On a cool and sunny Saturday, the Saskatchewan Huskies booked their ticket to their third straight matchup at the Hardy Cup with a 39-17 win over the visiting UBC Thunderbirds.
Quarterback Mason Nyhus continued his dominance in the home field by going 25/37 below center, while throwing for 381 yards and three touchdowns.
The fourth-year interlocutor has never lost at Griffith Stadium since he was named the team’s starter in 2019.
But he, like the rest of his team, entered the 2021 season with a mission: to win a Vanier Cup.
The momentum and determination behind their will to win were further boosted by the lost 2020 season, and so far they have met their goals.
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The team secured first place in the Canadian Western Conference, gaining home-court advantage during the playoffs, and after Saturday’s victory, the team has ticked another box.
“It’s amazing you know. It’s hard to put into words all the work we did during the offseason, “linebacker Nick Wiebe said. “You see the faces of the guys who were working all year and couldn’t play last year, unfortunately. You can tell it means a lot to these guys and I’m really excited for them. “
“We were there in the second half and the guys were like, ‘This is what we trained for last year and that’s why we’re here,'” added catcher Sam Baker. “So yeah, absolutely, that’s in the back of the head and it shows, all the work that was done this year is on the field.”
The team has relied on its home advantage dating back to the last three seasons, including the playoffs; In that span, the Huskies have gone 11-0 and outscored their opponents 380-183.
“Obviously just being home, everything about being home, sleeping in your own bed, eating your own food at night, it all makes a difference,” Baker explained. “We are happy to be here again next weekend and now we are only playing football week by week.”
“Playing at home is an advantage for sure, but we know that we are going to get the best chance of all the teams when they come in here,” added Wiebe. “I mean, we have a reputation at Griffiths for playing pretty good football, so I think every team that comes in here knows that.”
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Even if that means playing in the snow, in temperatures that could hover around -20 ° C in the later stages of his Hardy Cup date with the Manitoba Bisons.
“We hope for the best weather, but we know that if you play in the cold you are a good team, so we cannot complain,” laughed Baker.
Although they more than doubled the Thunderbirds ‘score, the Huskies were limited to just 65 total rushing yards in the afternoon, something no other team has done with the Dogs’ acclaimed running game this season as they had reached the mark of the century in all six of his previous games.
However, with the running game on hiatus, the receivers shone as the team’s offense focused on an passing attack.
The biggest benefactors were Baker and Daniel Perry, who finished the game with 148 and 143 yards, respectively, while each managed a touchdown.
“Like I say, every game has a life of its own, right, and every game plan … You have to ride the wave a little bit,” explained head coach Scott Flory.
The victory was celebrated shortly thereafter as the Huskies look to their next challenge on the road to the Vanier Cup: a Hardy Cup showdown on Saturday against a Manitoba team they beat two weeks ago in Winnipeg.
“It’s, it sure is, it’s good, it’s what we wanted to prepare for and we know it’s going to be a great game next week,” Flory said.
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