Wildcats Lay Claim to Conference Title for 2009

The Edmonton Wildcats came into Saskatoon on a mission to redeem themselves for a playoff loss to the Hilltops back in 2007 and to upset the Saskatoon Hilltops on their home turf. The Wildcats did not disappoint as they put together a gritty performance to win the Conference Title by a score of 33 -20 in front of 300 rain soaked Wildcat fans that traveled from Edmonton on that day. The rain started coming down just before game time and turned the Gordie Howe Bowl into what can only be described as the Mud Bowl. But that did not deter the Wildcats as they were determined and focused on this day.

The first quarter saw the Wildcats go two-and-out on the first drive of the game while the hosts went on a 7-play drive on their first possession, but couldn’t put points on the board. But the Hilltops picked up the first break as a Michael Waldron punt was muffed and Jared Wipf recovered the fumble at the Edmonton 8-yard-line. Mitch Stevens reeled in an 8-yard touchdown toss from Chase Bradshaw on the next play to give Saskatoon a 7-0 lead.
The Edmonton offense would get their bearings, picking up their initial first down 11-and-a-half minutes into the frame and tying the game with a little over 2 minutes left as Kevin Wuthrich hauled in a 25-yard strike from Andy Pilon to end the first quarter.

Hilltops punter Ian Miller would have to give the Wildcats a safety to make it 9-7 Edmonton. On the ensuing Shiane Runcie kickoff return, the Wildcats were nailed with a double whammy as they took holding & objectionable conduct calls, putting them deep in their own end. A 65-yard Hnidan punt would bail Edmonton out of the jam.

Rory Connop would force Bradshaw to fumble, with Miguel Barker jumping on the fumble. That would set-up a Justin McEvoy 6-yard run for the touchdown. On the ensuing play, Ben Hnidan would hit a kickoff single. After a Saskatoon two-and-out, Jerit Lambert would run for 37 yards, but fumbled when his number was called again with Corbin Eskelson recovering at the Saskatoon 2. On the next play, Connop would trap Schuler in the end-zone for a safety. Hnidan would hit a 21-yard field goal for a 21-7 lead and have two cracks at another one compliments of a Lambert 22-yard dash. He would connect on a 47-yarder but a procedure call wiped it out. The 52-yard second chance would be short.

The 2nd half would open with a big bang as Kit Hillis took the kickoff 94 yards for the score to put the champions back in the game at 21-14. The return was the 7th longest in CJFL playoff history. Pilon would find Jerit Lambert for a 49-yard connection and follow up with a 14-yard run, but would be held to a single on the drive as the challengers held a 22-14 lead going to the 4th quarter.

The Wildcats would ice the win three minutes in as Pilon hooked up with Kevin Wuthrich on a 28-yard pass for the major to make it 29-14. Mike Podloski would scoop up a fumble as Hilltop receiver Aaron Haight took a big hit. A 21-yard Hnidan attempt was wide for a 30-14 lead.

The Hilltops would not quit though as they marched down the field and Brayden Klimosko would bull his way in for the touchdown but a two-point convert went incomplete. The Hilltops had another shot, but Matt Lalande struck yet again and intercepted a Bradshaw throw & went for 14 yards which would set up a 16-yard Hnidan chip shot.

Jordan Penner, in his final game, came on for Saskatoon at pivot and would have his first two attempts knocked away. He would find Miller for 27 yards on a 3rd-down gamble and would run for 9 himself, but a give to Schuler on 3rd down went nowhere, the clock ran out & the Wildcats would claim the PFC crown 33-20 and will play the Ontario champions on October 31st.

For Edmonton, Andy Pilon completed 16 of 28 for 226 yds and 0 interceptions, while the ground game picked up 203 total yds with McEvoy running for 110 yds on 23 carries and 1 TD. Kevin Wuthrich would snag 8 catches for 105 yds with a total net offense from the Cats of 422 yds.

The Hilltops pivot Chase Bradshaw was 9 of 26 for 135 yds, 1 TD and threw a pair of picks. The Hilltops ground game saw a total of 112 yds, with Regan Schuller being the leading rusher with 46 yds on 14 carries. The Hilltops had a total net offense of 250 yds.

The previous nights PFC banquet saw 9 Wildcats pick up outstanding player awards along with All-star and Rookie awards. They are as follows: Andy Pilon, outstanding offensive back, Jerit Lambert Rookie of the year and All-star Rookie award, Kevin Wuthrich Outstanding receiver and All-star receiver, Ben Hnidan All-star Rookie Punter and Place Kicker, Offensive All-star Place Kicker, Steve Prodan All-star Offensive line, Justin McEvoy Offensive All-Star Running Back. On defense Steven Giang picked up Defensive Line All-star, Mike Podloski All-star Linebacker, Corbin Sharun All-Star Defensive Back and David Berg All-Star Defensive Back

On a special note this past week former Punter and Place Kicker Ryan Elaschuk from the Edmonton Wildcats signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and dressed for the game against the Stampeders on Saturday in Calgary.

All Edmonton Wildcat practices are at Rundle Park and the players take to the field at around 7:30 pm nightly.


Stuart Gibson
Edmonton Wildcats Media Coordinator
Phone (780) 221-3671