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Saskatchewan Roughriders celebrate first game back with win over BC Lions

Click to play video: 'Former Roughrider Gene Makowsky on being back at Mosaic Stadium' Former Roughrider Gene Makowsky on being back at Mosaic Stadium
WATCH: Former Saskatchewan Roughrider Gene Makowsky talks about what it's like being back in big crowd at Mosaic Stadium for a game. – Aug 7, 2021

Saskatchewan Roughriders players, fans, and former players celebrated the team’s first game in more than 628 days Friday with a win.

The Roughriders defeated the BC Lions 33-29.

Roughrider’s veteran and current MLA and Minister of Advanced Education Gene Makowsky was in attendance on Friday and told Global News it was great to be back in the stadium.

Read more: Regina hospitality industry seeing green as Rider return kicks off

“It was so much fun,” Makowsky said. “Seeing people you hadn’t seen in quite a while, people that usually sit around you or folks that work at the game.”

“Sometimes you forget how things go and it was great to be back.”

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“People talk about their Rider families, you sit next to the same people for 30 years or whatever it may be and you might not have seen them in a while.”

Read more: Saskatchewan Roughriders return to action for first time in nearly 2 years

Friday’s game was the first in Saskatchewan since the 2020 CFL season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click to play video: 'CFL set to return to the field after more than 600 days' CFL set to return to the field after more than 600 days
CFL set to return to the field after more than 600 days – Aug 5, 2021

Riders Quarterback Cody Fajardo said the atmosphere felt like Grey Cup energy.

“I just had a conversation with myself, ‘just go out there (and) play football, whatever happens, happens,’” Fajardo told reporters after the game.

“I couldn’t even process it to be honest, it just happened so fast,” wide receiver Brayden Lenius said. “It was incredible. It was something that we’ve been working for and waiting for the last 18 months, and all that buzz — I was trying to give the people what they wanted.”

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Read more: Return to football ‘like riding a bike’ for Riders QB Cody Fajardo

Head Coach Craig Dickenson told reporters after the game he felt grateful to be coaching in Saskatchewan.

“I just think this is such a special place in a lot of ways, you know. Going through that tunnel, it was a neat feeling and walking out, it really feels like family when you walk out here,” Dickenson said. “I feel like I know these people in the stands even though I don’t.”

“It was one of the best days of the year for me,” he added.

Read more: With large gatherings open again in Saskatchewan, is it safe to go? Experts advise caution

Saskatchewan Roughriders fans’ next chance to watch their team play at home is on Aug. 14 at 8 p.m. against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan Roughriders o-linemen hoping to be like milk and cookies' Saskatchewan Roughriders o-linemen hoping to be like milk and cookies
Saskatchewan Roughriders o-linemen hoping to be like milk and cookies – Aug 5, 2021

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