Prior to the CFL postseason, the Saskatchewan Roughriders had their home playoff game assured while they played their final regular season match-up in Hamilton. Some extra motivation did exist in the game, but it frankly didn’t mean that much, and that fact seemed to be a stain all over the green and white’s game back on Saturday, November 20th.
The 24-3 final that closed out their scheduled games didn’t hurt the Roughriders confidence at all headed into last week’s Western Semi-Final against Calgary. Despite the score from the week before, the team was prepared as ever, battling their way to a double-overtime win 33-30 over the rival Stampeders.
With those two performances in the rear view, the biggest game of the season is now on tap as the team travels to Winnipeg to take on the Blue Bombers for a chance to play in the 108th Grey Cup in Hamilton.
Roughriders guard Logan Ferland can surely call the upcoming West Final the biggest game of his career, although it is just another great opportunity for the rookie player to make a name for himself in his first season. When Saskatchewan released their team award nominees, receiver Kian Schaffer-Baker was named the team’s Most Outstanding rookie, but not unanimously.
At least some in the Roughriders brass felt Ferland’s job this year, essentially replacing stalwart on the offensive line Brendon LaBatte, had been done well enough to earn him some chatter as the teams best rookie.
He made it a goal of his before the season to show-out as a rookie and despite still not seeing the material recognition, Ferland hears the noise around his name, and appreciates it.
“It’s pretty honouring. It was a goal before the season,” said Ferland on his Rookie of the Year hopes, “Just the life of a lineman. I don’t focus on the awards, too much, I mean obviously it’s nice to get recognized for things.”
Ferland has had more than enough recognition making the jump from CJFL all-star, to starting a full season in the CFL, but does think that looking at his resume this season does make a person think about potentially rewarding the effort. Despite all this Ferland isn’t about to take the shine away from a player as talented as the Canadian product Schaffer-Baker, who burst onto the scene as one of Cody Fajardo’s favourite targets, and proved it with a nice touchdown grab in last week’s playoff game against Calgary.
“Schaeffer for sure deserved it. I would never take that award away from anyone, and there’s a few guys that for sure deserved it. It would have been a tough choice, and it is what it is,” reflected Ferland, “It’s something I don’t focus on too much, and like I said I’m used to being a lineman, and just kind of used to what comes with that lifestyle.”
Announcing our team award nominees for the CFL Awards 🏆#BringEmOut— Saskatchewan Roughriders (@sskroughriders) November 17, 2021
Most football coaches would prefer their players to take a backseat and let the headlines come to them. For linemen, it’s best if their name gets no mention, because that likely means they do their job well in keeping the quarterback clean.
Ferland made CJFL headlines for all the right reasons in junior, so if the recognition does come in one day, he might be ready for it based on the fame his career with the Regina Thunder has already brought him.
“I’ve had a lot of exposure. It’s a different world coming from junior too, I mean you are pumped up quite a bit in that league but there are usually not a lot of eyes on that. ‘It’s just junior,’ as they are going to say, so it is nice getting recognition for hard work, absolutely.”
With all the talk about not being recognized, I guess it should be mentioned that Ferland is among the league leaders for yards among non skill-position players. He caught a batted ball for 4 yards in a Week Three win against the Redblacks, among collecting other rare stats for a lineman.
“I have a catch, a couple of fumble recoveries I think, and a couple of tackles. I’m happy with that.”
Again the Roughriders need a huge push from their offensive line if they want a playoff victory on Sunday. The Blue Bombers were the CFL’s de facto best team in 2021, and they embarrassed the Roughriders in their two meetings. The Roughriders season saw a shift in expectation following those games, and have been forced to play under much more adversity than the exciting start that had fans thinking big.
The biggest test of the year is finally here. Kickoff for the West Final is set for 3 pm, following Hamilton taking on Toronto; as the remaining CFL teams vie for a spot in the Grey Cup.