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Monday, November 19, 2018

OUT OF THE TUNNEL: WHO WILL QB THE RIDERS IN 2019?


BY: RODPEDERSEN.COM STAFF

As Rider fans watched the Calgary Stampeders and Ottawa Redblacks both earn berths into the Grey Cup on Sunday, they were finally coming to grips with what happened in 2018.

With everything now in the rear-view mirror, most are thinking ahead to a potentially tumultuous off season and a crucial 2019 for the Saskatchewan Roughrider franchise.

The conversation always begins with who will be under center for the Green & White? Zach Collaros was the key 2018 free agent signee for the Riders and while at times he flashed back to his breakout 2015 season, much of the time his performances were very pedestrian.

It’s not all on the 30-year-old Stubenville, Ohio native. He didn’t have a great receiving core, play calling was incredibly conservative and when a running game was needed, it just wasn’t there.

Collaros is set to hit free agency as is his back-up Brandon Bridge, so will there be another new face at quarterback for the fourth straight season of the Chris Jones regime?

Who knows if Collaros wants to come back and live through another season like this one? But, now that he has a season with the Stephen McAdoo offence and a chance to get healthy in the off season, it may be the best option.

Do the Riders want him back or dip their toe in a potentially great free agent pool?

If not Collaros, then who?
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Mike Reilly is a non-starter, he will sign in either Edmonton or BC. Bo Levi Mitchell is too, since there is no way the Calgary Stampeders will let him walk away if he returns to the CFL. Rumours abound that Mitchell is headed to the NFL after the Grey Cup.

The most intriguing option is current Ottawa Redblack Trevor Harris. He has had an up and down 2019 season but rose to the occasion in the playoffs with his six-touchdown performance this Sunday in Ottawa’s 46-27 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The strong-armed former NCAA Division-III star from Edinboro would be a great fit in the Rider offence. Actually, any offence for that matter. He will be 33 in May, so a long-term contract may be out of the question, but any contract will come at a steep price.

Next up is Jonathan Jennings. He had a horrible end to an already difficult 2018 season and after current B.C. Lions general manager Ed Hervey questioned his work ethic and then Jenning’s agent quickly fired back, consider that bridge burned.

Jennings would be a risky choice. It would be a more affordable contract, but after an incredible 2016, he has taken a step back the past two seasons.

The top-three potential options are Harris, Collaros and Jennings and after that there are veterans like Kevin Glenn and Travis Lulay.

Then there is also who will be the back-up? That’s a different story.

For all of the great things Chris Jones has done on and off the field to rebuild the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the quarterback position has been the one key piece he or his staff hasn’t been able to figure out, and in the end it’s also what has hamstrung them.

It may be five or six brand new faces that fans will have to become attached to in 2019 but fans may have to wait until well after the second week of February when the 2019 CFL free agent period begins. With the current CBA set to expire on the first day of training camp and reports of the CFL withholding preseason bonuses until a new CBA is signed, that has soured many players and this will only hamper the process.

Finally, if one is looking south to potential future CFLers, that may be quickly eroding. With the new AAF holding their quarterback “draft” on November 28th, many of the future quarterbacks the CFL have had the luxury of signing will be out the window because if you include the AAF’s salary (three-years, $250k) easy 10-game schedule and the potential of playing closer to home, most potential future stars will stay south of the border.


Congratulations to the Calgary Stampeders and the Ottawa Redblacks. The two top franchises of the past five years in the CFL will meet in the Grey Cup for the second time in three years.

Calgary will be playing in their fourth Grey Cup in five years by grinding out a 22-14 victory at home over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Going on the road in back-to-back weeks was just too much for the Bombers who were looking to play in the Grey Cup for the first time since 2011 when they were in the East Division.

Ottawa made short work of the Hamilton Ticats riding the arm of Trevor Harris to the 46-27 win. The Redblack offence looks like they are peaking at the right time and will be a handful next week in Edmonton.

The quick, unsubstantiated prediction, Calgary 31 Ottawa 26.


Canada West Notebook:

The cinderella 2018 University of Saskatchewan Huskies season came to an end in Windsor, Ontario Saturday afternoon. The Huskies couldn’t get past the number one ranked and undefeated Western Mustangs, dropping the Mitchell Bowl 47-24.

The game was tied at 17 at the half, but Western flexed their muscles with three long drives of over 75-yards and other than a Tyler Chow 71-yard run early in the fourth quarter, it was tough sledding for the Huskie offence.

It was a fantastic season for the University of Saskatchewan that began with them being voted last in the Canada West coaches poll and ended with a Hardy Trophy in the case. Something to build on for head coach Scott Flory and his staff.

The Vanier Cup will be the Western Mustangs and the Laval Rouge et Or Saturday afternoon in Quebec City.

