For the fourth straight season, the Saskatoon Hilltops claimed the Prairie Football Conference crown.
That number is the same number of players that rushed for touchdowns in a 36-24 win over the Regina Thunder at SMF Field in Saskatoon.
“It feels awesome,” head coach Tom Sargeant said. “It was a great football game that could have went either way but our veterans were our best players and when that’s the case it’s usually a great ending for the Saskatoon Hilltops.”
The home side got to work early with Adam Machart scampering 48 yards for the touchdown just 1:30 into the game. Machart would go on to rush for 206 yards filling in for regular starter and league all-star Logan Fischer.
“It is a big one but we knew what we had to do and how to come out,” Machart said, offering plenty of praise for his offensive line. “All our guys were blocking amazing which made my job easy.”
Josh Ewanchyna also took snaps at running back, adding 81 yards of his own, including a 40-yard dash up the middle of the field after breaking a tackle and running free.
“I’ve been telling everyone we have the best running backs in Canada,”coach Sargeant said when asked about his depth at the position. “Even when they know we’re running we are still pounding it and getting the yards we want.”
The Hilltops other two majors came from a yard out, topped off by a goal-line leap into the end zone by burly defensive tackle Garth Knittig.
“I didn’t know Garth could jump that high,” Sargeant said. “That was fun.”
James Vause was perfect kicking on the day with a pair of field goals. He also chipped in on defense with an interception.
As for Regina, the game will be seen as a missed opportunity, the Thunder held a 10-9 lead midway through the first quarter and had chances to break away.
“We had our opportunities but just weren’t able to capitalize,” said head coach Scott MacAulay “We played some sound football and I’m happy our guys didn’t quit.”
With the win, Saskatoon advances to the national semi-finals where they will face the B.C champion Vancouver Island Raiders. The winner moves on to the Canadian Bowl where the Hilltops are three-time defending champions.