By Tommy Osborne, September 9 2017 —
On Sept. 8, the University of Calgary Dinos and the University of Regina Rams faced off in the annual Kickoff game. The Dinos fought hard in a back-and-forth affair before pulling away in the fourth quarter to win 46–26.
The first quarter was defined by the stout defence of both teams. Despite some long runs by running back
Jeshrun Antwi, the Dinos failed to reach the end zone. Instead, they settled for two field goals from Kicker Niko DiFonte. The Dinos defence held its own for the first quarter, but was susceptible to the big play — the Dinos gave up a 42-yard completion, which set up a 32-yard touchdown for the Rams. By the end of the first quarter, the Rams held a 7–6 lead.
The second quarter was livelier from the start. Forty-seven seconds in, the Rams secured a field goal to strengthen their lead. But the Dinos retaliated with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Karl, the first of his three touchdowns in the game. The Rams quickly fired back, capitalizing on an intercepted ball by capping off their drive with a 34-yard touchdown pass. With only 49 seconds left in the half, the Dinos reclaimed the lead with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Brendon Thera-Plamondon. By the end of the half, the Dinos secured a 22–17 lead — a lead they would keep for the rest of the game.
Karl started the third quarter with the evening’s highlight. On the first Dinos possession of the half, he completed an incredible 54-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Adam Sinagra. After making the catch, Karl burst through the middle of the field past Regina’s defence before high-stepping past an outstretched defensive back and into the end zone.
“It was just supposed to be a dig, and I just tried to get to the cone before the other guy,” Karl said after the game.
The Rams answered with a 28-yard touchdown of their own, but it would be their last of the game. The Dinos defence stoned the opposition, with an interception by defensive back Michael Schmidt ending a Rams drive late in the third-quarter and scoring yet another Dinos touchdown.
“I made my reads like our coaches tell us to do, and the ball was put up in the air so I just went for it,” Schmidt said. “I managed to come up with the ball, so it was just an awesome play.”
The U of C held their 36–24 lead in the fourth, with the defence allowing only a safety from the Rams while padding their score with another touchdown and field goal en route to a 46–26 victory. Schmidt credited the team’s preparation and effort to their strong finish.
“We play the full 60 minutes, and when we know the game is on the line we’re gonna play our hearts out and give it everything we’ve got and that’s what we did in the fourth quarter,” he said. “We knew we had to stop them and we ended up winning the game.”
Kickoff always attracts a big crowd and this year was no different — 6,248 fans were in attendance to cheer on the Dinos. The players certainly notice the crow and appreciate the school’s support.
“I love it. Every year it’s so much fun,” Karl said. “It’s our biggest crowd of the year so we just want to come out and play our best in front of all of them.”
The Dinos victory improves the team to 2–0 on the season. They will strive to remain undefeated as they face off against the University of Manitoba Bisons on Sept 16 in Winnipeg.