Riot roar in decisive victory to claim first-ever WWCFL Championship

With the fifth annual WWCFL championship game taking place at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg, it was an event that represented history. Not only were the Regina Riot and Edmonton Storm playing each other for the first time, but neither club had won a league championship before.

Considering that the Riot had defeated the Calgary Rage during the WWCFL preseason Jamboree, a rematch with Calgary was also a possibility. With the Storm renewing rivalries with the Rage in the Western Conference title game (a 51-14 outcome for Edmonton), the Riot were eager for a chance at redemption. Meanwhile, the Riot entered the game with tremendous momentum, becoming the first franchise in WWCFL history to beat the Saskatoon Valkyries twice in one season, including a 31-29 victory in the Prairie Conference title game.

Prior to the game, Riot quarterback Aimee Kowalski was recognized as the Prairie Conference’s Most Valuable Player, foreshadowing the further glory to come. Having also played for Team Canada at the 2013 IFAF Women’s World Championships, Kowalski had established herself as the most accomplished quarterback without a WWCFL championship.

A Riot touchdown with 4:10 remaining in the first quarter would prove to be the game-winning score as the Storm were unable to contain the high octane offensive juggernaut. In the second quarter, Carman Agar would add to the lead by scoring her first-ever rushing touchdown in WWCFL championship history.

Before the second half would expire, Kowalski experienced a special career milestone. With her sister Alex at the wide receiver position, the two connected for a touchdown, adding to the emotion of the day. After the Storm took a safety, extending the lead to a 23-0 margin, Kowalski would connect with longtime teammate (and fellow Team Canada alum) Claire Dore for a touchdown pass with 1:29 remaining.

Building on their 30-0 halftime lead, Morgan Turner (who also pulls double duty as the field goal kicker) led off the third quarter scored a touchdown, while completing her own point after conversion. She would bookend the third quarter with a field goal, providing the Riot with a 40-0 advantage.

With 8:55 remaining, Kowalski connected for a passing touchdown with backup quarterback Sami Bray for her third touchdown pass of the game. As anticipation for the championship built, Rachelle Smith scored for the Riot with less than three minutes to go, as Edmonton suffered a 53-point deficit. Although Edmonton managed to score on a 70-yard touchdown for the game’s final score, the Riot extended the province of Saskatchewan’s winning streak in WWCFL championship games to five.

Kowalski and her Riot teammates would not be denied on this day, as their date with destiny was defined by a season in which perseverance and resiliency culminated with an elusive championship. Of note, Agar would finish with a sterling 104 yard performance on only 10 carries. In addition, offensive lineman Angie Douville, a charter member of the Riot announced that she may likely retire, ending her career in fitting fashion.

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