Prairie Football Conference:

History was made Saturday afternoon at SMF Field in Saskatoon. The Saskatoon Hilltops won their fifth straight Canadian Bowl by routing the Langley Rams 58-21.

It was 31-7 at the half and 51-14 after three for the Hilltops who rode the legs of Josh Ewanchyna’s 245 yards rushing and Jordan Wall’s 247 yards through the air.

Defensively Logan Bitz had an interception for a touchdown.

The PFC’s dominance in the CJFL continues, they have won 15 of the last 18 national titles.

Canadian to Watch in the NCAA

Nate Anderson – Sr.
Defensive End - Missouri
6’4”, 255lbs.
Toronto, Ontario
High School – Prattville (Ala.) HS

Anderson is in his second season with the Missouri Tigers after a couple of season at New Mexico Military Institute. He has played in 23 games with the Tigers starting in one game this season against the University of Tennessee-Martin in week one.

He has collected 19 total tackles and one sack in 2018.  He will be eligible for the 2019 CFL Draft and will be one of the top rated defensive linemen in this class.

(By RodPedersen.com Staff)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

STAMPEDERS, REDBLACKS TO MEET IN 106TH GREY CUP

Photo: CFL.ca
For the fourth time in Canadian Football history, Ottawa and Calgary will meet in the Grey Cup. The clubs’ previous Grey Cup appearances against each other were in 2016, 1968 and 1948.

106TH GREY CUP PRESENTED BY SHAW
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 25 AT 6:00 P.M. ET
OTTAWA REDBLACKS VS. CALGARY STAMPEDERS 
TELEVISED ON TSN, RDS, ESPN2
RADIO: TSN RADIO NETWORK, 620 CKRM

- It will be the 18th appearance in the Grey Cup by an Ottawa club , where they are 10-7 (.588). The last time the REDBLACKS made the Grey Cup was the 104th Grey Cup in 2016 in Toronto, where they defeated Calgary 39-33.

- The Calgary Stampeders are making their 17th Grey Cup appearance, going 7-10 (.412) in those games. This is their third consecutive Grey Cup game; they last won in 2014 against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 20-16.

- Ottawa and Calgary have met three times before in the Grey Cup: 2016 (Ottawa won 39-33), 1968 (Ottawa won 24-21) and 1948 (Calgary won 12-7).

- This season Calgary swept the series versus Ottawa winning 24-14 in Week 3 and 27-3 in Week 5.

- This will be Rick Campbell’s third Grey Cup Game (1-1) as a head coach and Trevor Harris’ first start in the Grey Cup.

- This will be Dave Dickenson’s third Grey Cup game (0-2) as a head coach, this will be the first-time Calgary have made the game three consecutive years. Dickenson becomes the first coach to be in the game three time in a row since Marc Trestman (2008-10).This will be Bo Levi Mitchell’s fourth appearance as a starter (1-2).

- This will be the fifth Grey Cup Edmonton has hosted: 2010, 2002, 1997 and 1984.

The 106th Grey Cup presented by Shaw will be played at The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium on November 25th, 2018 – the fifth CFL championship game held in Edmonton. The game is set to kick off at 6 p.m. ET live on TSN and RDS.

The 2018 Grey Cup Festival presented by Shaw will take place in the heart of downtown Edmonton - Jasper Avenue from 99th Street to 96th Street - from November 21-25. Kicking off on the evening of Wednesday, November 21, the four-day Festival will feature free programming for the entire family to enjoy in the week leading up to the 106th Grey Cup Presented by Shaw. Fans can visit http://www.greycupfestival.ca for a full schedule of events listing.

(CFL PR)

REGINA HIGH SCHOOLS MONDAY DAILY DISH

WEEKEND RESULTS

SHSAA 5A Provincial Volleyball Championships:
Girls – Campbell Tartans Gold Medal
Boys - LeBoldus Suns 4th Place

MONDAY SCHEDULE

Curling – all games are at the Callie at 4:00 p.m.

Junior League – Pool A:
Lussier (Riffel #2) vs. Kessel (Greenall)
Smith (Martin #1) vs. Bennefeld (Knoll)
Buckner (Campbell) vs. Wiley (Sheldon)
Carnie (O’Neill #1) vs. Lutz (Martin #2)
Szakacs (Riffel #1) vs. Breit (LeBoldus #1)
Buzash (Riffel #3) vs. Day (Balfour #1)

Junior League – Pool B:
Simpson (Martin #4) vs. Lazurko (Miller)
Ghazal (Riffel #5) vs. Zankl (Balfour #2)
Clark (Campbell #2) vs. Ehmann (Sheldon #3)
Barnes (O’Neill #2) vs. Ross (Sheldon #2)
Rabayez (Riffel #4) vs. Hak (LeBoldus #2)

COORS LIGHT RECAP: PATS FALL 2-1 IN VICTORIA

Photo: VictoriaRoyals.com
VICTORIA - The Regina Pats gave up a game winning goal late in the third in a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Victoria Royals on Saturday night.

