Saskatoon Hilltops are CJFL Canadian Bowl champions for the sixth straight time, following their 11-6 win over the Langley Rams Saturday at McLeod Athletic Park (MAP) stadium. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: A narrow defeat for Langley Rams at Canadian Bowl

Saskatoon Hilltops have now won six CJFL championships in a row

Going into Saturday’s Canadian Bowl championship ,Langley Rams head coach Howie Zaron game called on fans of the Canadian Junior Football League team to fill the stands at McLeod Athletic Park (MAP) stadium.

“We’d love to get them [fans] out,” Zaron told the Langley Advance Times, “have everyone get loud and rowdy.”

That they did, ignoring rainy weather to pack the stands and cheer on their team.

And while the fans were enthusiastic and every bit as loud as requested, the results were not what they were hoping for.

It was a heartbreaker of a loss for the Langley Rams, who were defeated 11-6 by the Saskatoon Hilltops, marking the Saskatchewan team’s sixth straight Canadian Bowl championship. Hilltops are now undefeated in 31 games going back to 2017.

By the end of the first half, Hilltops were leading courtesy of place kicker Rylan Kleiter, who scored twice in the second quarter.

At the end of the third quarter, Rams running back Max Joseph scored a touchdown, but Langley was unable to make the two point conversion, leaving the score at 8-6 (due to a safety conceded by the Rams).

Hilltops’ Kleiter got another one through the goalposts in the fourth quarter to make it 11-6 with just over two minutes remaining.

It all came down to a final play by the Rams that got within 15 yards of winning.

With 40 seconds left to go, Rams quarterback Colby Peters handed off to Jarryd Taylor, but the play was broken up by the Hilltops.

“It feels like like we let one slip away,” Zaron said.

Zaron blamed himself for the loss, saying it might have turned out differently if he’d put Peters in sooner and made some other personnel changes.

“They say teams win games and coaches lose them,” Zaron commented.

“It [the loss] all falls on the head coach and that’s me.”

He said the fact the Rams didn’t allow a single touchdown by the Hilltops was thanks to the strategy developed by Rams defensive coordinator Chris Butschler, who Zaron described as an “absolute defensive genius.”

It was also the narrowest margin of victory for the Hilltops at the Bowl for the Hilltops, who defeated the Rams 58-21 in the final last year.

Zaron praised local fans for braving the inclement weather to cheer them on.

“We have the best fans” he said.

“It was unreal.”

Next year, he said, the Rams will make another run for the Bowl.

“We’ll be a little better.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: Canadian Junior Football national championships come to Langley

READ MORE: Second consecutive Cullen Cup for Langley Rams

Both teams punched their ticket to the final with convincing wins over tough opponents.

Rams won the Cullen Cup with a 35-12 home victory over Langford’s Westshore Rebels before a crowd of 1,300 junior football fans, while the Hilltops won against the London Beefeaters 51-1 in the other Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL) semifinal action in London.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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(Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

(Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Fans packed the stands. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

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