SASKATOON – After winning four of the last five Canadian Bowls, the Saskatoon Hilltops could be excused for treating this year’s championship as a case of ‘been there, done that.’ But this one is different.
The Hilltops are playing for national glory on home turf. The last time that happened was in 2010, before any members of the current roster were on the team.
“It’s going to be a special moment to sort of realize that we’re in our surroundings, we’re at home and we’re in this beautiful place, but ultimately you’ve got to forget about that when you get between the lines,” said head coach Tom Sargeant.
“We’ve got an Okanagan Sun team that has worked real hard to get here as well and they’re looking to knock us off the pedestal.”
Watch below: Okanagan Sun warm up for Canadian Bowl
WATCH: Okanagan Sun warm up for Canadian Bowl
Saskatoon Hilltops receive PFC year-end honours
They haven’t faced each other in well over a decade but the Hilltops and Sun have plenty of shared history.
They’ve met on seven previous occasions including two in the Canadian Bowl, with each team winning once. The Sun are making their first trip to the title game since 2004 after running the table in the BCFC this season. They combine a high-octane offence with arguably the stingiest defence in the country, which should make for a great matchup against the Hilltops.
“Film tells a lot but it doesn’t tell everything. You never really know until you play someone,” said quarterback Jared Andreychuk.
“They’re a really big, strong, physical team and they have lots of athletes out there, so it’s going to be a fight.”
It’s a fight the Hilltops pivot is ready for despite admitting to some pre-game jitters.
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“I’m not one to get nervous but Canadian Bowls, they get me nervous. It usually works out. I play well under pressure and hopefully that will be the same this weekend,” he said.
So will Saskatoon climb to the top once more or will Okanagan ride into the sunset with the victory? The answer will come on Saturday.