Regina native Mitch Picton fills in for Duke Williams, catches game-winning touchdown in Riders’ Week 2 win

Photo: Paul Swanson/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Regina-born receiver Mitch Picton was a standout for the Saskatchewan Roughriders during Week 2 in Edmonton.

He caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cody Fajardo in the fourth quarter to give the green and white the lead for keeps against the Elks. The former University of Regina Ram followed the major with a two-point convert solidifying a Riders win over Edmonton 26-16.

“The ball seemed to be in the air forever,” said Picton to Regina Leader-Post reporter Murray McCormick. “Busted coverage, we will take ’em any way we can get them, sometimes you gotta win dirty on the road and came away with the ‘W.’”

Picton was put in the starting line-up at slotback just days before the match-up at Commonwealth Stadium. He was needed due to Duke Williams suffering an ankle injury during Wednesday’s practice. Without the star American pass catcher, there were questions about how the offence would play without Williams. Despite limited preparation time, Picton found a way to execute.

“You’re taking reps at this position in practice and then Duke is such a great teammate to have too. He was helping me all week in the film room and then he said: ‘You had a good week of practice, go out there and do your thing.’”

Picton caught four of his five targets for 56 yards and the key late-game TD. Head coach Craig Dickenson praised the six-foot-two, 200-pound receiver, saying he did a “hell of a job.” Fajardo, who worked with Picton for ten games during the 2021 season, was also very impressed. 

“The average fan doesn’t know losing a receiver that late in the week, you already have your plays set,” explained Fajardo.

“We had a lot of Duke-heavy plays in this wristband, this game plan, and to have Mitch come in and just execute it, that’s what makes him so special is he can play any position on the field. When you have a guy like that on your roster, it doesn’t matter what happens during the week, I feel comfortable knowing whatever position Mitch plays, he’s gonna have it down.”

The LeBoldus Catholic High School product did not have the home-crowd noise backing him, but two special fans of Picton’s weren’t going to miss the away game. Picton’s parents were seen on social media at Commonwealth Stadium cheering on their son in green and white gear. 

Photo courtesy: Grey Cup Fun Police/Twitter @GCFunPolice

“It’s always special when they can make the trip,” said Picton. “I have the best support team in the world. I’ve got family everywhere and they’re gonna follow me around to watch me play ball.” 

Picton was selected in the fifth round, 37th overall by the Riders in the 2017 CFL Draft and made his pro debut during the 2019 season, playing in two games. Last season, Picton recorded 25 receptions for 218 yards and one touchdown. 

If Williams’ injury continues to keep him on the sidelines, Picton seems to be the right guy to fill his spot.

Olivia Lawrence is a University of Regina School of Journalism graduate who covers the Saskatchewan Roughriders for 3DownNation.