In the game that decided one of the finalists for the Canada West Championship, the Regina Rams mercilessly defeated the Calgary Dinos 33-32. In the last five seconds of the game, the Rams' attempt to punt the ball through the end zone succeeded, ending the Dinos' Vanier Cup hopes.
"It was a well played game by both teams and as perfect a game that could be played by both teams on both sides of the ball, with very few mistakes," said Head Coach Tony Fasano.
Calgary Quarterback Lincoln Blumell had an outstanding day, completing 18 of 30 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to wideout Goeff Drover. Led by Blumell and Drover, the Dinos' offence moved the ball effectively down the field throughout the first three quarters. While the Calgary offence had 505 yards from scrimmage, they were outmatched by the impressive 588 yards that Regina built up.
The game was very close. The Rams scored the first touchdown at the end of the first quarter, and the game stood at 7-1. Calgary soon took control of the game like they have many times in the past, and quickly took the lead, going into the second half with a score of 15-10. The Dinos blew up early in the second half, dominating the tempo of play and quickly taking an 18-10 lead over the Rams.
Going into the fourth quarter the Dinos were confident, with a solid defence and an assertive offence. However, this was Darryl Leason's revenge on his former team. Leason passed for 440 yards en route to three fourth-quarter touchdowns, which led the Rams to their first berth in the finals in only their second Canada West season.
Fasano noted that the challenge next year would be to assert new roles on new players.
He looks at the game as "a growing experience for all players and coaches."
"We felt that we had a very good game plan coming into the game and that there is no one to blame in this situation," he said.
Both sides played hard and it could have gone to either team depending on who had possession of the ball. It was a great game to watch, and it was hard for the fans and for the team to see the season end the same way it did last year, in the semi-finals.
It was also the final university season for many impact players on the team. Brock Balog, Stephen Curran, Dean Fisher, Brian Kynaston, Jeff Lewis, Ian Schafer and David Swaggar all played their last game for the Dinos at McMahon on Friday, and many players were sad to see their role models leave. It was sombre in the dressing room after the game.
Next year will be a different year for the Dinos, full of new goals and new leaders.
"Every year is a challenge," said coach Fasano. "There is a new group of guys that are coming from different backgrounds, personal backgrounds, social backgrounds, different ethnic groups and religious affiliations. Every individual is so different from another that the leadership from the senior players makes important impacts on developing a team."
Good luck to all the Dinos moving on, and we will see the rest of you next season!