Page 1

Jesse McNair - DB

Marcel Ugoh - LB

Michael Knevel - QB

Hassan Barry - DL

Jamal Johnson - DB

Nicholas Parisotto - DB

Rossini Sandjong - Djabome - DE

Richmond Nketiah - WR

Kene Onyeka - DL

Tyler McLaren - WR

Nelkas Kwemo - LB


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview


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OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

OUA.TV SEASON PREVIEW 109 years of amazing. A 110th chapter to be written. The Quest for the 110th Yates Cup begins August 27 and it is a season you will not want to miss. For the second time in three seasons, the Carleton Ravens will travel to Kingston, Ont. to open the year against the Queen’s Gaels. Each week features a Marquee Matchup, beginningin Week 1 when the Ottawa Gees Gees head south to take on the Guelph Gryphons. Both the Gee-Gees and Gryphons will be looking to start the 2017 campaign hot, after a disappointing early playoff exit for both schools. Week 2 this year falls on the Labour Day long weekend (Sept 3/4), and features the Gryphons for a second consecutive week, with a 2015 Yates Cup rematch in London with the traditional powerhouse Western Mustangs. Last year, the Mustangs paraded all over Gryphons Homecoming with a 50-16 win. For Greg Marshall’s team, who rarely ever loses at home, the sour taste of two consecutive championship defeats on home turf will have the Mustangs raring to go. The defending Yates Cup champion Laurier GoldenHawks headline the week 3 matchup, hosting the Carleton Ravens, who are looking to take the next step to the championship game. The Ravens will look to return the favour to the Hawks after Laurier won a nail bitter up at MNP Park last September, winning17-16 of a late Nathan Mesher field goal. Fans will have their calendars marked for Saturday Sep. 23, as week five in the OUA is rivalry week. The Marquee Matchup will be in Toronto, where the York Lions and Toronto Varsity will clash for the Argo Cup in the Red and Blue Bowl. Meanwhile, in

Guelph, Ont, the McMaster Mauraders and Guelph Gryphons will renew their rivalry. The Queen’s Gaels and Western Mustangs will add a new chapter to one of Canada’s greatest collegiate rivalries, while the battle of Waterloo will take places with the Golden Hawks headed across town to take on the Warriors. Oh and by the way, the Panda Bowl is taking place in the nation’s capital, with the Gee Gees and Ravens duking it out once again after playing to some of the best finishes the past three years. The Ravens will soar into TD Place looking to bring home the famed hardware for a fourth consecutive year, while the Gee-Gees would like nothing better than to #FreePedro from the clutches of their bitter foes Following Thanksgiving, the battle between the past two Yates Cup champions will ensue when the Gryphons host the Golden Hawks at Alumni Stadium. These two teams have not met since Sept 6 2015, when the Gryphons won 30-19. The regular season concludes on Oct. 21, with teams jockeying for postseason positioning, including the Mauraders and Golden Hawks, who will renew acquaintances in Waterloo. The OUA quarter-finals will take place on Saturday, Oct. 28, followed by the semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 4. The “Quest for the Cup” concludes on Saturday, Nov. 11 with the 110th Yates Cup. The winner of the Yates Cup will represent OUA in the U SPORTS Uteck Bowl, where they will take on the AUS conference champion on Saturday, Nov. 18 with a trip to the Vanier Cup on the line. Catch all of these Marquee Matchups, as well as every other OUA football game this season, live online at!


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

A Comeback Four Years In The Making By: Greg Campbell

Deep in the confines of the Laurier athletic complex lies the oldest existing football trophy in North America. Etched with the names of past champions and all-time great OUA teams, the Yates Cup is not in a glass case, nor can it be found out on display in the football complex. Instead, the trophy remains in its black case, locked away. For a program that went 1-7 just four years ago, you would think that item would be the centrepiece of their football display. But to understand the why not, it starts with the who behind it. The face behind the rebuild, or more accurately, the figure at the forefront of it, is former OUA quarterback Michael Faulds. The Eden Mills, Ontario native is the second all-time USports passing leader, and both a twotime Yates Cup champion and Yates Cup MVP as a player. Like so many of his colleagues, a dilemma awaited him at the end of his playing days…did he want to keep football in his life? “I recognized I needed a plan after my playing days. Coaching was something I was always passionate about, and it was a way to have football in life.” That process began by enrolling in a kinesiology at Western with a specialization in coaching, where he was under the tutelage of head coach Greg Marshall. Learning the ins and outs of football, along with the nuances of the coaching aspect of the game, proved invaluable, as Faulds caught his first break. Without any previous coaching experience, the University of York head coach Warren Craney brought in the former quarterback as the offensive coordinator. To be thrust into that position entailed learning by trial and fire, a situation that would be both eye-opening and difficult for Faulds.

