“I can’t put it into words, this is really special. You’re happy to win, you’re sad the season’s over, you’re sad about the fifth years leaving, but all in all, it’s been an unbelievable journey this year,” Hilltops quarterback Jordan Walls said.
The Hilltops forced 10 Fratmen turnovers, including two interceptions from defensive player of the game, Luke Melnyk.
But Saskatoon felt they had the edge from the get-go.
“I think the very first play when they snapped it over his head and we almost scored on a defensive touchdown … that kind of gave me the idea that maybe they were nervous,” Melnyk, who played in his final game as a Hilltop, said.
Walls was making his first Canadian Bowl start and felt the pressure ease after throwing his third touchdown of the game.
It’s Saskatoon’s 20th national championship, but this time, the Hilltops etched their name in the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) history books as the first squad since the league’s inception in 1907 to win four in a row.
“This is really special because, even in my first year, we were on the brink of a four-peat but the fifth years, I’m not going to blame anything on anyone, but they came up short and just, the look on their faces, just utter disappointment and sadness, I think that kind of motivated us too,” Melnyk said.
“These championship teams, they’re immortalized. They’re remembered forever because you lose, you kind of fall by the wayside … but when you’re up on that wall as a national champion and you’ve got a picture, that’s forever,” Hilltops graduating receiver Ryan Turple said.
The team will now enjoy some well-earned time off, but it won’t be long before they start thinking about next year, when the Prairie Football Conference will host the 111th Canadian Bowl.