Historical WWCFL moment

Prairie Conference history made as Valkyries experience first home loss ever

In what has shaped into the signature rivalry in the Western Women’s Canadian Football League, the Regina Riot and the four-time champion Saskatoon Valkyries continue to make history. Clearly the two standard bearers in the league, the landmark game added to the growing mythology of these two franchises.

This season, both matches between the two clubs have resulted in new milestones for the league. A May 17 tilt in Regina was notable because it marked the Riot host its “Teal Game”, with three dollars from every ticket sold to go towards Ovarian Cancer Research.

Concerning the game itself, the host Riot held a halftime lead against the Valkyries, the first time this season that they trailed at the half. Although the Valkyries mounted a comeback, prevailing by a 28-17 final score, the halftime lead provided the Riot with confidence heading into the rematch.

Of note, the Riot would build on said confidence in the May 30 rematch, possiblty altering the balance of power in the Prairie Conference. Contested as Saskatoon Minor Football Field, the Valkyries entered the game having never lost at home in its franchise history. Samantha Matheson had a 29-yard touchdown run to provide the Valkyries with an early 7-0 lead on their first drive. The fans in attendance could not have foreseen that it would be their final touchdown of the contest.

Mallory Starkey led the way on defense for the Riot, with a quarterback sack and a forced fumble. Katie Rogal would recover the fumble, contributing to the strong momentum for the Riot. In addition, Artemis Kouropoulou logged an interception.

Offensively, the Riot were just as impactful. Carmen Agar accumulated an astounding 270 rushing yards, including a pair of touchdowns. By halftime, she had amassed 170 of those yards, as the Riot held a 28-7 lead which shocked the hometown faithful.

The result was the domination of a Valkyries defense that was not accustomed to such outcomes. Traditionally, the Valkyries are the club that puts up the strong offensive numbers, pounding opponents into submission.

Quarterback Aimee Kowalski also made her presence felt in the first half as she found wide receiver Alex Kowalski for a pair of touchdowns of five and 12 yards. Touchdowns were also scored by Sami Bray and Amanda Hungle on one-yard scores while Carly Kentz logged a five-yard major.

Although it was only their second loss in franchise history (both coming against Regina), there was a feeling of utter disappointment. Not only was it their first loss at home in 19 games, it was their most lopsided loss in franchise history.

Taking into account how they dominated the North Winnipeg Wolf Pack in their season opener, this did not look like that same powerhouse team in a 49-9 disaster. During a 2014 campaign that saw the Valkyries steamroll their way to a fourth straight WWCFL crown, the defense allowed only 28 combined points. Allowing 21 more points in this loss, the Valkyries will need to make adjustments heading into the postseason.

Although the Riot have experienced their biggest win in franchise history, they cannot endure another repeat of the 2013 postseason. During the regular season, the squad defeated Saskatoon by a 15-7 tally, a win that would enable them to enjoy home field advantage in the postseason. Saskatoon would show their championship mettle by bouncing back in the Prairie Conference title game, returning to the WWCFL title game. There may be a strong feeling of confidence and pride with the Riot, but the playoffs shall be the true test for both powerhouse clubs.

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