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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

CHARLESTON HUGHES TO PLAY IN WEEK 20


REGINA - The Saskatchewan Roughriders were back at practice on Tuesday for the first time since Saturday's 29-24 victory at Calgary.

Riders defensive end Charleston Hughes missed that game due to an impaired driving charge but he was on the field on Tuesday, and is expected to be in the lineup this Saturday when Saskatchewan hosts the BC Lions.

"He should play," said Head Coach & GM Chris Jones. "We're moving forward. It was an unfortunate event but we can't just sit there and continue to pound away at it. It's one of those things where anytime something negative happens we have to move forward at some point."

Hughes said it hurt to miss that game but even moreso since it was to be his first return to Calgary since being traded away in the off-season.

"I think it did," Hughes explained. "I had a lot of friends, family, fans, really prepare for me to come back to Calgary and display my talent. Unfortunately it didn't happen. I did apologize to everybody on social media; all my friends, family and fans, so it's good."

Meanwhile veteran receiver Naaman Roosevelt was back at practice after missing several weeks with a lower body injury. Jones said they'll wait throughout the week to see how Roosevelt responds before making a decision on his status for the BC game.

Jones threw a curve on Saturday by inserting tailback Cameron Marshall for his season debut, taking the place of Marcus Thigpen. The ASU product contributed well over 100 combined yards in the victory.

"We're fortunate," Jones offered. "We've got three guys who can really play and impact the game. All three are really hard workers. We'll just continue to rotate all three people and the freshest guys play."

The Riders host the BC Lions Saturday at 5:00 pm on 620 CKRM and TSN.

RP
@rodpedersen

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

NEUGSIE'S AROUND THE SJHL

By: Jamie Neugebauer
Voice of the Notre Dame Hounds

Here are my 10 things for Week 8 in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

1. Estevan’s Interesting Deal – Count it five teams, yes (5), around Canada that were involved in the deal that sent the talented playmaker Will Koop from the Steinbach Pistons to the Estevan Bruins this past week. The exact details are not easy to figure out, but in the end B.C.’s Chilliwack Chiefs, and Penticton Vees, Alberta’s Okotoks Oilers, Saskatchewan’s Estevan Bruins, and Manitoba’s Steinbach Pistons were all involved in the deal that also included a defenceman, and two goalies (and probably cash in exchange for rights). Nobody left the Estevan roster, it should be said. Koop is going to be great for the Bruins though – a former Team Canada West World Junior ‘A’ challenge player, and Manitoba junior league champion.

2. Tough Times in Weyburn – October has been a bit of a nightmare for a Weyburn Red Wings team that had such a promising September. Head coach Wes Rudy’s men – beset with injuries and the lingering suspensions from the brawl at home vs. Flin Flon that I wrote about last week – beat Humboldt on Oct. 5, and then have not won since, earning only a single point from an overtime loss in Melville. No need for the now 5-7-1 Red Wings to panic though, as the addition of massive veteran winger Zac Gladhu from Drayton Valley in the Alberta Junior Hockey League should help, and the suspensions from the fight are up the night of this writing. The Red Wings are also still a super talented team, with a fantastic goaltender in Riley Lamb behind them, and it is still so early in the year. I think Weyburn will definitely be heard from in a big way before this year is done.

3. Bombs Away – Nobody in the league has scored as many goals as the Flin Flon Bombers, and as dominant as the former Everett Silvertip Brandson Hein has been for them this year, they also really get the job done with a ton of forward depth. Head coach Mike Reagan has clearly gotten his men to buy in to a team ethos of suffocating pressure all over the ice – something they even accomplished superbly on the massive ice surface of Notre Dame back on Oct. 11 – and have forced turnovers galore. Can this style of play last all year? We will have to see, but it’s definitely working for the high-octane Bombers so far!

