CFC100 talent showcased at 2017 Saskatchewan Senior Bowl

(Photo credit: Brent Just)

The North fought off the South by a score of 34-29, in a tightly contested battle at SMF Field in Saskatoon on Monday for the 2017 Saskatchewan Senior Bowl.

Despite playing catch-up for the majority of the game, the South responded late on a Carter Shewchuk 21 yard toss to Zachary Shalley in the corner of the end zone, keeping any potential comeback hope alive. However, those dreams were dashed due to a failed onside kick late, which sealed the victory for the North.

The North was able to continue their new found success in the rivalry. After dropping seven straight from 2007 until 2013, the North have now captured three of the last four. The bowl provides players one last opportunity to represent their high schools and compete against the top players from around the province. These two sides spent their May long weekend preparing in the hopes of lifting the SMP Senior Bowl Trophy.

For many players, this ends up being the last time they’ll end up strapping on the pads and to win their final game makes that end memory even sweeter.

Receiver David Solie was named game MVP for the North and led their aerial attack, being on the receiving end of 5 catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. The wideout impressed from start to finish on the offensive side of the ball, as well as on specials. Solie, who starred as the kicker for the Under-18 Team Canada national team this February, displayed his strong leg throughout the affair. He converted on all four of his extra point attempts and was 1/1 drilling a 33 yard field goal. He also converted on a third down fake punt gaining 32 yards, which led to another North score. His speed and agility were on full display on an end-around pitch that he snuck in to the end zone from 4 yards out.

Standing at 5’9, Solie also didn’t let his height deter him from climbing the ladder to make two highlight reel grabs in the first half. The Holy Cross Crusaders product was a three-time city champion in Saskatoon, and is signed with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies for this fall. After suffering a season ending injury in the third game of the season during his senior year, Solie took full advantage on the opportunity to suit up as a Crusader one last time.

Another University of Saskatchewan signee was a key cog for the North offense on Monday. Bailey Taylor carried the rock 26 times, rumbling for 106 yards and 2 scores. Taylor, who primarily lined up on the defensive side of the ball during his high school career for the Centennial Chargers took full advantage of an opening in the North backfield.

“I had the opportunity to play both ways in a few games last season with the Chargers, so when I was asked to run in the senior bowl I figured it may be my last chance to do it.” said Taylor.

Going forward, Bailey wants to remain as a member of the defense. “I spent the majority of my high school career on defense and that’s where I prefer to play.” said Taylor. “It’s a big bump from high school to the U-Sports level so it’s one step at a time right now and every time I’m out there I’m adjusting to the speed and new schemes.”

The Charger star is looking forward to the opportunity of chasing a spot on the Huskies 45 man roster.

CFC100 linebacker, Nick Cross, lined up for the South and didn’t disappoint. His rare combination of instincts, athleticism and sheer aggressiveness makes up an impressive skill set. Cross piled up 4 solo tackles, along with 2 assisted. Nick attends Saskatchewan’s football powerhouse, Leboldus High School in Regina. Cross, who represented Canada at the U-19 World Championships in China this past June, was a huge gain for the University of Regina Rams. He will form a dynamic tandem on the defensive side of the ball with Leboldus alumni and reigning U-Sports rookie of the year nominee defensive end, Nicholas Dheilly.

Quarterback Carter Shewchuk was impressive for the South, as he found Zachary Shalley twice in the end zone. The Regina duo created what seemed to be instant chemistry in the second half, which provided the South the chance to scrap their way back into the game.

Shewchuk, a Luther Lion product aired it out for 239 yards on 15 completions. Meanwhile, Shalley hauled in 119 of those yards. He will be graduating from Sheldon Williams Collegiate; from there he will stay close to home as a member of the University of Regina Rams Football team come the fall. Shalley was a decorated basketball player throughout high school, starring on Team Saskatchewan four times. That past seems to have helped his ability to high point the football and corral circus catches game after game.

Aaron Pankratz was the leading passer for the North completing 5 of his 9 passing attempts for 64 yards and a touchdown. He was also able to carry the ball 40 yards on 8 carries, adding a second score on the ground. Pankratz attended Aden Bowman Collegiate in Saskatoon, and is signee of the University of Alberta Golden Bears for 2017. After playing his junior season as a receiver, he then moved to quarterback for his final season at Bowman.

The bowl also provided a great glimpse towards a potential future Regina Ram two headed monster in the backfield. CFC100 running backs Kyle Borsa and Semba Mbasela were both prized recruits and huge gains to the U of R program. The two talented runners complement each other well, a mix of speed and strength.

Mbasela is an electric runner, and was a major key to the city and provincial champion Leboldus Golden Suns this past season. While Mbasela was limited on touches on Monday, his supreme acceleration was still clear. His ability to kick in the after-burners in the open field is exceptional.

Meanwhile Kyle Borsa is a physical, downhill back, who isn’t lacking speed either. Borsa ran a 4.76 in the 40 yard dash this past month, the fastest recorded time at the South Saskatchewan Combine. That speed was on full display on Monday as Borsa ran for 90 yards on only 12 carries, 2 of which he took to the house. He broke the ice early, cutting to the outside, and finding the end zone on a 42 yard scamper to give the South an early 7-0 lead.

I imagine Rams Offensive Coordinator, Mark McConkey, is simply giddy knowing the weapons he will have at his disposal for the years to come.

The North will head into 2018 looking to win their 3rd straight Senior Bowl, and their fourth in the last five.

2017 SMP Senior Bowl Statistics

Congratulations Team North on winning the #12man game 34-29!

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