Mission accomplished. Thunder defeat Hilltops to claim 2022 PFC Championship


A championship quest that began last season, was fulfilled on Sunday, as the Regina Thunder defeated the Saskatoon Hilltops 39-21 in to claim the 2022 PFC championship.

Quarterback Carter Shewchuk had one passing touchdown along with two rushing touchdowns. Running back, Ryland Leichert also had a pair of rushing touchdowns to lead the Thunder offence.

The Hilltops opened up the scoring in the with the first touchdown of the game  before the Thunder responded by rattling off 24 unanswered points in the first half.

A key turning point happened in the second quarter, with the game tied at 7-7, Adam King was able to pick up a key interception, a play he said that the Thunder spent time watching on film.

In the second half, the Hilltops wouldn’t go away easily, as they responded with a pair of touchdowns to cut the deficit to 25-21.

The Thunder would pull away in the fourth quarter with touchdown runs by Shewchuk and Leichert before making the final 39-21.

Head coach Scott MacAulay was proud of his team’s effort following the victory.

“It was a battle all year, I felt we had the toughest schedule, playing the Rifles twice, the Huskies twice, the Hilltops twice before the playoffs, and the Rifles are a hell of a team, they played us hard in the semi-final, and the playing the Hilltops today, it’s not easy.”

Even though the Thunder fell behind after giving up the opening touchdown, MacAulay believed in his team’s ability to respond.

Thunder Coach Scott MacAulay celebrates the win

“It’s tough, the Hilltops know how to make plays, they’re a hell of a football team, we just felt like we had the horses, we just had to concentrate on ourselves.”

After the game, Shewchuk said it was an indescribable feeling claiming the PFC championship.

“You work so hard, you put in the effort and you sacrifice so many different things in order to reach one goal, I’ve been doing that for six years, and I think there’s eleven or twelve of us who have been doing it for six years, throughout a pandemic, throughout a loss in the championship game and everything like that.”

Thunder QB Carter Shewchuk extends for the touchdown

Leichert also noted work the Thunder have put in all season to claim the championship.

“We kept our composure throughout the game, to get the this win, means everything for us and this organization.”

The ramifications of the Thunder finally defeating the Hilltops in the PFC Finals on Sunday, is something that will not only be felt by the current team, for future Thunder to teams to come says Shewchuk.

“It will really help with recruiting.” The quarterback added. “We’ve had a culture of winning, but it was just, we couldn’t get over that step, and you know we got one more step to go, but I definitely think it will help going forward.”

Moments after winning the championship, Leichert says the feeling of victory will probably sink in once the team left the field.

“I think when we’re in the room, I’m going to look around at my brothers, it’s going to be emotional, and we’re going to have a lot of emotional tears.”

With the victory, the Thunder will receive a bye into the Canadian Bowl on November 12. They will host the Okanagan Sun who advance to final game this weekend in the national semi-final.

Shewchuk believes the home field advantage the Thunder will possess against the Sun will be a key factor.

“It’s going to be electric, obviously we have great fans, I don’t think they’re probably use to the weather, that we’re going to be having in the next couple of weeks, so that’s going to be an adjustment.” The quarterback added.

“We just have to get back to the drawing board, get prepared, and get ready to move forward on November 12.”

Regina Thunder celebrate their 2022 PFC Championship

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