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'We played hard': Riders beat Bombers in pre-season finale

Trevor Harris checked every box on the Saskatchewan coaching staff’s checklist in his opening and only drive of the Roughriders 28-16 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday night at IG Stadium.

Saskatchewan improved to 2-0 in the pre-season with most of its starters seeing playing time.

Harris signed with Saskatchewan in the off-season to replace Cody Fajardo. Despite lobbying for additional playing time, the 37-year old starter saw just one series, (nine plays 83-yards) in which is completed all four pass attempts for 72-yards and a touchdown strike to Derel Walker.

“I was happy to get out there. [I] lost an argument on the sideline with Craig [Dickenson] to play some more. I get where he’s coming from. It was just good to get out there and do some of the things that we wanted to do,” said Harris after the win adding the coach said he’ll let him play all four quarters next week.

In 18 games for the Montreal Alouettes last season, Harris completed 331 passes for 4,157 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

The Waldo, OH. product trades teams with last year’s Riders pivot Cody Fajardo who signed in Montreal in the off-season.

“I thought he played well. We had anticipated him playing a little longer but he got every throw in we wanted him to make. It was a great drive. We took him out. We wanted to see other quarterbacks,” head coach Craig Dickenson said, adding the staff wanted to get a better look at the other three quarterbacks.

It is the back-up quarterback battle that has intrigued many in Riderville.

Mason Fine saw the majority of the playing time. Last year’s back-up quarterback completed nine of 13 pass attempts for 86 yards and a touchdown.

Jake Dolegala who has had an impressive training camp for Saskatchewan completed both of his pass attempts for just 17 yards while adding 12 yards on the ground.

Shea Patterson rushed for 33 yards on five attempts in a variety of short yardage situations including lunging into the end zone for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

“I think all three of them did a great job,” said Harris on the other three quarterbacks. “I’m glad I don’t have to make the decisions.”

On the defensive side of the ball, the Riders held the Bombers to just 157 yards through the air and 109 on the ground. “It felt amazing to get my first sack as a professional, it was kind of surreal, but after that I just wanted another one,” said Cody Roscoe, who is pushing for a roster spot.

Kicker Brett Lauther struggled early missing a pair of PATs and a 45 yard attempt.

The veteran kicker was much better down the stretch connecting on 51 and 12 yard attempts.

The Blue Bombers did not have their veteran starting quarterback Zach Collaros in the line-up.

In his place, back-up Dru Brown connected on eight of his 15 attempts for 69 yards. Tyrell Pigrome made an excellent push toward a job at quarterback going five-for-six, 65 yards and a touchdown.

Also noticibly absent were star receivers Dalton Schoen and Nik Demski. Rookie running back Jordan Salima dashed into the end zone for a four yard major in the fourth quarter to bring the deficit to 21-15. 

“I thought we played hard. I thought we were physical. Without watching the film you just get general impressions, so I thought the guys looked like they knew what they were doing and they played clean,” Dickenson said of the win, crediting the team’s discipline in only taking a single penalty.

He says he knows the offensive and defensive fronts they’ll face in the coming weeks will be significantly more challenging.

Difficult decisions now face the Roughriders coaching staff as they’ll begin roster cuts inside the next 48-hours.

“We’ll watch the film as a staff and we’ll meet in the morning and we’ll talk about it.” Dickenson said, acknowledging there are some tough decisions ahead of him.

The Roughriders open their regular season on Sunday, June 11th when they travel to Edmonton to face the Elks. Top Stories

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