Our Calgary Colts made a convincing statement Sunday afternoon at Mosaic Stadium, winning their Prairie Conference semi-final 17-3 over the Regina Thunder, ending the Thunder season for the second straight season. Unlike the weekend before, where they beat the Saskatoon Hilltops on their home field, in the last regular season game, there was no asterisk beside this one:
– First of all, weather conditions were essentially perfect. When temperatures are hovering in the mid-teens on a mid-October day in Regina, and when winds are generally light, it doesn’t get much better. If you had to look for a challenging field condition, all that you could muster would be the contrast between the sunlit areas and the shadows. That’s it.
– Both teams benefitted from and were victims of pass interference calls which left some room for debate. That said, calls went both ways, so no discernable advantage either way. The Colts defense, however, made a bold statement when they defended a first and goal from the 1 yard line in the first quarter (the result of one of those pass interference calls). The Thunder learned there and then that the Colts had come to play
– For the second straight game, the Colts offensive line established itself, with nary a holding call. They were not facing the Hilltop second and third stringers on this occasion.
– #24 Dylan Minshull again led the Colt ball possession offence. He was particularly impressive in the second half when it was no secret that he would be carrying the rock, so to speak. He consistently gained valuable yardage, sharply reducing the Thunder’s chances of staging a comeback. And, after an early fumble, he protected the ball down the stretch.
– The defensive backs were ball hawks, defensive ends #72 Tariq Lachance and #76 Akida Lewis batted down balls and created havoc and the defensive tackles and linebackers filled holes limiting the Thunder offense. It was impressive team defense.
The Colts have little time to savour this victory. As expected, the Hilltops disposed of the Winnipeg Rifles and have retained home field for next Sunday’s PFC final. Victory in Saskatoon will require another disciplined 60 minute effort. The Colts now know what it takes; we look forward to seeing them play that way again.