Hilltops beat Regina 36-24 to win PFC Championship.
Ground and pound. That was the game plan for the Saskatoon Hilltops heading into the Prairie Football Conference final against the Regina Thunder at Saskatoon Minor Football Field and that’s how they scored the hard-fought 36-24 victory.
Adam Machart led the 297-yard rushing attack for the Hilltops with 22 carries totalling 206 yards. Machart’s biggest play came on Saskatoon’s first offensive series as he sprinted 49 yards down the middle for a Toppers touchdown 1:30 into the game. Saskatoon extended the lead to 9-0 on a safety less than four minutes later when Hilltops rush end Tom Schnitzler forced Regina quarterback Sawyer Buettner to fumble in the end zone.
Josh Ewanchyna also ran for a 40-yard touchdown on a third and one play in the second quarter to give the Hilltops a 16-10 lead turning the momentum back in Saskatoon’s favour after the Thunder scored ten unanswered points to take their only lead of the game.
Colin Stumborg crashed in for a one-yard touchdown with 23-seconds left in the second quarter to give the Hilltops a 23-10 halftime lead.
The Thunder made it a one-score game early in the third quarter after a fumbled punt would give them the ball at the Hilltops 40. Buettner would hit Lee Brown with a 13-yard touchdown toss to reduce the Hilltops lead to seven.
James Vause added field goals of 33 and 36 yards extending the lead to 12 at 29-17 after three quarters.
Regina kept battling back and found the end zone again just past the seven-minute mark of the final quarter when Victor St. Pierre Laviolette dove over the top for a one-yard touchdown, completing a drive that started on the 16-yard-line.
However, the Hilltops put the game away after getting the ball back with about 5-and-half minutes remaining. A quarterback draw by Jordan Walls and two big second and long completions to Stumborg and John Brown gave the Hilltops a first and goal from the one. Defensive lineman Garth Knittig who comes in on short yardage situations, powered into the end zone to put the game out of reach with 1;36 remaining.
Buettner also threw a touchdown pass to Levi Paul in the second quarter. Eric Maximuik also kicked a 32-yard field goal to round out the Thunder scoring.
The Hilltops who captured their fourth straight PFC title will host the BC Champion V-I Raiders next Sunday in the CJFL semifinal. Opening kick-off will be at 1 p.m. with the broadcast in 92.9 THE BULL signing on at 12;30.