U Sports [RECAP]: Preseason action sees Shalley, Schmekel shine in exhibition win over Dinos

The University of Regina Rams opened up the 2017 season with a 39-3 win over Calgary on Wednesday night in exhibition action at the Methanex Bowl in Medicine Hat.

A pair of first-year rookies were the stories on both sides of the ball for the Rams. Zachary Shalley (pictured) caught eight passes for 70 yards including two touchdown receptions, while Tanner Schmekel had a game-high 4½ tackles including a sack on which he not only caused a fumble, but also recovered the ball deep in Calgary territory. Schmekel finished the night with 3½ tackles for loss, sending the Dinos back a total of 16 yards.

First-year quarterback Seb Britton finished 8-for-16, passed for 86 yards in the win, and threw all three of the Rams’ touchdown passes. He not only hit Shalley twice in the end zone, but also connected on an 18-yard catch-and-run with Semba Mbasela in the second half. Tyler Vieira was efficient in the second half, completing nine of his 13 pass attempts for a total of 116 yards.

Carter Hewson was the U of R’s leading rusher, ending up with five carries for 35 yards.

The Rams sparkled defensively all game, holding Calgary to just 87 yards of total offence and forcing five turnovers – two on third-down stops and three on fumbles. The special teams got into the act as well, with Thomas Huber recovering a pair of fumbles off of muffed punts as the Dinos lost a total of five fumbles in the game. The Rams finished the game with six sacks, getting one apiece from Ryan Warner, Eric Wicijowski, Nicholas Dheilly, Schmekel, Blake Turner, and Travis Pelletier.

Head coach Steve Bryce: “I’m happy, but not too excited because it’s exhibition. Like I told the guys after the game, I think we found our mojo, but we need to play with consistency to keep that. I thought our starters battled well in the first quarter, but I was so impressed with our Ram cubs – they came here to impress tonight and they’re going to make our job very difficult in terms of assigning positions on the depth chart. You can go down the list – Shalley, Schmekel, Kyle Borsa, Semba Mbasela, Lucas Nurkowski – we have so many young players of outstanding quality and they showed it tonight.”

Turning Point: Wicijowski’s sack in the second quarter
By mutual arrangement, both coaches played their starters throughout the first quarter before starting to move to the backups by the start of the second. The teams played a scoreless first quarter before trading a pair of field goals in the first half of the second, but a big play by Wicijowski turned the tide late in the quarter. He got through to Calgary second-string pivot Adam Sinagra for a sack fumble, which Dheilly picked up to give the Rams the ball at the Dinos’ 40-yard line. Three rushes by Borsa and a Calgary penalty brought Regina down to the 13, leading to Britton finding Shalley for the first major of the game. That gave the Rams a 10-3 advantage at halftime, and it was all Regina after that.

Exhibition Notes
Third time was the charm for the Rams tonight, as this marked the third consecutive season that Regina and Calgary have kicked off the season with a Medicine Hat exhibition. The Dinos were victorious in both of those previous two meetings, winning 25-9 in 2015 and 37-13 in 2016. They also took a 26-10 win over the Rams in Medicine Hat way back in 2008. Overall, the Rams now have a 5-7 record against U SPORTS opposition in exhibition games.

Regina (39) -VS- Calgary (3)

Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Regina 0 10 15 14 39
Calgary 0 3 0 0 3
Tyler Vieira (116),
Carter Hewson (35),
Zachary Shalley (70)
Adam Sinagra (34),
Robert Stewart (19),
Jacob Izquierdo (22)

Scoring Summary

Scoring Summary
Qtr Time Scoring Play REG CGY
2nd 14:44 REG – Daniel Scraper 42 yd field goal 5 plays, 23 yards, TOP 1:56 3 0
2nd 08:16 CGY – Niko DiFonte 46 yd field goal 3 plays, 23 yards, TOP 1:32 3 3
2nd 01:31 REG – Zachary Shalley 13 yd pass from Seb Britton (Daniel Scraper kick ) 6 plays, 40 yards, TOP 1:37 10 3
3rd 09:58 REG – Zachary Shalley 8 yd pass from Seb Britton (Kealey Heintz kick ) 1 plays, 8 yards, TOP 0:17 17 3
3rd 06:17 REG – Semba Mbasela 18 yd pass from Seb Britton (Kealey Heintz kick ) 5 plays, 59 yards, TOP 2:34 24 3
4th 09:57 REG – Tyler Vieira 1 yd run (Thomas Huber kick ), 3 plays, 24 yards, TOP 1:12 33 3
4th 07:47 REG – Thomas Huber 24 yd field goal 5 plays, 13 yards, TOP 2:07 36 3
4th 01:25 REG – Kealey Heintz 26 yd field goal 3 plays, 0 yards, TOP 0:39 39 3
39 3

Source: Regina Rams Football

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