4. Reasonable Bill Chow –I know people love to bash league commissioners whenever they can, but I have to give SJHL boss Bill Chow a tip of my cap for the reasonable way I feel he has dealt with suspensions so far this year. Other leagues I’ve seen simply go by the coding of specific penalties that referees put on the game sheet, and all the commissioner will do is shrug and say “nothing I can do!”. But Bill and his office have proven to be committed to watching the tape of the incident, and have not been afraid at times to disagree with the referees’ call on the ice. It happened in favour of Notre Dame’s Noah Bankowski against Weyburn back on Oct. 16, as the second-year forward was given the boot for a major charging penalty, but the penalty, and resulting suspension, was rescinded by the league.  If it happened to be a call against an ND player, like a pre-season hit from behind called against Jakob Breault for example, I would not change my tone.

5. Sneaky Urbanski – From the first time I saw Battlefords winger Matthias Urbanski last year, I was a huge fan. Hard-nosed, quick feet, and a nose for the net, the Prince George, B.C.- native scored 20 in his rookie campaign last year, so it’s good to see him break out with seven points over this past weekend. By the way, he already has 10 goals in 13 games this year, and while putting the onus on him and MacGregor Sinclair to replace the production of the departed Layne Young would be folly, Battlefords is still in good shape with Urbanski around the top of their forward corps.

6. Jared Legien – It should not come as too big of a surprise that Yorkton’s Jared Legien has scored almost at will this year – he’s at almost two points-per-game through 14 contests at time of writing. But while I do give the talented 20-year-old tons of credit for that, you also have to look at how the Terriers play. Legien has licence to roam, to pick his spots to bolt out of the defensive zone at will, and to use his best-in-the-league ability to make any pass a good pass. His shot is also showing to be very impressive, and his line mates Brenden Klatt and super rookie Aiden Bulych have been happy to do a lot of the heavy lifting in the defensive zone, to free Legien up to create the other way. Right now, it’s all working for the Viterra Division leaders!

7. ND’s Special Special Teams – Speaking of Yorkton, their four power-play goals over the last two games with Notre Dame in town have contributed to a rather odd stat for the youthful Hounds. Notre Dame’s penalty kill at home is a league-leading 90 per cent, as they have certainly harnessed the massive ice surface in Wilcox to an advantage in that regard. At the same time, killing penalties on the road have not come as easy, as ND’s PK away from the Duncan McNeill Arena is down at 68.4 per cent.  Now this all being said, I’d be willing to wager a lot of money that the Hounds have been consistently far better at home than on the road overall for years. And it’s still early!

8. No Camrud, Big Problem? – Ever since Humboldt star Brayden Camrud took an awkward tumble at home against Notre Dame on Oct. 12, and has not hit the ice since, the Broncos have not looked the same, despite a recent 6-3 win over Melville. It’s hard to blame them though, as there is certainly an argument to say that Camrud is the most dynamic forward in the league without any Western Hockey League experience. Here’s hoping he is not out too much longer!

9. Shout Out to the Cougars! (bonus) – Well, how about that? The University of Regina Cougars men’s hockey team pulled out two road victories in a row, beating the University of Manitoba 3-1 and 6-3 this past weekend in Winnipeg. Long-time Kootenay Ice and Lethbridge Hurricane Zak Zborosky, a USports West All-Rookie team member from last year, scored his first three goals of the year in the latter triumph, while former Estevan Bruin and Swift Current Bronco Arthur Miller was the game-winning-goal hero the night before. The Cougars now have two wins through six games, after posting only four victories all of last year! Kudos to them!

10. But the Rams Are Done (bonus) – On the other end of the spectrum, the Rams are done and dusted. Regina got pounded 58-6 in Calgary last Friday night, ending their already slim playoff hopes in the wake of the forfeits the club had to endure, handed down by the league due to an ineligible player playing in the team’s first five contests. In their defence, starting quarterback Noah Picton AND backup Seb Britton were both out with injury, leaving true freshman Josh Donnelly to face Canada’s No. 3 team in the Calgary Dinos, in a must-win situation, on the road. It’s a sad end to a sad story, but it was unlikely the team could salvage the year anyway after the ruling. Time to retool for next year Rams fans!

(Follow Jamie on Twitter at @neugsie)

THROWIN' ELBOWS WITH BRENDAN MCGUIRE

1. JEFFERSON & COLLAROS BAIL OUT HUGHES & JONES: The Riders went from zero to hero within about 48 hours. Charleston Hughes and his DUI charge was bad enough. And then Chris Jones overthought the game plan enough to conclude he just couldn’t have this one without his sack leader.

