(ISN) – NEW WESTMINSTER, BC – The matchup for the 78th Hardy Cup was set over the weekend as the Calgary Dinos and Manitoba Bisons came out victorious in their respective Canada West football semifinal games. The Dinos made quick work of the Regina Rams, 56-0, while the Bisons had to overcome a 19-point second half deficit to defeat the Saskatchewan Huskies, 47-39.
The Calgary Dinos’ Andrew Buckley and Johnny Mark, and the Manitoba Bisons’ Jayden McKoy were selected as the Canada West Football Players of the Week. All three players are repeat winners, with Buckley having won in Week 2, Mark receiving the Week 7 honours, and McKoy duplicating his Week 9 feat.
OFFENCE: #8 Andrew Buckley, Quarterback (Calgary Dinos)
The University of Calgary Dinos pitched a shutout in their Canada West semifinal Saturday, defeating the Regina Rams 56-0 – and the offence was once again led by fourth-year quarterback Andrew Buckley.
In just over one half of work, Buckley put up gaudy numbers yet again: he completed 23 of 31 passes for 404 yards and four touchdowns, all four of which came in a 33-point second quarter. And, on a day where the Rams defence keyed in on the run, he also ended up as Calgary’s leading rusher with six carries for 56 yards and a touchdown. His rushing major came on the final drive he directed, early in the third quarter, as he gave way to Eric Dzwilewski for the remainder of the contest.
Of his 404 passing yards, 393 came in the first half as he was surgical in finding his receivers and driving the Dinos back into the Hardy Cup for the seventh straight year, where they’ll look for their seventh straight Canada West title.
DEFENCE: #7 Jayden McKoy, Halfback (Manitoba Bisons)
In the Bisons playoff road win against the #8 Saskatchewan Huskies on Friday, November 8, the Bisons rallied from a 19-point deficit in the second half of the Canada West semifinal while rookie halfback Jayden McKoy sparked the comeback with a pick six in the third quarter.
McKoy stepped in front of a Huskies’ Drew Burko pass and returned the interception for a 54-yard TD return and changed the direction of the playoff game. At the time, Manitoba was reeling as they were down 37-18 with just three minutes gone in the third quarter. McKoy’s defensive scoring play set off a chain reaction that saw the visitors score 22 unanswered points to take control of the contest.
In addition, the 5’11”, 185 lbs. first year player made a diving punt block to cap the third quarter scoring as Manitoba’s Jordan Linnen recovered the ball and ran back the block for a 21-yard TD and close the gap to 37-35.
The Winnipeg native also made another interception earlier in the game (he has now grabbed four interceptions in the last two games) in the second quarter to snuff out a Saskatchewan potential scoring drive. McKoy finished with 1.5 total tackles in the road victory.
SPECIAL TEAMS: #33 Johnny Mark, Kicker/Punter (Calgary Dinos)
University of Calgary kicker Johnny Mark did his part on the scoreboard and in the field position game for the Dinos in their 56-0 win over the Regina Rams in Saturday’s Canada West semifinal.
Mark, a two-time All-Canadian kicker, was perfect on his four field goal tries of the day, connecting from 23, 21, 40, and 21 yards. And, though he wasn’t called on much in the punting department, he certainly made the most of his opportunities: he punted just six times for a total of 282 yards, a whopping 47-yard average – including a game-long 57-yarder. He was also able to pin the Rams inside their own 20 on three occasions.
Manitoba (regular season: 4-4; playoffs: 1-0) travels to play #4 Calgary Dinos (regular season: 6-2; playoffs: 1-0) in the Canada West Final (78th Hardy Cup) playoff game on Saturday, November 15 at 2 p.m. MT live on Shaw TV and CanadaWest.TV.
Image Credit: Calgary Dinos/Manitoba Bisons