Colts win PFC regular season title; top Hilltops to go 8-0
- October 08, 2012
Jeff MacKinnon Media coordinator
The Calgary Colts have run the table to finish the 2012 Prairie Football Conference regular season standing at the top of the hill.
The Colts stared down rival Saskatoon Hilltops Sunday afternoon at McMahon Stadium, winning a battle of two of the country’s top teams 30-19 to finish the regular season 8-0 and keep the No. 1 ranking in the Canadian Junior Football League.
The Colts have been No. 1 since knocking off the Hilltops on the opening weekend of the season back in August.
Calgary now gets ready to host the Regina Thunder on Oct. 14 in the PFC semifinal. The winner of that contest will face the survivor of the Hilltops versus Edmonton Wildcats clash for the PFC title on Oct. 21. If the Colts win next Sunday the PFC title game will be at McMahon.
“I’m not sure we envisioned 8-0 when we started (the season) but it happened so it feels pretty good,” said Colts head coach John Stevens.
“We know the chances are that we’ll have the Hilltops here again in a couple of weeks. But, we’ve put ourselves in a position where we get to play at home.”
Derek Cooper’s second touchdown pass of the afternoon, a nice 16-yard catch by Ben Hnatiuk in the corner of the endzone with 1:30 remaining, secured the victory.
Nik Petros caught the Colts’ other TD, making a tough grab at the goal-line in the third quarter to put the Colts up to stay 21-19.
Quarterback Jeremy Long came on in short yardage and snuck over from three yards out on the first play of the second quarter to give Calgary a 14-10 lead.
Kalon Bauman got the festivities off to an explosive start by returning the opening kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown.
The Colts relied heavily in the second half on Cam Fox, who bullied his way to 86 yards on 11 carries. Fox is normally third on the depth chart in the backfield behind Chucks Okafor and Dustin Whetton but took the spotlight Sunday.
“I took advantage of the opportunity,” he said. “I knew what I could do, the coach knew what I could do. We have a lot of depth. I just had to wait for my chance.”
Cooper finished with 25 completions on 34 attempts for 297 yards, with the two TDs and one interception.
Cooper spread the ball around quite well. Jimmy Ralph had eight catches for 108 yards. Petros made five grabs for 61. Hnatiuk and Matt Lamoureux had four catches each.
Cooper said patience was a virtue for the Colts against the Hilltops.
“We know that they are not going to give up the big play,” he said.
“We had to put together big drives and keep their offence off the field. That was key for us.”
Defensively Jermaine Gabriel led with five tackles and a pair of assists. Richard Pilkington and Vince Greco were credited with four tackles each. The Colts were without captain Stephen Dereniwski at linebacker due to injury.
Stevens praised all three phases of his team’s game against the Hilltops.
“I think offensively, defensively and with special teams we did well,” he said.
“We knew we’d have to play well in all three to beat the Hilltops because they are obviously a quality football team. They are well coached and they know what they are doing.
“In the end we persevered. I’m very, very proud of the team for their efforts and how they performed today.”