Moffatt enjoying Canada Cup experience despite loss

Matthew
Matthew Gourlie
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Buettner leads Sask. Green to win at national tournament

They were the underdogs of their own province, but Saskatchewan White gave the favourites a scare at the Football Canada Cup Sunday.

Football Sask

Sask. White, the province's "second team", battled hard before losing 27-7 to Quebec who are the four-time defending champions in the quarter-finals of the national football tournament which is being held in Saskatoon.

Peacock quarterback Sawyer Buettner threw two touchdown passes to lead Saskatchewan Green to a 20-2 win over Manitoba in another quarter-final. They will face Alberta Wednesday (7 p.m., Griffiths Stadium). Ontario will play Quebec at 4 p.m. in the other semifinal.

This is the first time Saskatchewan has fielded two teams at the tournament which features the country's top players who are finishing Grade 11 or younger.

Peacock's Dax Moffatt was close to making Sask. Green, but has no regrets.

"I was one of the last cuts from Team Green," said Moffatt. "They ended up having a Team White tryout that same weekend and they brought me over to the other squad after that. They're pretty stacked at linebacker on the Green squad, but I was able to start on this squad, so I'm happy with that.

"It's more to be starting in my opinion. It's better to play than to be on the bench the whole time."

Moffatt is the starting linebacker for Sask. White and had a strong start to the tournament getting in on some tackles, recording a sack and knocking down a pass.

"There was good hustle from all 12 guys on our defence," said Moffatt. "There were a couple of mental errors, but nothing too shabby. It was a good day for the most part."

The team had been practicing twice a day to prepare and are bonding quickly while living in dorms at the University of Saskatchewan.

"It's a really good time," said Moffatt. "In our dorm, it's me and our other two starting linebackers and one of the d-linemen. We have an Xbox in our dorm and we're playing that in our down time and going over our playbook. It's a lot of fun and we're getting some good chemistry going."

Quebec 27 Sask. White 7 

Quebec was the heavy favourites, but they took a meagre 8-7 lead into the half against Sask White.

"Our first play we sent all of our linebackers and we ended up pushing two or three yards back. It was a good play and it set the tone for the whole first half I think," said Moffatt.

"Our defensive co-ordinator (Tony Michalchuk) is calling a lot of blitzes and bringing the house a lot. We're having a lot of fun out there and playing a lot of smash-mouth football."

Sask. White head coach Dan Houle called the effort of his defence "unbelievable" and gave them a lot of credit for limiting the potent Quebec offence.

While it was hard for the No. 8 seed from Sask. White to match up athletically with the Quebec team, Moffatt enjoyed testing himself against that level of talent.

"It was a challenge. They have a lot of big guys, that's for sure," said Moffatt. "Coming back to Peacock I'm happy to have that experience. When we play Yorkton, they're a big team, so it's a lot like playing them. It's a lot of smash-mouth football, hard hitting, all 12 guys going to the ball, that kind of thing. It's fun."

Offensive lineman Carson Bell from Assiniboia is also on the Sask. White team.

They will face Nova Scotia Wednesday on the consolation side.

Sask Green 20 Manitoba 2

Buettner threw a pair of first half touchdowns to give Sask. Green a 13-0 lead.

Buettner threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Dryden Kalesnikoff to open the scoring. Later in the half, Buettner connected with receiver Kade Belyk on a 55-yard touchdown pass to widen the lead to 13-0.

Belyk finished with five catches for 190 yards. 

Buettner completed 8-of-12 passes for 235 yards. He didn't throw an interception and had two touchdown passes.

Payton Hall, who was born in Caronport and attends Campbell Collegiate in Regina, blocked a field goal and then recovered it for the hosts. A few plays later Buettner was hit as he threw and fumbled. 

Hall finished with three tackles.

Organizations: University of Saskatchewan

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Quebec, Canada Saskatoon Manitoba Alberta Griffiths Stadium Ontario Yorkton Assiniboia Nova Scotia Caronport Regina

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