Roughriders’ Thrilling Overtime Victory in 58th Labour Day Classic


In a dramatic end to the 58th Labour Day Classic, Roughriders quarterback Jake Dolegala led his team to an exhilarating 32-30 overtime victory against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, in a game he admitted exceeded his wildest dreams. “It really comes down to trust, to believing in your team,” said the gratified Saskatchewan quarterback.

The competitive vigor of the match was summarized by Rushriders head coach Craig Dickenson, who declared, “That game was a thrill. It was one of the most entertaining victories I’ve ever witnessed.”

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The Riders commenced the overtime play with a one-yard quarterback sneak by Antonio Pipkin, marking his second substantial score of the game. Soon after, a successful two-point conversion by Dolegala and Shawn Bane Jr. extended their lead to 32-24.

However, the Blue Bombers didn’t take this lying down. Renowned quarterback Zach Collaros swiftly orchestrated a 35-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Lawler, temporarily muting the 33,350 spectators in the crowd. Everything fell upon the imminent two-point conversion, and that’s when an unexpected hero rose to the occasion.

Jaxson Ford, a former Regina Rams luminary and grandson to Al Ford, ex-Riders GM, stepped in for the injured Jaden Dalke and made a series-defining play. Bursting with anticipatory adrenaline, Ford reached out and tipped the crucial pass, forcing it to hit the ground before reaching the intended receiver, drawing the game to a close.

Ford described the call as a blitz by Derrick Moncrief, which eventually saw Ford run off the edge to create the game-turning interception. The highly charged rush of energy and boldness resonated in his recollection of the historic moment.

Head coach Dickenson was full of praise for the young defender, acknowledging Ford’s potential to stand amongst their top-tier players given his impressive performances thus far.

The pivotal decision to draw out the game to overtime came from an 18-yard field goal made by Brett Lauther with just 31 seconds remaining. However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the Riders. An ‘unnecessary roughness penalty’ on Pete Robertson against Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros towards the end nearly cost them the game.

Neither Robertson nor Dickenson are expecting any suspension arising from this incident. Robertson acknowledged his actions, stating his need for better control during such heated matches and understanding the sensitive nature of interactions with top players like Collaros.

Dickenson, unable to comment directly on Robertson’s infraction, noted the emotional intensity of the game. He indicated some lapses from the team’s side – including a brief loss of his composure, and committed to improving discipline among his players.

The first significant score of the game came from Antonio Pipkin, the Riders’ quarterback, six minutes into the second quarter. An astounding 106-yard touchdown drive increased the Riders’ lead to 10-0.

The Bombers countered with an impressive drive of their own, led by Collaros. He manufactured a hundred-yard drive resulting in a touchdown, featuring a 46-yard reception alongside Drew Wolitarsky’s 34-yard contribution.

By the end of the match, Dolegala had completed 22 of 39 passes for a total of 326 yards while Collaros managed 13 of 26 for 279 yards, with a touchdown and an interception to his name. The victory brings the Roughriders’ record to 6-5 for the season.

The game suffered a setback as Chris Kelly, an offensive lineman, had to leave due to a knee injury in the second half. Coach Dickenson admitted the likelihood of Kelly’s return appeared bleak.

Despite concerns over the air quality index rated as ‘extremely high’ due to nearby wildfires, the game proceeded as scheduled with the rating reducing to eight during kick-off.

As the exhilaration subsides, both teams now shift their attention to their upcoming faceoff in the Banjo Bowl, slated for Saturday afternoon.