SASKATOON – When it comes to playoff football, Saskatoon Hilltops head coach Tom Sargeant has a pretty simple philosophy.
“We had to be physical today, we knew the game was going to be won and lost in the trenches,” Sargeant said after the Hilltops downed the Calgary Colts 38-16 in Sunday’s PFC Final.
Against a tough Colts defence, the Hilltops ground game proved to be the difference as Logan Fischer rushed for 170 yards and four touchdowns.
“Our O-line absolutely dominated and without them we couldn’t run the ball,” Fischer said.
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The Hilltops game plan was so run-heavy, Jared Andreychuk’s only passing touchdown was caught by a defensive lineman when fifth-year stalwart Matt Kozun had his number called late in the fourth quarter.
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In a game where yards were hard to come by at times for the Hilltops offence, it was their defence that made arguably the biggest play of the game when backup safety James Vause pulled down an interception midway through the third quarter.
With the Colts down 17-8 and threatening to score, quarterback John Kiesman forced a throw back into the middle of the field and Vause made him pay with the first of his two picks on the day.
“We have a lot of respect for that team. They didn’t pass too much over the middle but they were kind of setting it up later in the game and I was lucky enough to be in a few spots. It feels good,” Vause said.
Calgary never really recovered after that and now the Hilltops are headed to the Canadian Bowl for the fifth time in the last six years – this time on home turf.
“I’ve been to two, but they’ve both been in Langley and I can’t explain my excitement for playing here. I love this field,” Andreychuk said.
The Hilltops will battle the Okanagan Sun for the national championship on Nov. 7.