Yorkton Atom Gridders hosted the Regina Alouettes in a Regina Minor Football League first place showdown at Century Field on Saturday, Aug. 31.
Alouettes scored first early in the game with a quarterback run over the goal line. Gridders answered back shortly after when Josh Herman taking a handoff to the outside with a 40-yard run to even things up. Johntee Ostapowich got the convert to put the Gridders ahead 7-6.
The Gridder Defense forced the Alouettes to punt, the Gridder Offense pounded down the field until quarterback Connor Watrych took a short run for a touchdown followed by another convert by Johntee Ostapowich for a score of 14-6.
Just before half, Watrych scored another touchdown on a 25-yard run, but the Gridders failed the convert. The score going into the second half was 20-6, Gridders.
To open the second half, the Gridders attempted their double reverse play, but botched it. The Alouettes recovered the ball and within two plays, Regina scored a touchdown and a convert to bring their score up to 13. Playing on a wet field caused some ball security issues for the Gridders who allowed four turnovers. Carter Pawliw made it to the endzone for the Gridders followed up with a Josh Herman convert to put the Gridders out front 27-13. The Alouettes didn’t let the Gridders off, though, as they fought back for another touchdown and convert. The Alouettes capitalized on one of the Gridder turnovers to put the score at 27-20. Josh Herman concluded the game with a Gridder touchdown for a final score of 33-20.
The Gridders put up a great defensive effort. Tyler Harasymuk and Dreyden Chyz were busy with their team mates making Gridder plays and wreaking Alouette plays all game long.
The Atom Gridders travelled to meet the Estevan Atom Miners on their home turf Saturday, Sept. 7. Yorkton has known all season that they have had a strong defense, but today they were able to put it on paper by earning their season’s first shutout. “The goal from the beginning of the game was to get the shut out and they did it by playing with intensity and determination as a unit,” said coach Ryan Effa.
Gridder offense did its part in the game as well - they had 4 different players scoring touchdowns. To start off with, Johntee Ostapowich used his elusive speed out to the corner with his shakin’ and bakin’ and put the first touchdown up on the board with Conner Watrych finding his way to the endzone for the convert on a naked boot.
It didn’t take the offense long to get the ball back because of the hard work from the Gridder defense which caused numerous two-and-outs for the Miners. Johntee Ostapowich’s number was called once again and he did not disappoint leaving the Miner defense in the coal dust. Garrett Ellis pushed through the middle for the convert.
The third touchdown came with less than a minute left in the first half. The Gridder offense went into high gear as they only needed two plays to score a touchdown. Nic Nesseth came through in the clutch with less than 20 seconds left on the clock as he was able to straightarm a defender and go up the sidelines to score. First year wide receiver Josh Needham reached high for a completion to get the conversion.
The Gridders entered the second half with a score of 21-0. In Yorkton’s first possession, Garrett Ellis blasted through the middle of the Miner defense, broke two tackles and rocketed into the endzone on a 65-yard run. Watrych ran another bootleg for the convert. 28-0 Gridders.
The Gridder defense applied so much team pressure to the Miner offense that Estevan was not able to register a single first down in the second half.
Gridder running back Carter Pawliw juked and jived past the Miner D with the help of some outstanding blocks from Yorkton running backs and slots to put the final TD on the board. The convert was run in by QB Watrych.
Coach Jason Boyda explained “Justin Fookes and his O line really worked hard to contribute to this day’s win. They have been getting better all season and have become an integral part of the team’s success.”
The Gridders’ 35-0 win over the Estevan Miners puts them at a 4-0 record this season in the Regina Minor Football Atom League. Yorkton travels to Regina’s Liebel Field next Saturday, Sept. 14 when they play the Regina Canadians at 10:30 am.
The final regular season game is at home against the Regina Thunderbirds Sept. 21 at 10 am.