Mitchell Blair | Riderville.com Staff
REGINA -- The Saskatchewan Roughriders want to be playing at Mosaic Stadium for the 101st Grey Cup on Nov. 24. They knew that to have a good chance at doing so, they would have to host at least one playoff game and set that as a goal for the 2013 season.
They can check that one off the list as they will host at the very worst the Western Semi-Final on No. 10.
In a game they had to win, the Riders convincingly downed the B.C Lions in a game that was over by halftime as the Rider defense forced many turnovers thanks in part to wet conditions. The game did not start well for Saskatchewan as they fumbled on their first two possessions, but after that, the Lions could not hang onto the football, committing seven turnovers with perhaps the first one being the big play of the football game.
With the Lions leading 7-3 in the first quarter and in Saskatchewan territory, BC quarterback Thomas DeMarco rolled out and was met by John Chick forcing the ball to come loose. Weldon Brown was there to scoop up the free pigskin and scamper into the endzone giving the team a lead they would never give up. For the linebacker, it was his first career touchdown and he says it was special.
“It was big for me and it was very exciting because my wife was here, so I was able to do it with her here,” Brown said. “It was just a case of putting myself in the right spot and make the play. I was just hoping I could pick it up cleanly and I did.”
Brown says it was a great night for his defence as they seemingly confused DeMarco, who threw four interceptions on the night while having another two, including what would have been a second touchdown by Brown, called back because of penalty. The linebacker says they didn’t do anything different and just played their game.
“We just played a disciplined style of game,” Brown explained. “We just tried to give him a good mix of man-to-man or zone and disguise it as late as we could. It was just one of those nights where we got rewarded several times for playing the type of football we know we can.”
Weston Dressler had a big night as well, catching three passes for 107 yards and a touchdown as he inches closer to a 1,000 yard season. Dressler said after the game this was Saskatchewan Roughrider football the way its supposed to be.
“Defence played great again, while offensively we put some points on the board and made some big plays," he said.
“Its nice to be home for the playoffs, we obviously have bigger goals in front of us, but we have reached a major one and now its time to finish the regular season off strong and get ready for the playoffs.”
Head Coach Corey Chamblin was also very satisfied at game’s end knowing his team has gotten that home playoff game they desired.
“It feels pretty good,” Chamblin said. “This is my second year and we continue to improve on doing what we want to do here. Having a home playoff game was one of the goals we have had on the board all season and its one we can check off tonight. It’s not the ultimate goal, but it’s a big piece of getting to where we want to be. There’s still a lot to do to play in the Grey Cup, but we have an opportunity to play one game here to get to that game and that’s what we set out to do from day one of camp.”
While the team knows it will finish no worse than second in the West, they still have an outside shot at finishing first. The green and white can make it interesting by beating first place Calgary next weekend and then hoping the Stamps can get knocked off by the Lions in the season finale with Saskatchewan beating Edmonton. Chamblin says his guys are very excited at knowing they will go to Calgary with something to play for.
“The guys are ready to put some overtime in," Chamblin said. “They are already in there talking about Calgary so I know they will be ready to go when we start getting ready for them. It will be a big game, it will be like a playoff game and I’m already excited for it.