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FCC2017: Run game steers Saskatchewan to opening day win

07/11/2017, 8:15pm CST
By Football Canada

Sask Wins Opener at Football Canada Cup

By establishing a successful run game early, Saskatchewan won their opening day game against New Brunswick 37-1.

Saskatchewan will face Ontario for the second straight year in the semi-finals on Tuesday July 11th.  New Brunswick will battle their Maritime counterpart Nova Scotia on the same day.

New Brunswick got on the scoreboard first as Saskatchewan’s Bennett Stusek was taken down in the end zone to earn a single.

Quarterback Josh Donnelly had a two yard rushing touchdown to give Saskatchewan the lead in the first quarter.

Only 40 seconds into the second quarter, Donnelly connected with Adam LaBrash for a five yard touchdown pass.  Later in the frame, Matthew Wilson snuck into the end zone for a one yard major.  Additionally, Dominique Dheilly grabbed the pass for a two point conversion.

With less than two minutes before the half, Donnelly found Emmett Steadman for a four yard touchdown pass.

At halftime, Saskatchewan enjoyed a 30-1 lead over New Brunswick.

Saskatchewan had the only scoring play of the second half as Tanner Szakacs had a three yard touchdown reception.

Player of the Game for Saskatchewan were Donnelly (offence) and Daniel Okpoko (defence).  New Brunswick Players of the Game were Matthew Lafleur (offence) and Lucas Cormier (defence).

While their game wasn’t perfect, Saskatchewan was satisfied with their victory.

“The big key for us was just executing,” Saskatchewan Head Coach Sheldon Gray said.  “We had a game plan we wanted to execute and we were able to do that well, not 100 percent but enough to win the game.”

Gray said the offence played a key role in the victory, especially in the first half of the game.

“Josh Donnelly is a seasoned vet and was in the tournament last year so we know what he can do,” he added.  “We were able to match that with a pretty good running game.”

“We still need to execute in all facets of the game. We’ve got to better to win the next game for sure.”

As for New Brunswick, they will go back to the drawing board and improve their game after Saturday’s loss.

“We have to work from our mistakes,” assessed New Brunswick Head Coach Chris Hopkins.  “I think our guys were all over the ball.”

“Our defence was hungry for the football but there were opportunities even in the first half that we missed.  We’re a great football team that can build off those mistakes.  We have to make sure not to make those mistakes twice but I am proud of our guys.”

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