Thunder stun Colts in PFC semifinal
- October 15, 2012
Colts' receiver Richard Sawatzky scores on a 10-yards passing play in the first quarter
(Photo courtesy of Shawn Thompson, SilverFox Photography, silverfoxphotography.ca)
Jeff MacKinnon Media coordinator
What had been a magical season for eight weeks came to a sudden stop for the Calgary Colts on Sunday afternoon at McMahon Stadium.
After romping through the Prairie Football Conference regular season with an 8-0 record, the Colts were upset 24-21 by the Regina Thunder in the PFC semifinals.
The Thunder passed their way downfield in the final minute and capped off an impressive drive with Will Heward’s four-yard touchdown reception with 17 seconds remaining.
The Colts now have to deal with having their hopes of running the table and winning the program’s third national title end.
“As long as you play and give it your all you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of; you can keep your head up,” Colts head coach John Stevens told reporters.
“I thought our players did that. At some critical times we made some mistakes and they made a couple more plays than we did.
“You can’t fault our guys for lack of effort.”
The Thunder advance to meet the Saskatoon Hilltops in Saskatoon Oct. 14 for the PFC title.
Heward’s TD was the only scoring play of the second half.
A crucial play in the final minutes came when the Thunder smothered Cam Fox on the Regina 42 on a pitch right on second and four with 1:20 remaining. A first down may have allowed the Colts to run out the clock.
The Thunder fumbled the ensuing punt but a no-yards call gave them the ball at their own 24 and they quickly marched to the winning score on four completions.
Camille Lagimodiere won a battle for the ball with Colts’ Jermaine Gabriel for a 34-yard pass play that took the ball to the four.
The Colts played a chunk of the second quarter and the entire second half without starting quarterback Derek Cooper, who was injured while running for a first down. He reported after the game that he had dislocated his left shoulder.
“I know it was out and they popped it back in,” said Cooper, who was playing his last junior football game.
Jeremy Long came on in relief and led the Colts to a pair of touchdowns that gave them a 21-17 lead at halftime.
A pass interference call in the endzone set up a one-yard run by Chucks Okafor with 2:30 left in the second quarter.
Then, with 35 seconds remaining Rodreke Joseph made a beautiful catch in the endzone on a 36-yard toss from Long.
“I just wanted to step in and do my very best,” said Long.
“I wanted to give us a chance and hopefully we could carry the momentum on like we did going into the half. Obviously we stalled.
“There’s some plays I want back but obviously that’s the way it falls right now.”
Richard Sawatzky made a nice catch for an 11-yard TD from Cooper in the first quarter to knot the game at seven.
Quarterback Asher Hastings and his top target Clayton Cooke burned the Colts for two TDs in the first half, from 21 yards out to open the scoring at 6:40 into the game and of 37 yards 3:40 into the second quarter.
Ben Koot added a 32 yard field goal.