Transitioning from having everything a player could want or need, including a top-tier athletic facility, and video editing system, to the scarce resources in a rebuilding program, could be a curse to some, but it was a lesson of perspective for the former Western quarterback. “We didn’t have much but having a view of both ends of the spectrum I feel helped my development as a coach.” Despite what many would see as having the short end of the stick, installing a no-huddle offence at York produced results on the field, finishing in the top 10 the nation in yardage during Faulds’ time there. Yet, at no point during his time at York did he receive a call about becoming a head coach. Instead, when an opening came available at Laurier, the former quarterback knew it was the job for him . “I reflected back to my playing days, the passion, the school spirit, the intimacy of that stadium, there’s a history of winning there…there was a bump, but I was confident this program could turn around.” That meant inheriting a team that went 3-5 the year before and had not been to the Yates Cup since 2006. For the newly appointed head coach, the changes in the program would stem from two things: work ethic and culture. That same tight-knit, family like community made the sell to players a bit easier. For Levondre Gordon and Osei Oginida, it was about learning from impact players like Dillon Campbell, who led the OUA in rushing in 2013 that drew them in. It also helps when you have one of the best offensive lines in the country. “We’re blessed, we have the opportunity to make things to happen all the time,” says third-year running back Osayi Iginuan. In Faulds first season, the Golden Hawks were a not so golden 1-7, but it was in those tough moments of that first year where the seeds were planted and the roots began to spread. That included leading Western at halftime, a team that would go undefeat


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

ed, and taking both Queens and Windsor to overtime. “The one thing that always sickened me, even as a player, is that teams that won got extra practices and games. I told myself at York, if I ever became a head coach and we didn’t make the playoffs, we would do that.” As more teams’ seasons came to an end, Faulds and his team would remain on the practice field, preparing themselves for the future. “Our bodies were worn out, but we started to gain on teams.” The following season, they began to win those close games they had lost the previous year, finishing with two consecutive 4-4 seasons. Year four is where those seeds began to bloom. The 2017 edition of the Golden Hawks came out flying on both sides of the ball, with the team setting a new school record for touchdowns in a single regular season (43), scoring the second most point in Laurier history (341) and posting the fourth-highest rushing yards total in school annals (2,251), the most since the 1970’s. The Hawks also led the nation in rushing (281.4 yards per game) and finished second in total yards (500.6) and scoring (42.6 points per game). The defensive side was just as dominant, allowing only 15.8 points per contest in league play, good for second in Ontario and fourth in the country. Anchored by all-Canadians Nakas Onyeka (LB), Godfrey Onyeka (CB), Malcolm Thompson (HB) and Kwaku Boateng (DE), the Hawks were among the nation’s Top 5 in a number of statistical categories, including first in sacks (36) and defensive touchdowns (6). “If you can hold your head high at 1-7 then you have a different mentality. A couple years ago guys were getting laughed at for wearing their Laurier football shirts around campus.” Those laughs would soon turn into cheers, as the Golden Hawks went during the regular season, before narrowly beating the McMaster Mauraders 21-19 to advance to the 109th Yates Cup. Laurier was back in the same building that ended their postseason last year, but this time, they had a different plan in mind. Not only was their game plan

