CIS kickoff: No simple Toon up

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:26 AM ET

With four extra possessions, the game itself was looonng.

And for the Calgary Dinos football squad, that was nothing compared to the six-hour trip home after a heartbreaking 34-33 overtime loss to the Saskatchewan Huskies.

“That was a bit of a rough ride. Obviously, everybody was pretty upset,” recalled Dinos receiver Anthony Parker. “It was definitely a rough ride home. Pretty silent.

I don’t think anybody had much to say to each other because we knew we let that one slip away.”

From a pure entertainment standpoint, Saturday’s Week 1 showdown between the Dinos and the Huskies (7 p.m., McMahon Stadium, ShawTV, QR77) likely won’t match their season-opening slugfest at Griffiths Stadium Sept. 4, 2009. The Canada West rivals were locked in a 20-20 stalemate after 60 minutes and traded touchdowns on the first offensive set of overtime.

The Huskies hit the endzone again on their second possession of extra-time. Then, the Dinos responded with another major of their own.

With star quarterback Erik Glavic and several others nicked up, Dinos sideline boss Blake Nill opted to try for a two-point conversion.

Didn’t work. Not this time.

“I remember looking over, and sure enough, he had the two fingers up. We just went for it,” Glavic said.

“There’s no regrets from that. I think it was the right call. We all backed coach Nill on that call. He took a lot of heat for it, but, sometimes, you’ve gotta make those decisions as a coach.

“But you don’t like losing the first game of the year. It’s a tough way to start, when you are 0-1, and expectations were pretty high last year, as well. So until you get that first win, I guess your nerves are kind of on edge. It was definitely a quiet bus ride back.”

The Dinos earned more than just a measure of revenge last November, returning to Toon Town and toppling the host Huskies 39-38 in the Hardy Cup conference championship game. In fact, the season-opening thriller was their only loss to a Canada West opponent last season.

“Last year, it was a one-point game both times we played,” Parker said.

“Fortunately, the one that counted, we came out on top. Hopefully, we can do the same thing Saturday.”

If history is any indication, it will be another close one.

The Dinos were the top-ranked team in the pre-season national poll, with the Huskies checking in at No. 3.

The Dinos travel to Saskatoon Oct. 15 for another date with the Huskies. And everybody expects they’ll be meeting again to fight for the Hardy Cup crown.

Right now, though, the Dinos are simply focused on getting off to a better start than last fall.

“We’d be happier if we could finish the game off on the winning end and before overtime,” Glavic said.

“But, we’re just expecting a hard-hitting, good game, and it very well could come down to overtime again.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca


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