For the past two seasons, the Yorkton Raiders football team played in the Moose Jaw High School Football League. They won the past two titles in that league. It was then taken over by Saskatchewan High School Athletics and they created a new league name with the same teams.
It's now called the Saskatchewan Rural Football League, but even a league name change wasn't enough to stop a Cardinals team that just keeps winning. For a third straight season, the Raiders are league champions. They nipped the Swift Current Colts, 31-17 on their home field in the finals.
In the first half alone, Val Declines led things with 165 yards on the ground over 17 carries. Connor Watrych also scored two one-yard touchdowns as the Raiders led 14-0 at the half.
The Colts battled back in the third and they trimmed the deficit to five at 14-9 heading into the final quarter.
A 75-yard interception return for a touchdown by Brad Heskin sealed the game in the fourth as the Raiders won the title for a third straight year.
"We certainly enjoyed that win and we took 24-hours to enjoy it," said Roby Sharpe, head coach. "Swift Current came to town prepared and they played a tough game. We were just able to break it open at the end and win it."
24-hours is all the celebration lasted as the team hit the field on Monday for another big week of practice. They are getting set to host Bishop Mahoney tomorrow afternoon and a provincial title is on the line. Bishop Mahoney beat the Balgonie Greenall, 14-2 in their semifinal.
The game not only gives Yorkton a chance to win a provincial final but also change their fate in provincial title games as of late. They've lost the last two finals by less than 14 points combined in the past two years.
"We know what Bishop Mahoney brings, they are hard-nosed and they're very conservative," said Sharpe. "They don't often gamble on third downs. They protect the ball and they grind the clock. They're very physical. We may have a smaller roster than them, but we are also very physical. It should be a really good football game."
Tomorrow's game will be played in Yorkton at 1:00 p.m. at the Yorkton Regional High School's football field. It's the first time the team has hosted a provincial final since 1990. Ironically enough, coach Sharpe played in that game.
"It's awesome that we're playing on our home field. 1990 is a long time ago. Our community has been so fantastic for football and really everything," concluded Sharpe. "I know Dauphin is an awesome community as well, but our community here in Yorkton is always behind us. Every single member of our team can't wait to take part in the game and it's going to be fantastic."