Saskatoon Hilltops

The Saskatoon Hilltops are a junior Canadian football team based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The Hilltops play in the six-team Prairie Football Conference, which is part of the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) and compete annually for the Canadian Bowl. The team was founded in 1921 as a senior team in the Saskatchewan Rugby Football Union, which it played in until 1936. Two years after WW II the team reorganized in 1947. Beginning in 1953, the Hilltops have won 22 Canadian Bowl championships. The Hilltops have won six consecutive Canadian Bowls, having done so between 2014 and 2019.[1]

Saskatoon Hilltops
Established1947 (1947)
Based inSaskatoon, Saskatchewan
Home stadiumSaskatoon Minor Football Field at Gordon Howe Park
Head coachTom Sargeant
General managerLane Bannerman
LeagueCanadian Junior Football League
DivisionPrairie Football Conference
Coloursroyal blue, gold
League titles22
WebsiteOfficial website

Playing field

The Hilltops play their home games on the Saskatoon Minor Football Field at Gordie Howe Sports Complex, and practice at Kilburn Park in the Buena Vista neighbourhood.

Recent History

2014 Season

The Hilltops entered the playoffs with 6 wins and 2 losses which resulted in a first place standing. On October 19, 2014 their first play off game against the Winnipeg Rifles was finalized with a 43 to 13 score in favour of the Hilltops.

The Hilltops proceeded to the Prairie Football Conference finals on Sunday October 26, 2014, defeating the Calgary Colts 27–7 at Saskatoon Minor Football Field. On Nov 8, 2014 the Hilltops completed their successful playoff run with a victory over the Langley Rams at MacLeod Stadium with a final score of 39–14.[2] This was the first of six consecutive Canadian Bowls.

2017 & 2018 Record-breaking Seasons

The Hilltops entered the 2017 season having completed their third "threepeat": the first being three consecutive Canadian Bowl Championships in 2001, 2002 and 2003; the second 2010, 2011 and 2012; and the most recent 2014, 2015 and 2016. Only three other teams in Canadian Bowl history had the opportunity to win four championships in a row: the Regina Rams (1993, 1994 and 1995); the Edmonton Huskies (1962, 1963 and 1964); and the Montreal AAAs (1925, 1926 and 1927).[3] The Hilltops only loss during the 2017 season came mid-season, in the last two minutes 29-26 at the hands of the Regina Thunder. Their final regular season win over the undefeated Edmonton Huskies earned the Hilltops a matching 7–1 record, but the head-to-head victory gave the Hilltops first place in the PFC and home field advantage for three consecutive playoff games.

The Hilltops defeated the Winnipeg Rifles and the Regina Thunder before managing a convincing 48–0 win over the Vancouver Island Raiders to make it to their fourth consecutive Canadian Bowl, which was played on Nov 11th in Windsor against the Windsor AKO Fratmen, the oldest CJFL team in continuous operation. The Hilltops emerged victorious in this historic game, winning 56-11, finally achieving the "fourpeat".[4]

The Hilltops completed the 2018 regular season with a perfect 8-0 record scoring 402 points while yielding only 70. Throughout the entire regular season the Hilltops trailed only once, in the fifth game 17-16 to the Regina Thunder with 2:28 left in the first half, regaining the lead before the half ended, and going on to a 48-24 victory. In the playoffs, the Hilltops silenced the Winnipeg Rifles 58-5 and defeated the Edmonton Huskies 28-9.

The 111th Canadian Bowl championship game was played in Saskatoon on November 17th, between the Hilltops and the British Columbia Football Conference Champion Langley Rams.[5] The Hilltops led from start to finish with a balanced passing and running attack, winning 58-21. The Hilltops finished the season with a perfect 11-0 record, outscoring the opposing teams 546-105; and Head Coach Tom Sargeant also claimed his 12th Canadian Bowl championship.[6]

2019 Season

The Hilltops finished the season with a perfect 12-0 record, defeating the Langley Rams 11-6 in a hard fought defensive struggle for the Canadian Bowl at MacLeod Stadium in Langely. In getting to the championship game they beat the London Beefeaters 51-1 in the Interprovincial playoff, the Edmonton Huskies 30 - 14 in the Prairie Conference Final, and the Edmonton Wildcats 31 - 7 in the semi-final. The Toppers finished the regular season with a perfect record, but had to mount 4th quarter comebacks against the Edmonton Huskies[7] and the Regina Thunder.[8] At the end of the 2019 season 15 players graduated from the Hilltops [9], among them 10 PFC all-stars [10] of whom 5 were named CJFL all-stars [11]. Two Hilltops won CJFL Outstanding Player Awards [12].

