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Riders mark first pre-season win in 9 years in 30-27 victory over Lions

The Saskatchewan Roughriders came out on top in their first pre-season test on Saturday when they faced off against the B.C. Lions at Mosaic Stadium. The victory marked their first pre-season win since 2014.

“Pre-season you can’t put too much in it. But anytime you can win a game, especially when you’re trailing and come back and win a game, it’s good for the locker room,” said head coach, Craig Dickenson.

The Riders were without their starting quarterback, newly acquired Trevor Harris, who missed much of week two of training camp to be present for the birth of his third child.

Instead, the green and white broke up play with Jake Dolegala, Mason Fine, and Shea Patterson.

Dolegala opened the game and played the entire first quarter. However, there was not much action. The game remained scoreless after the first 15 minutes.

BC would eventually get on the board first with a 38 yard field goal to make it 3-0 with 12:45 to go in the second quarter.

9:35 in the second quarter the Riders would capitalize on a B.C. penalty that moved them to the one yard line. Dolegala would run it in for the first touchdown of the game. Saskatchewan’s David Solie missed the extra point making it a 6-3 game for the green and white.

Solie would redeem himself at 5:09 of the second quarter with a 22 yard field goal from to make it 9-3 Riders.

With 53 seconds to go in the first half B.C. would strike back with their first touchdown of the game. The extra point proved to be good making it 10-9 for the Lions.

The Riders would put Shea Patterson in for their final drive of the half.

He would eventually lead the team to attempting a 51 yard field goal attempt with one second remaining. But Solie would go wide keeping the score 10-9 for the Lions at the half.

In the first half Dolegala went 12 for 17 throwing for 92 yards. He also had 3 rushes for 23 yards including the team’s lone touchdown. Patterson went 4 for 5 for 34 yards.

The Lions would open the second half with a field goal on their first drive to increase their lead to 13-9 with just over 12 minutes to go in the third quarter.

B.C. would continue to dominate the third quarter with another touchdown just over the six minute mark. With the extra point it would stand 20-9 for the Lions.

With just under two minutes to go in the third quarter, Shea Patterson would finally find the back of the end zone with a 25 yard pass to Keith Corbin.

“I’m trying to make the team really. But the older guys are showing us rookies how to work and I appreciate them a lot,” said Corbin on his first touchdown with the Riders.

“First couple of drives, I was a little rusty getting the kinks out I felt like. As I got that second half going I kind of got the party started with Keith on that touchdown,” Patterson said.

The Riders decided to go for two points and would be successful with a pass to Javian Hawkins to tighten the Lions lead to within 3.

But it would not take long for the Lions to strike back. Quarterback Mason Fine finally entered the game to start the fourth quarter however would throw a pick to B.C. Lions linebacker and local Regina product Ryder Varga who would take it in for a touchdown.

27-17 for BC with just over 14 minutes to go in the game.

“You go out there and about the worst possible thing that could happen, happened. I was down there for a minute but had great teammates and coaches come over there and rest and get that mentality back,” Fine said after the game.

The talks proved to work as Fine would redeem himself on the next drive eventually throwing a 12 yard touchdown pass to veteran receiver, Mitch Picton.

However, Kaare Vedvik’s extra point attempt was wide. 27-23 with just under 10 minutes to go.

With under three minutes to go it was déjà vu as Mason Fine would once again find Mitch Picton in the back of the end zone for a touchdown but this time Vedvik would land the extra point to make it 30-27 for the Riders.

“Mason, great comeback,” exclaimed Dickenson. “You know that touchdown at the end was the same play as the interception, same play. So that’s a really great bounce back.”

All three quarterbacks are fighting to be the backup behind Harris this season and after all three had strong performance Saturday night, Dickenson says the decision will not get any easier.

“We’re hoping after watching the film we can have a little clarity but may not be clear and that’s good when you have tough decisions to make,” said Dickenson.

The Riders also showed improvement on the offensive line after allowing zero sacks on the night. But there is still some fine tuning needed before they take to the field in the regular season after still allowing seven penalties in the matchup.

“Too many again. We’re going to work hard at it. The accountability starts immediately after the game I had a visit with them and I feel like penalties are a result of either you’re just not winning your matchup or you’re just being selfish,” Dickenson told reporters.

Saskatchewan will have one more chance to prove themselves in the pre-season when they hit the road to take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers next weekend. Top Stories

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