Bisons football hosts defending Hardy Cup champion Huskies in home opener

For Immediate Release
August 27, 2019   Bisons football hosts defending Hardy Cup champion Huskies in home opener
WINNIPEG – After two weeks of training camp and an exhibition game, it’s time for the real deal for Manitoba Bisons football (0-0). They begin their 2019 season at home with a test against the defending Hardy Cup champion Saskatchewan Huskies (0-0).

The Canada West Football Showcase game takes place at IG Field on Friday, August 30 at 7 p.m. CDT, and will be available on Bell MTS Fibe TV channel 1802 for customers in Manitoba and on SaskTel in Saskatchewan. The matchup can also be watched on CanadaWest.TV (fee required).

The landscape has changed for both the Bisons and the Huskies in 2019, with Manitoba feeling confident after a 12-9 exhibition win over Regina and a competitive camp. On offence, they’re once again led by quarterback Des Catellier, who enters his fourth year of eligibility having been the starter since Sep. 23, 2017. Last year, he set the school record for completion percentage at 62.6 and has thrown for 3,154 yards and 23 touchdowns since assuming the reigns.

Catellier will be working under a new system, as offensive coordinator Vaughan Mitchell returns to the fray, but has familiar targets. Fourth-year wideout Macho Bockru expects to build on a season that earned him an invite to the 2019 East-West Bowl, as he was top ten in Canada West in receptions (32), yards (523), and yards per catch average (16.3).

On defence, Manitoba returns three CFL draft picks — fourth-year Chris Larsen, fifth-year Derek Dufault, and fourth-year Samson Abbott — to a line that expects big things in 2019. Dufault in particular should be threatening, as he’s tallied 78.5 tackles and 7.5 sacks in his Bisons career.

“We’re in a luxurious position,” Bisons head coach Brian Dobie says of the depth in the front four. “That’s the strongest area of the team. Our defensive line is one of the best groups in the country and I totally believe that. We need to take advantage of that depth and they need to keep flying around.”

The Huskies, meanwhile, see their offence retooled after the graduations of five-year quarterback Kyle Siemens and running back Tyler Chow. The former threw for 264.6 yards per game in 2018, while the latter finished second in Canada West in rushing yards per game at 80.0 — both key in the Huskies’ upset win over undefeated Calgary in the Hardy Cup. Saskatchewan gets a returning boost at the receiver position, though, as Jesse Kuntz (41 receptions, 542 yards) and Colton Klassen (38 receptions, 676 yards) are both back in white and green.

After this week, the Bisons are on the road for two games, playing in Calgary on September 6 (6:30 p.m.) and in Edmonton to face the Golden Bears on September 13 (8 p.m.)

For a full preview, view the Week 1 game notes. A Bisons Sports press conference will take place on Tuesday, August 27 with football head coach Brian Dobie and players available.

The HUB (3rd floor University Centre, University of Manitoba)
WHEN: Tuesday, August 27 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
WHO: Bisons football head coach Brian Dobie, quarterback Des Catellier, defensive end Derek Dufault, defensive back Shae Weekes, and running back Logan Fischer

Please text or call John Gaudes (204-297-6259) for parking information near University Centre for this press conference. Media attending Friday’s game will also need to request a pass before August 30 at noon.