Then the reverse from what sounded like either Rider CEO Craig Reynolds or CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie to sit Hughes out after all. By Friday night it seemed like the Green & White had backed themselves into a corner by first putting winning over taking the moral high ground and then changing their minds just in time to alienate the fans who supported the decision to play Hughes to begin with.

Once again it was Willie Jefferson and the defense to the rescue (for the umpteenth time) and Zach Collaros and the offense to save the day (for the first time).

The Riders come out of this smelling like roses all around. Chris Jones stood up for his player. Management took the moral high ground. The players get their biggest win of the year and arguably the Chris Jones era.

And maybe best of all, Charleston Hughes can play ball again this week with a clear conscience now that he’s taken his lumps and didn’t cost the team any games.

2. ROUGHRIDER OFFENSE JUST AS GOOD AS ROUGHRIDER DEFENSE: The Rider offense this season has made meaningful contributions before. See the Labour Day Classic win over Winnipeg and the breakout game for Zach Collaros in Montreal when they beat a vastly underrated Alouette defensive unit led by guru Rich Stubler.

But Saturday’s win in Calgary was the first time all season this team hasn’t been carried by its defense or special teams. To put up nearly 500 yards of total offense on the road in the backyard of the best team in the country was clearly the biggest statement Zach or (Offensive Co-ordinator Stephen) McAdoo’s men have made this year.

We’ve been waiting a long time for this edition of the Green & White to really look like a complete TEAM. Saturday, we saw just that.

3. CAMERON MARSHALL: Guy sits out half the season unsigned and nobody wants him? I know running backs are a dime a dozen but no-one could use this guy as a depth player forwhen their running back inevitably goes down? Seriously?!

4. DON’T FEAR FIRST-PLACE EXTRA BYE WEEK: Thanks to the moron schedule-makers who predicted the Riders couldn’t run down Calgary and gave them the bye for the final week of the regular season, the Roughriders could end up with back-to-back bye weeks, should they finish in first place. The great Ron Lancaster fretted about such a predicament back in ’96 when his Edmonton Eskimos came close to living that scenario, only to fall behind the Stampeders to avoid such a layoff.

“I just don’t know if I can keep them crisp for that long”, quipped the Little General at the time.

It was a valid concern back then but not anymore. There’s plenty of data and history to guide teams with how to handle those situations today. You give them one week off to unwind, then work like dogs the next since you’re still not playing an actual game, and then use the final week to prepare like you normally would for any other game.

Y’er welcome.

5. DID YOU KNOW?: Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce is arguably the most important weapon for Patrick Mahomes who is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL right now. To hear Kelce tell his story, he really began taking football seriously in his college days with the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. His quarterback throwing him the ball back then was …Zach Collaros.

6. GREATEST CFL SEASON FINISH: In the 27 seasons I’ve followed this great game so closely, I don’t ever recall any division, east or west, coming down to the wire with so much left to play for, for so many teams.

It’s incredible to see so many different playoff scenarios still possible.

The Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts are the only teams with nothing left to play for and they both have dramatic storylines at quarterback which makes their game this weekend just as fascinating.

Such a great reward for all the fans who have stuck with this league and refuse to cave in to the mindless hype of the NFL and U.S. College football.

7. A VALID MANZIEL-FLUTIE COMPARISON: Interesting to see that if Johnny Manziel plays these last 2 Alouette games of the season, he will have pretty well exactly half the sample size for stats from his rookie season in Canada that Doug Flutie had from his own rookie season in Canada. If Johnny continues to trend upwards, like he has over his last 3 games, and produces 5 touchdown passes and 3 interceptions in these last 2 outings than his stats will look nearly identical to Flutie’s. The only glaring differences will be Johnny has a much higher completion percentage (common in this era) and Johnny is two years younger than Doug was when Flutie broke into the CFL.
Point being: Manziel is entertaining to watch and is clearly making strides. If his name was Joe Blow from Kokamo, he would’ve been benched long ago but that’s okay. The Alouettes were going nowhere fast anyways and this investment still has plenty of upside. Montreal’s football team is must-see TV right now because of him and these final 2 Alouette games could set the stage for whether or not we see an encore in 2019. Doug Flutie shattered pro football’s passing record in his 2nd CFL season so it would be intriguing to see what happens with this guy.

