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Yorkton Raiders Gridders win semi final contest

The Gridders rolled up 39 second half points for a 60-34 win.
The Raider Gridders used the run to good effect Saturday.

YORKTON - The Yorkton Regional High School Raider Gridders are on their way to Weyburn for the SHSAA South Rural League finals, but it was not an easy road to get there. 

Yorkton hosted the Central Collegiate Cyclones Saturday, and at least for a half the game was a nail-biter.

Yorkton scored two touchdowns early, but the Cyclones responded with three of their own, thanks to a couple of nice passing plays.

“We didn’t expect it. We didn’t think they could throw the ball like they did,” said Raider Gridder coach Roby Sharpe. “But, when we got to the half it was a chess match.”

A late Raider Gridder TD in the first half sent the teams to the halftime break deadlocked at 21 apiece.

The offences remained sharp in the second half, in particular Yorkton’s.

Moose Jaw added 13 for a respectable 34-point effort on the day, but it was far from enough Saturday.

The Gridders rolled up 39 second half points for a 60-34 win.

Yorkton coach Roby Sharpe said the game sort of played out as they had anticipated.

“It was kind of our game plan the whole way. We wanted to run the ball,” he said. “The idea was just to grind them and wear them down.”

With that in mind Yorkton rushed for 193 yards in the first half, and then added 172 in the second half for 365 on the afternoon.

The Raider Gridders threw for 179 yards, including 92 in the opening half.

And in the second half when they started seeing Moose Jaw defenders with their hands on hips after plays, Sharpe said they knew their plan was working.

“We just started running the ball at them more and they didn’t handle it,” he said.

It helped too the Raiders scored early in the second half, then jumped on a kick-off return fumble and took that in for a major too.

The two majors in a span of about four minutes really swung momentum in favour of Yorkton.

Weyburn earned its berth in the final blitzing Moose Jaw’s Albert E. Peacock Collegiate Tornadoes 43-13 in their semi final contest. 

The final will be a rematch of the 2021 final, a game Weyburn won. 

The teams met earlier this season though, and Yorkton won. 

So how do the Raider Gridders repeat the early regular season success? 

“We played them once. We know how to beat them,” said Sharpe, not elaborating greatly on the game plan, although he hinted it may be run heavy. 

“If you want to play high school football in Saskatchewan you’ve got to be able to run the football,” he said, adding that is particular true as the season moves into the playoffs late in October and into November when the weather can be cold and snow is a possibility.