The Pats opened the scoring at 12:57 of the first when Jake Leschyshyn tipped home his team leading 15th of the season. The Royals powerplay got the game tied at 17:19 of the first, thanks to Kaid Oliver and it was 1-1 after one.

The two clubs put six shots on goal apiece in the second and the game remained tied at the break.

In the third, it was 1-1 until late when Tanner Sidaway buried his second of the season into the top corner with 2:45 remaining and the Royals took the 2-1 lead. They held on from there for the two points.

The Pats were outshot 27-18, the powerplay was 0/3 and the penalty kill was 6/7. Max Paddock was named the games second star making 25 saves on 27 shots.

Quick Hits
- Sebastian Streu has a goal and an assist in his first three games with the Pats.
- Jake Leschyshyn extended his point streak to 10 games with a goal, has 10 goals and eight assists in the streak.
- Austin Pratt has points in six straight, he has three goals and five assists in that stretch.

What’s Next?
The Pats continue their road swing on Tuesday in Kamloops against the Blazers at 9 p.m. Regina time on 620 CKRM. Next home game is Saturday, December 1 against the Prince Albert Raiders. Tickets are available at reginapats.com, the Brandt Centre Box Office and at any Regina Safeway, where Fun Zone tickets are $13 plus tax.

(Phil Andrews/ReginaPats.com)

SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES SMOKED IN MITCHELL BOWL

LONDON, Ont. - Chris Merchant came back from injury to lead the defending Vanier Cup champion Western Mustangs to a rematch of last year's title game against the Laval Rouge et Or with a 47-24 win over the Saskatchewan Huskies in the Mitchell Bowl on Saturday.

Merchant finished 17-for-28 passing with 251 yards and three touchdowns, including one on the ground, after getting hurt on the second play from scrimmage after Western fielded the opening kickoff.

Merchant lay prone on the field for a couple of minutes, hobbling off gingerly with what appeared to be a back injury before returning later. Alex Taylor rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns in support of Merchant, while Harry McMaster had 152 yards receiving and a pair of TDs.

Kyle Siemens paced the Huskies with 256 yards in the air with two touchdowns, while Tyler Chow had 143 yards on the ground and a TD. Colton Klassen had 107 yards receiving and two scores, and Joey Trumpy caught nine passes for 98 yards.

The Mustangs will face the Rouge et Or in the national championship game on Nov. 24 in Quebec City. Earlier Saturday, Laval romped to a 63-0 victory over the St. F-X X-Men in the Uteck Bowl to set up the matchup.

On Saskatchewan's first drive, strong running by Chow and a spearing penalty by the defence laid the groundwork for 22-yard touchdown pass from Siemens to Klassen at the 10:06 mark.

(The Canadian Press)

Saturday, November 17, 2018

COORS LIGHT RECAP: PATS POUNDED 10-4 IN VANCOUVER

Rik Fedyck/VancouverGiants.com
VANCOUVER – The Regina Pats got three goals and an assist from Nick Henry in a 10-4 loss to the Vancouver Giants on Friday night.

The Giants scored the game’s first four goals before Nick Henry potted his ninth and it was 4-1 after one.

Henry added his second of the contest, 10th of the year, early in the frame while shorthanded and the Giants lead was cut to two. Vancouver responded with two from Milos Roman to lead 6-2 after 40 minutes.

The Giants got two more early in the third, and then Jake Leschyshyn picked the top corner on the powerplay for his 14th and the Pats trailed 8-3. After Vancouver got their ninth of the night, Henry completed his hat trick on a two on one rush, his 11th of the year and it was 9-4.

The Giants added another after that and took the two points in a 10-4 final.

The Pats were outshot 45-28, the powerplay was one for seven and the penalty kill five for eight with a shorthanded goal.

Nick Henry had a hat trick and an assist, Jake Leschyshyn put up three points and Max Paddock and Dean McNabb combined to make 35 saves.

Quick Hits
- Nick Henry recorded his second career WHL hat trick, his first since October 14 of 2016 against Kootenay.
- Jake Leschyshyn had a goal and two assists to extend his point streak to nine games, has nine goals and 8 assists in that stretch.
- Austin Pratt has points in five straight with three goals and four assists.

What’s Next?
The Pats are back in action on Saturday night on the road against the Victoria Royals at 9 p.m. Regina time on 620 CKRM. Next home game is Saturday, December 1 against the Prince Albert Raiders. Tickets are available at reginapats.com, the Brandt Centre Box Office and at any Regina Safeway, where Fun Zone tickets are $13 plus tax.