8. SASKATCHEWAN SALUTE TO THE WETENHALLS: This doesn’t get talked about enough but on behalf of not just CFL fans, but all Saskatchewan fans, I would like to thank the Montreal Alouette owners, Bob and Andrew Wetenhall, for making sure we have a Montreal franchise to play against. This league cannot survive without Toronto, Montreal and B.C. and yet the smaller, more profitable markets don’t want to prop up these money-losing franchises.

Despite accepting equalization payments from the bigger markets in the late 70’s and early 80’s, equalization has become a dirty word out west due more to happenings on Parliament Hill than in any league office.

But still, we all owe a big debt of thanks the owners who prop these franchises up while allowing us to keep our hard-earned money with the Roughriders.

9. CFL COACHES ARE BETTER THEN NFL COACHES: Just ask the Montreal Alouettes, Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Those are the 3 tams who are run by ex-NFL head coaches and could very easily end up as the teams with the 3 worst records in the entire league.

10. U OF R RAMS SITUATION DESTROYS U-SPORT TICKET VALUE: How can any of us get excited about buying a ticket anymore, knowing full well that the result of that game could be wiped out from a ridiculous technicality over a clerical error like the one that has crushed the University of Regina Rams 2018 season? Did the Roughriders playoff win in Ottawa last November get squashed when Marcus Thigpen tested positive for a banned substance? Of course not! And which was a more egregious crime? You decide but I’m pretty confident it wasn’t anything the Rams did.
Use some common sense, U-Sport. Your fan base is tuning you out real fast.

(Follow Brendan on Twitter at @brendanhowardmc)

RIDERS ADD THREE, RELEASE PICTON




RIDERS TRANSACTIONS

 

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced the following roster moves:

 

ADDED TO PRACTICE ROSTER:

 

RELEASED FROM PRACTICE ROSTER:

  • National wide receiver Mitchell Picton

 

 (Roughriders PR)


THE POINT AFTER: WEEK 19

Photo: CFL.ca/Larry McDougal
The CFL's muddled playoff picture should come more into focus after this weekend.

By Sunday, the four West Division post-season participants could be decided as well as top spot in the East Division. Then again, it could just as easily come down to the final week of the regular season, which would only be fitting given the wackiness that's been 2018 thus far.

Last week, the CFL revealed no less than 64 potential playoff permutations. After the weekend's action, that number has been reduced to 32.

Calgary (12-4) will know by Sunday if it has clinched first in the West Division or will require a road win in Vancouver on Nov. 3 to do so. The Stampeders will secure top spot with a victory or tie in Winnipeg on Friday night or a Saskatchewan loss or tie the following night versus B.C.

But the Stampeders have dropped two straight, both losses coming at home where they'd been unbeaten. The latest was a 29-24 decision to Saskatchewan on Saturday night.

A loss to Winnipeg and a Saskatchewan win over B.C. would force Calgary needing a win or tie versus the Lions in the regular season-finale to secure home field for the West final Nov. 18.

Saskatchewan (11-6) can still clinch first with a home win over B.C. (9-7) on Saturday and Calgary dropping its remaining two games. That would leave both tied with 12-6 records but the Riders would get first after winning the season series.

Winnipeg (9-7) would clinch a playoff berth with a win or tie against Calgary and thus eliminate the Edmonton Eskimos (8-9) from post-season contention. The Bombers have won four straight and will be rested coming off the bye week.

The Bombers would finish third with a victory and B.C. loss to Saskatchewan, leaving the Lions as the crossover team.

The irony is Edmonton will be cheering for provincial rival Calgary this weekend. A Stampeders win would keep the Eskimos in playoff contention heading into what would then be a crucial showdown with Winnipeg at Commonwealth Stadium on Nov. 3.

