Clermont Helped Put Rams on University Football Map
From there, the Rams headed to Calgary for their rst Canada
West post-season game, a semi nal against the heavily favoured
Dinos. Regina trailed by 14 midway through the fourth quarter
before scoring two quick touchdowns – the latter Clermont’s
second of the game – to pull even at 32-32. Moments later, Rams
kicker Jon Ryan punted the ball through the end zone for a rouge
on the game’s nal play, providing an unlikely ending, as Regina
upset the Dinos 33-32 to advance to the Hardy Cup.
That meant a date in Winnipeg with the rst-place Manitoba
Bisons, who had lost just once that year. A snowy November
day had transformed University Stadium into an ice rink by
game’s end, which served to only increase the drama in the
Rams narrative, as Regina marched down eld with an 11-play,
86-yard drive in 1:44 to score a touchdown with eight seconds
remaining and win 26-23.
Suddenly the Rams, who one year earlier had failed to win a
single game, now needed just one victory to reach the Vanier
Cup. Up next: the undefeated, No. 2-ranked Saint Mary’s Huskies
at the Atlantic Bowl in Halifax.
As nearly 7,000 super-charged SMU supporters looked on, the
Rams somehow managed to upstage the drama they’d authored
over the previous three weeks, scoring 15 unanswered points
over the game’s last seven minutes to turn a 36-25 de cit into an
utterly staggering 40-36 triumph that left the Huskies Stadium
faithful sitting in stunned silence.
“It was such a crazy atmosphere, and it was just such an amazing
place to play and such an amazing game,” recalls Clermont, who
scored two majors that afternoon. “Just to be part of that was
In the movie version, this might be where the scene fades into a
one-paragraph epilogue summarizing the Vanier Cup. In reality,
Regina’s cinematic magic had nally run out.
Facing the Ottawa Gee-Gees at Toronto’s 50,000-seat Skydome
for the ultimate prize, Regina again found themselves down big
in the fourth quarter, only this time it was just a bit too much for
the Rams to overcome, though not without one last frantic rally
that made the nal 42-39 for Ottawa.
The Rams had arrived, as had Clermont; over four post-season
games, he made 27 catches for 444 receiving yards while scoring
six all-purpose touchdowns. Clermont recorded at least one TD
and over 100 yards of o ence every game.
In 2001, Clermont was named Canada West Player of the Year
and helped Regina return to the Hardy Cup, where they lost to
Manitoba. A few months later, he was selected fourth overall in
the 2002 CFL Draft by the British Columbia Lions, becoming the
rst Rams player to be taken in the rst round.
The rest of Clermont’s football journey is a volume unto itself,
lled with plot twists found in every compelling odyssey;
Untimely injuries, inspiring comebacks, heart-breaking defeats,
and the greatest triumph: a Grey Cup championship with the
Lions in in 2006. There was even a homecoming, with Clermont
playing three seasons for his hometown Saskatchewan
Roughriders before retiring after 2011.
“Football is 100% a game of opportunity,” says Clermont, who
nished his 10-year CFL career with 501 catches for 6,766 yards
in 165 regular season games and was a two-time winner of the
Most Outstanding Canadian Award.
“I’ve known guys who’ve played in Canada West … that didn’t
get the right opportunity but were far more talented players
than some who did get the right opportunity and made the most
of it. And I feel like I was one of those players who had good
opportunities and made the most of them.”
Clermont has approached his professional life much the same,
co-founding JC Reality in Regina several years ago and growing
it into a successful six-person team. Like the football player,
Clermont the realtor is highly competitive, an irrepressible trait
that likely explains why he still re ects on Regina’s remarkable
2000 season with a sense of wistfulness.
“I felt like our team that year was destined to win and we didn’t,”
he says. “As good as those teams (with a sense of destiny) feel,
you’re always going up against somebody else and they probably
have that same feeling as well.”
CANADA WEST YEARBOOK 17