(Phil Andrews/ReginaPats.com)

10 THINGS FOR CAPITAL AUTO GLASS

Photo: Riderville.com
1 - FIRST AND FOREMOST: Hats off to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. They came into Mosaic Stadium for Sunday's CFL Western Semifinal and were the hungrier team, walking away with a 23-18 victory. It was a formidable match-up for the Riders, who saw their season end despite a brilliant 12-6 campaign. The Blue Bombers will be a tough out the rest of the way, but the opponents get better each round. Much respect for the Blue.

2 - ZACH ATTACK: It seemed, unfortunately, the outcome of this game was decided when TSN announced the night before that Zach Collaros wouldn't even be in uniform on Sunday. That's unfortunate on so many levels. However even the Vegas oddsmakers could see it, shifting the Riders from 3-point favourites to 2-point underdogs once they learned of Dave Naylor's report.

3 - NAYSAYERS: To me, what's most disappointing about the way the season ended is that Collaros didn't have a chance to stuff it down the throat of those who said he couldn't regain his 2015 form, and is made of glass. Chris Jones rolled the dice by acquiring Collaros and unfortunately - after taking a season full of pulverizing hits - Zach wasn't available when it mattered most. But you want a coach who will take risks because playing it safe never won anybody anything.

4 - AIR CANADA: The Rider Nation is anxious because the only QB the team has under contract going into 2019 is back-up David Watford, but they are advised to relax. 6 of 9 CFL teams are in the same boat including Edmonton, Calgary and BC. A whopping 69% of voters in a Twitter poll said they didn't want to see Brandon Bridge back in Green & White next season. However I voted "yes". The team has 3 years invested in him, he's a good person, and I don't give up on people.

BIG MAC: By the way it’s not news that Offensive Coordinator Stephen McAdoo is returning in 2019. It would’ve been news if he WASN’T returning. But it’s no surprise. Mac is a top Lieutenant in the Jones Army.

5 - QB CAROUSEL: In his weekly appearance on 620 CKRM's SportsCage, TSN's Chris Schultz called the upcoming QB Lottery "fascinating" and if possible, that's an understatement. Atop every team's wishlist is 2017 CFL MVP Mike Reilly but not everybody's going to be able to sign him. You'd think Montreal's Johnny Manziel might be made available via trade but a whopping 64% of poll respondents in Saskatchewan gave the thumbs-down to that idea. Would you?

6 - NO MAAS: Last week the Edmonton Eskimos announced they are retaining the services of Head Coach Jason Maas despite the fact they missed the playoffs at 9-9 in a year where Edmonton is hosting the Grey Cup. Imagine if the Riders had missed the playoffs in 2013 when we hosted! They would've cleaned house. However the popular notion of why Esks GM Brock Sunderland kept Maas is that he believes that's the best way to keep pending FA Mike Reilly. Time will tell if the scheme worked.

7 - ARGOS: Who'da thunk that Duron Carter would outlast Marc Trestman in Toronto? And who'da thunk Toronto would fire their Head Coach less than a calendar year after winning a Grey Cup? You'd think winning a championship would buy a CFL coach at least one season (i.e. the clock doesn't start ticking until after Year 1). A popular question out there is: does Trestman coach in the CFL again?

8 - CFL HQ: After a Year 1 love-in, CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie must be getting used to being the bad guy in Year 2. In the past few weeks he's had to answer for "missed calls" by the referees (shouldn't the Director of Officiating be speaking on that?), and now coaches are upset over the enforcement of a salary cap on football operations. Another popular question right now is: Is the CFL headed in the right direction? I want to believe that it is because I’m a huge fan of Randy Ambrosie.

9 - DIV FINALS: It's Hamilton at Ottawa in the East and Winnipeg at Calgary in the West. If I have a rooting interest, it's the Tiger-Cats and our old friend Eric Tillman, who's their GM. Saskatchewan has fierce rivalries against the other 3 teams in the Final Four! No matter who emerges, it's going to make for a heckuva 106th Grey Cup in Edmonton and the SportsCage will be there live, broadcasting from Radio Row in the Shaw Convention Centre.

10 - RANDOM THOUGHTS: A labour impasse has caused the cancellation of Friday night's Saskatchewan Rush preseason game in Saskatoon. However I'm told to expect some good news perhaps as early as today. A strike in the NLL would suck for us Rush fans. ... Why is the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony televised on TSN but not the Canadian Football Hall of Fame induction? ... Two thumbs up from the Monday Morning Goalie for the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, chronicling the history of the iconic band Queen. However the Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga flick A Star Is Born is better by a smidge. If you can, check them both out.

Y'er welcome,
RP
@rodpedersen