In that scenario, Edmonton would gain the crossover spot with a win over Winnipeg, which would be eliminated. The best the Eskimos can do is finish fourth in the West standings.

As for the East Division, Ottawa (9-7) can cement top spot with a road win over Hamilton (8-8) on Saturday. The Redblacks gained the upper hand by rallying for a 35-31 home win over the Ticats on Friday night to open the home-and-home series.

An Ottawa sweep would result in Hamilton finishing second and hosting the crossover team in the East semifinal Nov. 11.

But Ottawa would still control its own destiny even with a Hamilton victory. In that scenario, the Redblacks could still cement first with a home victory over Toronto on Nov. 2, regardless of what the Ticats do the following day against Montreal.

The only way Hamilton can finish first is by winning its last two games (versus Ottawa and Montreal) and the Redblacks dropping their final two regular-season contests. And the Ticats would have to do it without Brandon Banks.

The speedy receiver suffered a season-ending broken clavicle Friday night. It's a huge loss for Hamilton as Banks had eight catches for 133 yards and a TD against Ottawa prior to getting hurt.

Banks is second overall in CFL receiving with 1,423 yards on 94 catches with 11 TDs, tying him with teammate Luke Tasker for the league lead in that category.

It's been a rough season for Hamilton receivers. Canadian Shamawd Chambers, Jalen Saunders and Chris Williams have all suffered with season-ending injuries while Terrence Toliver is also hurt.

If there's any good news, it's Terrell Sinkfield Jr., who re-signed with Hamilton on Oct. 11, could return to the lineup Saturday.

---

UP IN SMOKE: Recreational marijuana use became legal in Canada last week and it seems it didn't take CFL fans long to take advantage.

On Saturday night, the Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated Calgary 29-24 at McMahon Stadium. That prompted an interesting tweet from veteran Stampeders punter Rob Maver.

"McMahon smelled like a Rolling Stones concert circa 1975 tonight at halftime - fitting for Rock and Red night. #Legalized,'' Maver said on his Twitter account.

---

SINOPOLI CLOSING IN: Brad Sinopoli is four catches away from setting the CFL's regular-season record for most receptions by a Canadian-born receiver.

Sinopoli, 30, of Peterborough, Ont., had eight catches for 113 yards in Ottawa's 35-31 home win over Hamilton on Friday night. That gives Sinopoli 109 catches for 1,320 yards and four TDs this season.

Hall of Famer Ben Cahoon of the Montreal Alouettes holds the mark of 112 receptions set in 2003.

Teammate William Powell ran for 87 yards on 21 carries to extend his lead in the CFL rushing race. Powell has amassed 1,362 yards on 251 carries (5.4-yard average) with six touchdowns to move 93 ahead of Winnipeg's Andrew Harris, last year's rushing champion.

Powell is attempting to become the first Ottawa player to lead the CFL in rushing since 1988, when Orville Lee ran for 1,075 yards.

But arguably the most noteworthy individual accomplishment Friday night belonged to Ottawa kicker Lewis Ward. The rookie made both field goals against Hamilton to extend his CFL record streak to 45 straight and surpass the pro football mark of 44 established by Adam Vinatieri of the NFL's Indianapolis Colts in 2015-16.

---

PAYING DIVIDENDS: The late-season acquisition of receiver DeVier Posey paid off big for the B.C. Lions on Friday night.

Posey had five catches for 113 yards and three TDs as B.C. rallied for a 42-32 home win over Edmonton. The victory was the Lions' third straight, but more importantly earned them a playoff berth.

Posey, the MVP of Toronto's Grey Cup win last year, joined the Lions in September after being released by the NFL's Baltimore Ravens. The six-foot-two, 210-pound former Ohio State star has 22 catches for 302 yards (13.7-yard average) since arriving in B.C. but the three TDs were his first of the season.

