By Ben Matchett, Dinos Asst. AD (Communications)
CALGARY – The University of Calgary Dinos are headed to the Hardy Cup for the ninth consecutive year following a 47-17 semifinal win over the Saskatchewan Huskies Saturday afternoon at McMahon Stadium.
The Dinos will face the winner of the other Canada West semifinal between Regina and UBC in the 80th Hardy Cup game next Saturday at 1 p.m. local, live on Shaw TV. Should Regina win, the game will be at Mosaic Stadium, while a UBC victory would result in a rematch of last year's conference championship at McMahon Stadium.
Calgary ended the Huskies' season for the second year in row thanks to a full team effort that got contributions from all three facets as the Dinos rattled off 40 unanswered points after going down 8-0 to start the game.
"We have a lot of work still to do – there were some mistakes in this game we still have to fix – but the effort, energy, and the enthusiasm our guys played with was sure exciting to watch," said Dinos head coach Wayne Harris. "They gave us everything they had today. All three phases of the game produced points, and you usually get a favourable outcome when that's the case. Again, it just comes back to effort, and the energy those big plays provided lifted the rest of the team."
The two teams got things going offensively in the second quarter after both suffered from miscues in the first 15 minutes. Tyler Chow's two-yard TD run early in the second quarter put the Huskies up 8-0.
Calgary's next drive set the tone for the 40-point outburst. The Dinos drove 100 yards downfield, finding pay dirt when Dallas Boath hauled in a spectacular one-handed catch in the back of the end zone. The Dinos' next drive also ended with a major as Sinagra lofted a perfect ball to Austen Hartley for a 46-yard touchdown, and Calgary took a 16-8 lead into the half.
Adam Laurensse put the Dinos in great position to start the third quarter with a 70-yard kickoff return, and the Dinos were right back in the end zone two plays later when Sinagra found a wide-open defensive lineman Connor McGough to make it 23-8.
As the Huskies continued to struggle, the Dinos put the game away with a sequence where they scored 10 points in just 14 seconds. Backed up on offence, Saskatchewan conceded a safety. On the ensuing kickoff, Denzel Radford took it 94 yards to the house, and Niko DiFonte added a kickoff single as the Dinos extended the lead to 33-8.
Robert Stewart and Josiah Joseph added fourth-quarter touchdowns for the Dinos, while the Huskies did show some life with Drew Burko on the field in relief of Kyle Siemens. Burko found Mitch Hillis behind coverage for an 82-yard touchdown in the first minute of the quarter.
Burko and Siemens put up nearly identical numbers, with Siemens completing 13 of 21 passes for 150 yards, while Burko went 12-for-21 for 146 yards – although he did throw a pair of interceptions. Hillis was their top target, with 129 yards on six catches.
Sinagra continued to look more comfortable in the pocket in his third start, completing 17 of 27 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns. Hartley was the leading target with 145 yards on seven receptions to lead the way for the Calgary offence – which seems to be finding its stride at the right time.
"Every game gets a little better – we're healthier, Adam is getting more snaps under his belt…he was able to make some fantastic throws today and the receivers were able to get open. Our running game was very strong as well, which keeps the defence off-balance."
Micah Teitz led the Dinos defensively with 6.5 tackles, with Nick Statz adding five. McGough added four tackles, adding two sacks on the day to go with his offensive touchdown.
Photo by David Moll