Receiver Shawn Bane Jr. did ‘all that and then some’ against former Riders DC Jason Shivers

Photo courtesy: CFL

Shawn Bane Jr. saw exactly what he was expecting from Edmonton defensive coordinator Jason Shivers in Saturday’s season-opener, allowing him to produce a heroic three-touchdown performance in Saskatchewan’s 29-21 victory.

“Yes, all that and then some,” the 29-year-old receiver told the 620 CKRM post-game show when asked if the Elks lined up how he anticipated. “Shout out Coach Shives, good dude but, yeah, we were able to do what we had to do.”

Bane was intimately familiar with Shivers’ schemes and systems after spending the 2023 season together in Saskatchewan. It would prove to be the last of four campaigns as Riders defensive coordinator for the 41-year-old coach, as he was allowed to walk in the offseason following the hiring of new head coach Corey Mace.

Shivers’ defence ranked ninth in net offence allowed with an average of 381.3 yards per game during his final season in Regina. The unit also placed ninth in offensive points allowed (28.3), ninth in offensive touchdowns allowed (51), ninth in sacks (37), and eighth in takeaways (29).

Despite those numbers, he quickly reunited with his mentor Chris Jones in Edmonton, taking over playcalling duties from the team’s head coach and general manager. His defensive philosophy has not changed much in the new shade of green, as the Riders were able to recover from a slow start and explode for 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to secure the victory.

“We got into halftime, kind of calmed down and just exploited what they did. We were beating ourselves,” Bane said of the performance.

“An ugly, ugly win but I’m just happy to be a part of it. The O-line did their thing, Trevor (Harris) did his thing and I’m only just a byproduct of making the play.”

The native of Sarasota, Fla. put the Riders on the board midway through the first quarter, catching a 27-yard strike from Trevor Harris after coming wide open on a post route. He returned to the endzone to kickstart the comeback early in the fourth, making a nifty catch for 40 yards and a score after attacking the deep middle on a scissors concept.

In total, Bane was able to catch five passes for 125 yards and a trio of majors. After posting a breakout thousand-yard campaign last year in the slot, his Week 1 production came while lined up as the outside receiver to the boundary — a spot which set him up for success against Edmonton.

“Me and (offensive coordinator) Marc Mueller talked and he was just saying, ‘They won’t be able to get a bead on you,'” Bane explained. “If he can move you around, it’s gonna take a little more studying and whatnot, but he was just like, ‘If we can do that, we can make some big plays.”

“I think it’s the same thing we would do on defence with defensive backs, seeing how many guys we can move around to multiple spots,” head coach Corey Mace said of the change. “That allows us to be more dynamic on offence and Bane does have experience in the system at that position as well.”

“Certainly, the way that we set up the roster, it made sense for us there and we’re just excited about the fact that he went out there and was able to do what he could do. That just proves that our thought process is where it needs to be.”

Bane’s crowning accomplishment came with 1:10 remaining and his team up by one point. On second-and-eight with the game in the balance, he beat his man cleanly on the outside for an easy 33-yard score.

“If we can continue to put the ball in our offence’s hands, we’ve been talking about it all camp up to this point, we’ve got dynamic playmakers on offence and a veteran quarterback,” Mace said of the play which secured his first career head-coaching victory. “Muels dialled up a beautiful one and it was good to see those guys execute when we get the ball flipped like that.”

The Riders (1-0) will look to build off Bane’s momentum when they visit the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (0-1) on Sunday, June 16 at 7:00 p.m. EDT.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.