(Canadian Press/Dan Ralph)

TUESDAY REGINA HIGH SCHOOLS DAILY DISH

MONDAY'S RESULTS

Jr. Girls Tier 1 Volleyball
Campbell 2 Martin 0
Campbell 2 Riffel 0
Riffel 2 Martin 0
LeBoldus 2 Luther 0
Luther 2 Sheldon 0

Jr. Girls Tier 2 Volleyball
Balfour 2 Thom 0
Scott 2 Thom 0
Balfour 2 Scott 0
Notre Dame 2 RCS 1
Notre Dame 2 Harvest City 1
Harvest City 2 RCS 0
Lumsden 2 Johnson 0

TUESDAY'S SCHEDULE

Football Playoffs – 3A Quarter Finals
Johnson at Balfour @ Mosaic Stadium 5:15 p.m.
Thom at Martin @ Mosaic Stadium 7:30 p.m.

Ticket Prices – same as regular season
Adults - $7.00
Students - $6.00
Age 7-12 - $3.00
6 & Under - Free

Sr. Girls Tier 1 Volleyball
Knoll and Campbell at Martin 6, 7, 8 p.m.
Sheldon and Luther at Miller 6, 7, 8 p.m.
LeBoldus and O’Neill at Riffel 6, 7, 8 p.m.

Sr. Girls Tier 2 Volleyball
Balfour and Thom at Laval 6, 7, 8 p.m.
RCS and Notre Dame at Harvest City 6, 7, 8 p.m.

Monday, October 22, 2018

OUT OF THE TUNNEL: RIDERS KEEP EYE ON THE PRIZE


BY: RODPEDERSEN.COM STAFF

In the past two weeks we have experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows of the Roughriders 2018 season. From their worst team effort of the season against Winnipeg last weekend to their best on Saturday against Calgary.

On Saturday at McMahon Stadium, the Green & White rode a dominant first half to a 29-24 victory over the Calgary Stampeders and in the process, kept their hopes alive for first in the West Division.

Famoso Downtown Monday Night Party
It also proved that the Riders play their best when backed into a corner. Between an uncharacteristic drubbing at the hands of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the injuries and the DUI arrest of Charleston Hughes, one would think that this would have been easy pickings for a solid, but beat-up, Calgary Stampeders team.

Instead, Zach Collaros and the offence led the way. Collaros had his best game as a Rider with a mid-range passing game, Cam Marshall looked like he has returned to his 2017 self with 76 yards at almost a 7-yard-per-carry clip and Jordan Williams-Lambert picked up his second 100-yard receiving game of the season.

Defensively, the Riders deleted the Stampeders offence in the first half, but had their troubles in the second. If it wasn't for a clutch third quarter interception by Mike Edem, the best game of the season would have turned into the biggest heartbreaker of the year.

Here are a few more notes from this past weekend and a lookahead to a crucial Game 18 for the Saskatchewan Roughriders this Saturday against the streaking BC Lions:

- This was the seventh time this season that the Riders posted 29+ points in 2018, but it sure seemed difficult. They needed points on all but three drives to keep Calgary out of the win column. The finish in the redzone is still a sore point of this offence. The Riders are fantastic between the 35's but grind to a halt when they creep closer to the end zone.

- A big key to this game was the hidden yards. The 300-yard passing game by Zach Collaros was huge as was the 140 yards rushing as a team but just as important were the hidden yards picked up by the kickoff return teams. Loucheiz Purifoy had returns of 26 and 39 yards that started drives which ended in Rider field goals, then Cam Marshall's 58-yard return to the Calgary 47-yard-line turned the tide of momentum after the Stampeders took the early lead with a 78-yard punt return. The ensuing drive ended in a touchdown that ended the Riders' 152 minute touchdown drought.

- The defence was stingy in the first half, but after a few adjustments, Bo Levi Mitchell and the Stampeder offence seemed to have their way with the Riders and almost stole the game. Calgary also had a lot of success running the football between the tackles in the first half, but completely buried that in the playbook in the second half.

- The Rider offence finally decided to take some chances in the offence and allowed some plays to develop. Yes, it did end up in three sacks of Collaros, but in the end it opened things up in the passing game for one of the rare times this season.

Now to this Saturday's final regular season game.

The B.C. Lions come into Mosaic Stadium red-hot and seem to have turned the corner with Travis Lulay back at the helm of the offence.