different, but so was their confidence. Then third year defensive end Rashari Henry was among those that could sense that difference. “Playing Western the first time we didn’t feel like we were out of the game. It’s always good playing someone that challenges you to be better.” For the times they were the centre of jokes on campus, for the struggle to get back to the middle of the pack of OUA respectability, and they position they currently sat in, it came down to those two things they had tried to build up through the years, work ethic and culture. “As a fan you get super nervous, but as a person involved in the moment, you don’t realize the moment you’re in. You’re so dialled into the next play, the next timeout, the next coaching point, that you’re aware of score and time, but not the magnitude.” Faulds’ was not the only one locked in. The OUA Defensive Player of the Year Nakas Onyeka, blocked what at the time seemed like a harmless extra point, yet that single play right there was the epitome of message the team was built around four years ago.“To see our best player rush that hard and never take a play off, I said right there, we were going to win the football game.” In the fourth quarter, Laurier was down 40-19 with eight minutes left . Every scenario became a third down, every play becoming more significant as the clock continued to dwindle down. The Hawks would score 21 unanswered points, and what was a initially a fourth quarter celebration for the Mustangs became their worst nightmare, as the Hawks were now the bird of prey. “When I gazed across when they were up 21 and we were down 21 I didn’t see heads down on our sideline. All of a sudden when we cut it to 14 I hear a rumbling behind our bench. When we cut it to 7, I saw their heads down, I knew the game was over.” Behind three straight Michael Knevel led touchdown drives, the Golden Hawks would tie the game at 40 before Nathan Mesher’s 26-yard boot gave Laurier their eighth Yates Cup title. “To watch them up there and hoist it up, that was the best feeling I’ve ever experienced. To know that those seniors just three years earlier were the laughing stock of the OUA and to see the look on their faces, that was the best reward.”


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

Even in that shining moment for the program, Faulds would never forget where he came from. “I have some much respect for coach Marshall having played for him for so many years. I felt bad for them. That sounds really bad in the moment, you should have so much excitement, but a part of me was torn for them.” Faulds and his team would feel that same heartbreak a week later, losing to the eventual Vanier Cup champion Laval Rouge E’Or in the national semifinals. The comeback back four years in the making was complete, or was it? “Sitting, second, third, fourth in the country, that’s not a championship team. We won a conference. Do you think Montreal and Laval are happy winning the Dunmore? No, that’s just a step along the way.” That intensity and brutal honesty can be a turn off, but for those on the team, it is simply a part of the culture. For starting quarterback Michael Knevel, Faulds is the main reason he came to Laurier. “Our culture stems from coach Faulds. Our tenacity comes from him.” For all the accolades, awards, and attention that found its way back to this program, the attention never diverts away from the end of result of last season. “We’ve got a hungry group that is expecting more this year, and they’re not for one second sitting on last season.” One of those veterans is Scott Hutter, a thirdyear defensive back. Even after last year’s success, there is one thing that remains on his mind. “As great as that one week of the Yates Cup was, that week in Laval was that much worse. I think that’s what guys remember the most.” Knevel, who returns this year as the starting quarterback, agrees. “Last year we realized we had pure talent at every position. This year we have more confidence. A calm confidence.” You would think that for most championship teams, players and coaches would at least get rings or jackets to commemorate that moment in their

program, but for Faulds, he wants no part of that. “I sent out an email to the guys and told them where I stood. For the fourth and fifth year guys, that’s okay, just don’t let me see you wearing those t-shirts around me. I’m not getting a t-shirt, I’m not getting a ring, because we still have a lot of unfinished business. And so, for the player turned coach, now a threetime Yates Cup champion, the work begins again. It’s the middle of February and mother nature has blanketed the Laurier campus with its cold white sheet. That won’t stop one man, who will be out there shovelling the field inch by inch, readying the field for when spring comes. Because if you look around and see when the snow melts, you’ll see the drips of sweat on players faces, and you’ll hear the sound of pads and helmets clashing, not because they have to, but because they want to. “Usually after a couple of days of practice we don’t like each other. Like we almost don’t like each other before game days. I think that’s what makes us so good,” says third year defensive back Godfrey Onyeka. “We’re teammates and we’re best friends, but we know when we’re on the field we have a specific purpose. and nobody on our team likes losing ever.” Whether it is on the field, or on the court, athletic competitions get pretty heated, but it is that same culture that breeds respect amongt the players. Defensive back Isiah Messam will be one of the first to tell you. “The culture hasn’t changed since we starting winning and that’s why we’ve been on such an uphill path. At practice we’re all so competitive and want to make plays, but we also want to see the other guys make plays.” One can preach accountability, but not all can hold themselves to it. For Faulds, that has been his message since day one. “As a player I saw myself as someone who led by example. I wasn’t going to be a dictator as a coach, but I was going to hold everyone to a high level of accountability.” Should that intensity be matched by his players, the Hawks will remain golden for a long time.