Canadian Junior Football League Championships

The Hilltops have won 22 of the 25 Canadian Junior Football Championship Games they have played in, the most recent being the 2019 Canadian Bowl versus the Langley Rams.[13] Throughout the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons combined, the Hilltops lost only one game, in mid-season of 2017. Finishing their 2019 season at 12-0, the Hilltops completed their fifth perfect season in team history, going 11-0 in 2018, 12-0 in 2003, 12-0 in 1978 and 11-0 in 1958.[14]

Canadian Bowl Championships

YearChampionFinalists
1991Saskatoon Hilltops 48Ottawa Sooners 7
1996Saskatoon Hilltops 38Windsor AKO Fratmen 7
2001Saskatoon Hilltops 45Okanagan Sun 11
2002Saskatoon Hilltops 20St. Leonard Cougars 18
2003Saskatoon Hilltops 59Victoria Rebels 0
2007Saskatoon Hilltops 26St. Leonard Cougars 3
2010Saskatoon Hilltops 34Vancouver Island Raiders 23
2011Saskatoon Hilltops 29Hamilton Hurricanes 1
2012Saskatoon Hilltops 23Langley Rams 21
2014Saskatoon Hilltops 39Langley Rams 14
2015Saskatoon Hilltops 38Okanagan Sun 24
2016Saskatoon Hilltops 37Westshore Rebels 25
2017Saskatoon Hilltops 56Windsor AKO Fratmen 11
2018Saskatoon Hilltops 58Langley Rams 21
2019Saskatoon Hilltops 11Langley Rams 6

Armadale Cup Championships

[

YearChampionFinalist
1985Saskatoon Hilltops 29Ottawa Sooners 11
1978Saskatoon Hilltops 24Ottawa Sooners 4

Leader-Post Trophy Championships

YearChampionFinalist
1969Saskatoon Hilltops 28Ottawa Sooners 7
1968Saskatoon Hilltops 27Ottawa Sooners 19
1960Montreal Rose Bombers 22Saskatoon Hilltops 20
1959Saskatoon Hilltops 46Toronto NK Knights 7
1958Saskatoon Hilltops 18Notre-Dame-de-Grace Maple Leafs 14
1953Saskatoon Hilltops 34Windsor AKO Fratmen 6
1948Hamilton Wildcats 14Saskatoon Hilltops 10

Executive committee members and directors

[15]

PositionHolder
PresidentTerry Postey
President ElectChris Hengen-Braun
Past PresidentEric Nimilowich
Vice PresidentRod Janzen
Team ManagerLane Bannerman
TreasurerGarrett Ferguson
SecretaryCliff Powlowski
Operational DirectorsJeff Shyluk/Janice Kozun/Paul Yausie/Walt Smith

Coaching Staff

PositionHolder
Head Coach/Offensive CoordinatorTom Sargeant
QuarterbacksShane Reider
Running BacksAndre Lalonde
Defensive BacksBrent Turkington
Offensive LineDonnie Davidsen
Offensive Line AssistantBen Hodson
Defensive LineDave Fisher
Defensive Coordinator/LinebackersJeff Yausie
ReceiversBarclay Schlosser
Receivers AssistantEvan Turkington
Life CoachBruce Rempel

References

  1. Zary, Darren (November 17, 2019), "Saskatoon Hilltops do it again, win 6th straight Canadian Bowl title", The StarPhoenix, retrieved November 18, 2019
  2. Piller, Thomas (Nov 8, 2014), "Hilltops win national championship", Global news, retrieved November 8, 2014
  3. "Canadian Bowl from Wikipedia", Canadian Bowl, pp. wikitable, November 18, 2018, retrieved November 18, 2018
  4. Zary, Darren (November 17, 2017), "Saskatoon Hilltops do the fourpeat, win fourth straight Canadian Bowl", The StarPhoenix, retrieved November 18, 2018
  5. Tiel, Marissa (November 17, 2018), "Langley Rams capture Cullen Cup", Kelowna Capital News, retrieved November 17, 2018
  6. Zary, Darren (November 17, 2018), "Saskatoon Hilltops hammer Langley Rams to claim fifth straight Canadian Bowl", The StarPhoenix, retrieved November 17, 2018
  7. Steinke, Darren (September 1, 2019), "Giddings relishes role as Hilltop's shutdown man" – Stanks' Sermon", Saskatoon Hilltops, pp. Results–Recap, retrieved November 18, 2019
  8. Mitchell, Kevin (September 7, 2019), "Hilltops stretch streak to 23 with last minute victory over Regina", The StarPhoenix, retrieved November 17, 2019
  9. Zary, Darren (November 21, 2019), "Hilltops say goodbye to 15 graduating players, and possibly more", The StarPhoenix, retrieved November 22, 2019
  10. Zary, Darren (October 25, 2019), "Saskatoon Hilltops field 10 PFC all-stars, get set to host PFC final against Edmonton Huskies", The StarPhoenix, retrieved November 22, 2019
  11. Zary, Darren (November 14, 2019), "Five things to know about the 2019 Canadian Bowl", The StarPhoenix, retrieved November 22, 2019
  12. Ryan, Watters (November 15, 2019), "CJFL Major Awards", Canadian Junior Football League, retrieved November 22, 2019
  13. Zary, Darren (November 17, 2018), "Saskatoon Hilltops hammer Langley Rams to claim fifth straight Canadian Bowl", The StarPhoenix, retrieved November 17, 2018
  14. Steinke, Darren (November 24, 2018), "Hilltops' fifth years hammer home "drive for five" – Stanks' Sermon", Saskatoon Hilltops, pp. Results–Recap, retrieved November 24, 2018
  15. "2019 Directors, Executive Committee". Saskatoon Hilltops. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
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