Saskatoon Valkyries going for 4th straight championship

While the Riders gear up for their second game of the season this afternoon, women's football is taking centre stage in Saskatoon.

Valkyries will battle the Lethbridge Steel at Griffiths Stadium for league championship game

The Saskatoon Valkyries host the Lethbridge Steel in the league final at Griffiths Stadium. (Peter Mills/CBC)

Saskatchewan is Roughrider crazy.

But tonight women's football is taking centre stage in Saskatoon. As the Saskatoon Valkyries are going for their fourth-straight Western Women's Canadian Football League (WWCFL) championship.

Playing in championship games isn't new for Valkyries quarterback Candace Bloomquist, but she's still eager to hit the gridiron.

"I have butterflies before every game," Bloomquist said, laughing. "I care about the game and playing it well and doing it for my teammates."

Since the creation of the WWCFL, Saskatoon has been the team to beat. This year, the Valkyries went 6-0 while outscoring their opponents 286-28. 

"Not to compare us to the Riders, but you think about the Riders, there is a great expectation on them," Bloomquist said. "I don't think we have that type of pressure. I think our family and friends and fans just enjoy watching us and we're happy to do that because we enjoy the game."

The Valkyries are playing the Lethbridge Steel in the league final for the third-straight season. Kick off is at 7 p.m. CST at Griffiths Stadium.

'A cheetah crossed with a gazelle'

Valkyries running back Julie David. (Peter Mills/CBC)

One of the biggest reasons for the Valkyries success is the dominating play of running back Julie David.

When asked to describe David's abilities, Bloomquist laughed.

"A cheetah crossed with a gazelle," she said. "She is something to watch."

"She's a scary player to play against," Valkyries head coach Jeff Yausie said.

Despite high praise from her team, David remains modest.

"I think other of my teammates deserve it more than I do," David said. "I'm getting to know the game and why we run the plays that we play, instead of just, 'Run that way.' It's really exciting and you really develop an appreciation for the game."

'Not just a guy's game anymore'

The WWCFL continues to grow each year, but convincing all football fans to come out and watch has not always been easy.

"Football is not just a guy's game anymore," Yausie said. "The girls play at a high level and they're fun to watch."

David, who never played organized football in her life before joining the Valkyries, said she encourages all interested women to give it a chance.

"I think women's football is something that is a long time overdue," David said. "Now that young girls have an opportunity to play flag (football) and that there's these opportunities to play tackle when you get older ... I am really excited for the future of women's football."

The 25-year-old star running back added that fans are going to be treated to a great game tonight.

"Just because we're women doesn't mean we don't hit hard and play hard," David said. "It's going to be a really, really good game and a good competition."