The Regina Riot Road Trip (sponsored by Moose Mountain Bus Lines) continued this past weekend as the team rolled into Saskatoon to challenge their provincial rival Saskatoon Valkyries. It was the first meeting between the two teams this season, and the stakes were high. The result could end up playing a significant factor in which team finishes first in the Prairie Conference this season.
Things got off to a quick start, with Riot quarterback Aimee Kowalski connecting with receiver Jenna Koller for a 60-yard touchdown on the second play from scrimmage. The Valkyries struck back almost immediately with a return touchdown on the ensuing kickoff.
That would be the only scoring that the Valkyries could muster on this night. The Riot defense put the clamps down on Saskatoon all evening, not allowing their offense to put points on the board throughout the duration of the contest. The Riot would score three more touchdowns during the game, leading to a final score of 28 – 7.
“We were quite pleased to head back home with the win and a 21 point advantage in what we like to call our home-and-home series” said Head Coach Olivier Eddie after the game. “Being in the driver seat means that the odds are in our favour to host multiple playoff games.”
The strong defensive showing by the Riot is promising following an offseason scheme change on that side of the ball. Particularly impressive was the play of safety Mira Trebilcock, who Eddie pointed out played sideline-to-sideline in her efforts to defend the pass.
But just because the Riot won their first match up with the Valkyries does not guarantee future success. Last year the Riot were also successful in defeating Saskatoon on the road, but failed to capitalize and lost the return matchup when they hosted the Valks later that season.
“We need to avoid complacency” said Eddie afterwards. “We have a good football team but in this league you need to be great to win it all. We have to keep our foot on the gas pedal.”
The Riot will have their next opportunity to put the pedal to the metal in just over a week when they play host to their home opener against the Winnipeg Wolfpack. In the meantime, the players and coaches will have a break from game action as they enjoy their single bye week of the season.
The Riot home opener against Winnipeg will take place on Sunday, May 27th at Mosaic Stadium. Kickoff is at 2pm. Tickets are available at the door.