The WWCFL championship was on the line this past weekend when provincial rivals the Regina Riot and Saskatoon Valkyries met on the turf at Mosaic Stadium. It was the third time they had faced off against each other this season, and the highest stakes game ever played between the two teams that have battled for women’s football supremacy in western Canada for the better half of the last decade.
Gloomy skies overhead cleared up just in time for kickoff, sparing the 900+ fans in attendance from getting soaked. Instead, those fans got to witness a Saskatoon Valkyries team that came hot out of the gate. The visiting team was able to take a score of 10-0 into the second quarter.
Things continued to look grim for the home team until the Riot defense was able to force an interception midway through the second quarter. This turned out to be the momentum swing the Riot would need, as they took the ball and marched it down the field for a touchdown with 2:55 remaining in the first half. The score at halftime would remain 10-7 in favour of the Valkyries.
The second half would be just as evenly matched, as the defenses on both sides of the ball continued to make it hard for the other team to score. A missed field goal attempt by the Riot late in the third quarter would result in a single point when the Valkyrie returner struggled to haul in the ball and couldn’t escape her own end zone, making the score 10-8.
In the fourth quarter, the Riot would again take the momentum and turn it in their favour with a huge 62 yard scramble by quarterback Aimee Kowalski. This took the ball all the way down to the Valkyrie five yard line. But it was here where the Valkyries would make their stand, causing a turnover on downs after stopping a 3rd and 1 rush attempt by the Riot short of the goal line.
With time starting to tick down, opportunities were starting to run out for the Riot offense. But the pressure didn’t seem to make a difference, as they were able to drive the field once again thanks in large part to a big reception along the sideline by wide receiver Jenna Koller. The Riot continued to drive the ball until they had positioned themselves for a 3rd and 1 attempt at the Valkyrie goal line for the second consecutive drive. This time the Riot would not be denied, as Mallory Starkey ran the ball in for her second touchdown of the game. The Riot would take the lead 14-10 with 2:25 remaining in the game.
The Valkyries would end up with two more potential chances to march the field and take the lead to win the game, but both drives were snuffed out by quarterback sacks provided by veteran Riot linebacker Adrienne Zuck. The Riot would win the game and the WWCFL championship by a final score of 14-10.
“I’m extremely proud of our coaches and athletes,” said Head Coach Olivier Eddie following the game. “Nothing was going our way early on and our team just kept fighting. We have a resilient group and our athletes did everything right to deserve this championship.”
When asked about their opponents, the second year Riot head coach had nothing but nice things to say.
“The Valkyries coaching staff and players came out very strong. They played fast and physical and they caused us all sorts of issues. Hats off to them for a great game.”
Eddie also felt he had to say something about the fan support that was shown to the Riot at the championship game and over the course of the entire season.
“Having over 900 fans out here today is special. I think the Regina community is really starting to appreciate the special group that the Regina Riot are. Our fans played their part in making this championship game that much more memorable. The atmosphere was great and we are thankful for their support.”
The Regina Riot will take the rest of the summer off, but will pick things back up later this year with their annual fall camp.