from becoming the first C-J-F-L team to win four straight Canadian Bowl titles after a resounding 48-0 win over the B-C Champion Vancouver Island Raiders on a cold-windy-wintery Sunday afternoon at SMF Field.
James Vause started the game with a line drive opening kick-off that bounced through the end zone for the first point of the national semifinal.
The Toppers then scored their first major on their opening possession. Josh Ewanchyna recorded his first of two touchdowns on a three-yard run capping a 62-yard drive.
Saskatoon opened a 15-0 lead late in the first quarter when quarterback Jordan Walls found a wide open Ryan Turple deep in the end zone on a play-action-roll-out play for a 10-yard touchdown strike. After converting the touchdown Vause sailed another line drive kick-off deep into the end zone for a single, to make it 16-0 heading into the second quarter.
Back-to-back touchdowns by veteran fullback Colin Stumborg, on a one-yard run and a 15-yard catch, extended Saskatoon’s lead to 30-0. The pass play was another option-roll-out by Walls on a third-down gamble. Ewanchyna added his second rushing major with just over three minutes remaining in the half to send the Toppers to the locker room with a 37-0 lead. The Hilltops defence who recorded seven sacks throughout the game was outstanding in the first half giving the offence great field position during the opening 30-minutes.
Saskatoon’s dominance in the cold and strong wind continued early in the third quarter when Logan Fischer who returned to the lineup after sitting out last week’s PFC final with an injury, capped a 90-yard drive plunging over from the goal line from one yard out to extend the lead to 44-0. That play marked the end of the afternoon for many of the Hilltops starters. Fischer carried the call eight times during his third-quarter cameo appearance for 58 yards. Adam Machart led all rushers with 84 yards on 19-carries.
After a long punt single by John Brown, Vause put the finishing touches on the scoreboard kicking a 43-yard field goal with about three minutes remaining. His only other attempt in the first quarter rung off one of the uprights while it swayed in the strong wind.
Walls was 9-for-13 through the air with several completions against the howling wind and surprised the Raiders defence with two straight completions to start the game. However, the game was won on the ground as the Hilltops totalled 245 rushing yards.
The Saskatoon crew now gets ready for the Canadian Bowl Nov. 11 in Windsor as the AKO Fratmen beat Hamilton 34-20 in the Ontario Conference final. The game will be broadcast on 92.9 THE BULL.