It is pretty simple; a Riders win and they seal up a home playoff game and keep their shot at first in the division alive (Calgary leads by two points with two road games remaining at Winnipeg and BC). Lose, and things could still get messy.

A home playoff game is so crucial for the Roughrider organization on many fronts.

To host their first post-season game since 2013 is a reward for fans' patience and loyalty after such an incredibly frustrating rough patch of football.

The playoff game is great for the organization's coffers. The Riders will purchase the game from the CFL and the profits will put some cash in the bank account. A bonus game for ticket-sales purposes, more merchandise will be purchased at the Rider Stores. and those on the fence regarding season ticket renewal will more than likely pull the trigger.

A home playoff game would be a big boost for the entire organization. Like many organizations, the Saskatchewan Roughriders have a performance bonus structure. It's based on both personal and team success. Some of the team benchmarks: tickets sold, merchandise sales, on-field performance and if the team hosts a playoff game … check off another percentage point for a bonus.

Finally, hosting a playoff game is a big step in Chris Jones' future with the football club. This is Year 3 of his tenure and he signed an extension into 2019 last off-season. No coach in his right mind goes into a final season of his contract without an extension. So what happens in the next few weeks will go a long way in future contract negotiations.

This Week in Canada West:

The final nail in what could have been a fantastic season for the Regina Rams (1-6) was hammered in by the Calgary Dinos (7-0) this weekend. The top-ranked Dinos mopped the floor with the depleted Rams 58-6.

With injuries to both Noah Picton and backup Seb Britton, third string freshman Noah Donnelly made his first-ever Canada West start. He struggled with a pair of interceptions, couple that with defensive struggles, and the Dinos were able to pile on the points in quick fashion.

Adam Sinagra was an efficient 20/28 for 428 yards passing in the win.

The Saskatchewan Huskies (4-3) continue on their path towards a home playoff date making short work of the Manitoba Bisons (3-4) 27-4 at Griffiths Stadium.

Defence led the way for the Huskies as they held the Bisons under 250 yards of total offence with the help of five quarterback sacks.

The unlikely UBC Thunderbirds (4-3) run to the playoffs continued with a 30-11 victory over the Alberta Golden Bears (2-5). After a woeful start to the season, Thunderbirds quarterback Michael O'Connor has finally found his stride with 427-yards passing on 30/35 passes.

So much on the line in a stellar final week of the Canada West Season.

Week 8 in the Canada West:

Friday, October 26th
Saskatchewan Huskies (4-3) at Regina Rams (1-6) 7:00pm (Mosaic Stadium)
Saturday, October 27th
UBC Thunderbirds (4-3) at Manitoba Bisons (3-4) 2:00pm (Investors Group Field)
Calgary Dinos (7-0) at Alberta Golden Bears (2-5) 1:00pm (Foote Field)


This Week in the PFC:

The Saskatoon Hilltops will have a chance to win their fifth-straight Prairie Football Conference title and eighth in nine years after clobbering the Winnipeg Rifles 58-7. It is the 12th straight PFC final for the top junior program in Canada.

The 'Toppers will face the Edmonton Huskies who needed overtime to defeat the Regina Thunder 39-36.

The Thunder were held to a field goal on their first possession of overtime then the Huskies were able to punch it in the end zone on their first possession to pick up the victory.

The final will be next weekend at SMF Field in Saskatoon and a trip to the Canadian Bowl is on the line.


Canadian to Watch in the NCAA
Bruno LaBelle
Sophomore
Tight End – Cincinnati
6’4”, 250lbs.
Laval, Quebec
High School – Coll├Ęge Montmorency

Their must be something in the water, or more than likely the offences they are playing in Quebec but they seem to be able to produce great tight ends. Bruno LaBelle is following in the shoes of Anthony Auclair (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)  on a potential career in the NFL.

LaBelle has entered his second season with the Cincinnati Bearcats in the number two role on the tight end depth chart and has started a pair of games in the process.

He has six catches for 40 yards with his best career performance this past weekend in a loss to Temple. He had three catches for 27-yards in the game.

(RodPedersen.com Staff)