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This article was published 6/11/2021 (237 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Manitoba Bisons football team will host a playoff game for the first time since 2013.
With a 22-3 road victory over the Regina Rams on Saturday, the Herd clinched the No. 2 seed in Canada West which means they'll play the Hardy Cup semi-final next Saturday at IG Field against the Alberta Golden Bears (3-3) at 4 p.m.
The Bisons finish the regular season at 4-2 while last-place Regina drops to 1-5.
"It's been a long time. It was a big goal for us," said Bisons head coach Brian Dobie on securing a home playoff game.
"Coming out of the gate, we set three goals for us and the very first goal was to host a home playoff game. So, we've accomplished that and the team is pretty fired up about it. It was a major goal that we set, we chased it, had some adversity and overcame it, and here we are."
After missing last week's 41-12 loss at home to the first-place Saskatchewan Huskies with an injury, quarterback Jackson Tachinski was back behind centre for the Herd on Saturday. He finished the day 15-of-25 for 119 yards passing and no interceptions. The Bisons did most of their damage on the ground as Breydon Stubbs rushed 16 times for 88 yards and Noah Anderson took six carries for a total of 70 yards. Tachinski was also involved as he ran eight times for 32 yards and a touchdown.
The Bisons defence held the Rams to 53 rushing yards and forced Regina quarterback Bryce Welter to have a tough day as the home team's pivot connected on 13-of-22 passes for 116 yards and an interception. Bisons kicker Cole Sabourin drilled four field goals.
But what impressed Dobie the most about his club was the fact that they only had four penalties. Last week's loss saw them get flagged 15 times for 134 yards.
"Our defence basically pitched a shutout and the offence methodically took care of business and we didn't hurt ourselves... It was a really professional win. It wasn't something flashy, but it was down by down, series by series. I thought it was a really good win for us today."
Dobie sure meant it when he said the Bisons have faced adversity this season. They entered the season with none of their starting offensive linemen from 2019 returning and their fifth-year quarterback Des Catellier suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1 at home against Regina. But by far the toughest thing this team has had to endure is the death of their receivers coach, Scott Naujoks, at the end of September. He was only 29.
"Going through this year, with everything that's gone on from the worst of the worst with Scott passing, some of the emotional things we've gone through, and the injuries that we've overcome... I'm really proud of this team and they're proud of themselves and they should be," Dobie said.
"It's the way they approach things that got them through the tough times. They worked through the tough times. They found silver linings all the time and they never quit. They earned this the hard way which is always the best way to achieve things."
In their lone meeting with Alberta this season, the Bisons won 31-17 on the road back on Oct. 1.
Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of...