Wildcats Silence Rifles
The Winnipeg Rifles opened up their 11th PFC season in a very unique way as they hosted the Edmonton Wildcats in “Sunday Brunch Football” as the Rifles kicked off the 2012 campaign with a 34-20 loss to the Cats in a 10AM start.
Ex-Manitoba Bison Jon Kiesman started at quarterback for the Rifles as he edged out 3-year vet Tyler Vieira on the strength of his camp performance as well as his efforts in a 39-32 preseason loss to the Regina Thunder last Saturday in Yorkton.
The Rifles forced the first turnover of the day as Andrew Kleinsasser picked up a Jordan Samoil fumble and took of all of 3 plays to score as Jon Kiesman ran 15 yards to give the home side a 7-0 lead over 3 and a half minutes into the frame.
The Cats would thwart a Rifle drive with an Adam Laurensse interception in the end zone. Edmonton would march the ball 90 yards in 10 plays, capped off by a Ryan Smith 6-yard touchdown grab.
The Rifles replied to the tying score by going on a long drive of their own which was highlighted by a pair of huge Martin Hovi runs including one of 28 yards. The 13-play drive wrapped up with Brad Mikoluff’s 23-yard field goal to put the home side up 10-7. The visitors would drive down the field in a downpour as Samoil ran 10 yards for the major score that put the Cats back in front 14-10 halfway through the sandwich stanza.
Jason Kelly would return the ensuing kickoff 53 yards to the Edmonton 47 but the offense would struggle until Choe Sesay ran 27 yards then Brett Carter reeled in a 30 yard touchdown grab from Kiesman to put the homesiders back in front by a field goal at 17-14.
The Rifles would up their edge to 20-14 as Mikoluff was good on an 11-yard chip shot. After a missed Edmonton field goal, the Rifles marched, aided in large part by a pair of Wildcat penalties for contacting the kicker and unnecessary roughness.
The Rifles went 2-and-out on their first drive of the second half and the Cats would capitalize on their opening drive by moving 72 yards on 13 plays which would end with Samoil’s 2-yard TD run and with the convert put Edmonton back in front 21-20.
Kiesman would fire his 3rd pick of the day late in the frame into the mitts of Laurensse who took it to the Rifle 39. On the first play of the 4th, Samoil dashed 25 yards for his 3rd TD run of the day to expand the Edmonton lead to 28-20. 3rd-year pivot Tyler Vieira came on to begin the fourth quarter.
The Cats continued their ball control mastery as they embarked on another long drive highlighted by a 38-yard Ryan Smith grab in addition to a fake punt run by David Ness. Ness would hit a 30-yard field goal to give the visitors an 11-point edge.
Any shot at a Rifles comeback was denied by the Wildcats offensive dominance as they ate up lots of real estate along the ground as Samoil ran roughshod all over the Rifle defense throughout the second half. Ness added a chip shot of his own to round out the scoring.
After the loss, Rifles bench boss Greg Graceffo said he was happy with Kiesman’s first half effort but admitted the interceptions hurt and his club” made too many mistakes in critical situations to help a good Football team win a Football game”. Kiesman said he & his mates had a letdown in the second half and “came out really flat and we need to turn that around.” He agreed with his head coach when he said the interceptions did him & his club in.
Next game sees the Wildcats take on their cross town rival Huskies this Saturday August 18th 7:00pm at Clarke Park. The Huskies will be hosting this Saturday nights game.
All Edmonton Wildcat practices are at Rundle Park and the players take to the field around 7:00 pm nightly.
Edmonton Wildcats Media Coordinator
Phone (780) 718-3447