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

1. WESTERN MUSTANGS By: Mike Hogan Learn from it. It’s a simple statement, but it’s one the Western Mustangs will need to embrace. Those three words form the message head coach Greg Marshall has for his team after one of the most incredible finishes in the sport at any level. Hosting the Yates Cup, the Mustangs led 40-19 at roughly the mid-way point of the fourth quarter. Then the roof fell in. Allowing 24 points in the final eight minutes of regulation time erased any memory of a 7-1 season, or of a 51-24 playoff thrashing of Carleton. The thought of a more motivated herd of Mustangs must send chills down the spines of their opponents. This club remains the most talented in the league on paper, and in some instances, the ‘Stangs will be better than they were in ’16. Expect to see an improved Chris Merchant this year. Not blessed with a cannon for an arm, Merchant finessed his way to a 67-per cent completion rate, while throwing 14 touchdowns against five interceptions. Western has a more than capable backup with Stevenson Bone returning. It’s hard to imagine, but the team’s running attack may better this year. Alex Taylor finished just 13 yards shy of a second consecutive 1,000-yard season, rushing for a USports leading 10 TDs. Also back is Cedric Joseph, who averaged 5.5 yards per carry. What makes this situation even better for Western is that Yannick Harou is back after sustaining an injury at the CFL combine that would cost him his 2016 season.

This trio gives the CFL combine that would cost him his 2016 season. playoffs. Western will still throw the ball and Harry McMaster should be the main target. He led the team with 35 catches, 576 yards and five touchdowns a year ago. It’s a very young group with Brett Ellerman coming off a freshman season where he caught 16 passes. Two more young receivers, Cole Majoros and Jake Frimeth, return to form the starting group. There’s competition for the other spots with speedy Malik Besseghieur in the mix. The offensive line will in all likelihood be outstanding again. It’s a veteran group with a ton of talent. David Brown moves from right to left tackle with Dylan Giffen the new starter on the right side. Matt Bettencourt had an outstanding, yet injury-plagued freshman season and will be the right guard. Gregoire Bouchard will start at left guard, while Mark Wheatley should be the number one centre. Dimitri Pronko is a transfer from Bishops who will be among the backups. Western had a tough, opportunistic defence in 2016, second in the OUA in fewest point against and leading the country with 14 fumble recoveries. There will be a new look on the defensive line, as there’s a changing of the guard. While the starters were not be etched in stone as camp opened, Andrew Thurston and Connor Martin will be in the mix at end, while Jimmy Hawley,

Mitch Stadnyk and freshman Austin Miller from Chatham will compete for time at tackle. There won’t be the same kind of question marks at the next level, as the starting linebackers are set. Jean-Gabriel Poulin, who led the team with 53.5 tackles, will be flanked by Nick Vanin at Sam and Philippe Dion at Will. Others who figure in this year’s plans include Fraer Sopik, Chris Ellis and freshmanMyles Manalo from Burlington. The secondary will feature Jesse McNair at safety. Hakeem Johnson will be the boundary corner, with Mackenzie Ferguson on the other side. Jordan Beaulieu will move from field half to the boundary, while Bleska Kambaba will be the other starting halfback. Marc Liegghio will do both the punting and the place kicking. He led the country with 103 points last season, connecting on 81 per cent of his field goals attempts.The Mustangs certainly have a firstplace schedule. They host Guelph, Queen’s, Carleton and Ottawa, while making road trips to Laurier, McMaster, Windsor and York. They’ll be ready for the playoffs. Western remains the alpha dog in the OUA. There are few, if any weaknesses, just areas that aren’t as strong as others. The Mustangs will be the team to beat in the conference.

David Brown - OL

Chris Merchant - QB


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

2017 TEAM LEADERS OFFENCE Passing Chris Merchant Stevenson Bone

Comp Att 107 161 39 68

Rushing Alex Taylor Chris Merchant Cedric Joseph Receiving George Johnson Harry McMaster Brett Ellerman

TD 14 3

Int 5 0

Att Yds Avg TD 149 987 6.6 10 45 338 7.5 3 41 227 5.5 4

LG 52 27 20

Y/G 123.4 42.3 32.4

Rec Yds Avg TD 35 576 16.5 5 23 355 15.4 2 16 339 21.2 2

LG Y/G 54 72.0 44 44.0 75 48.4

DEFENCE Tackles Philiippe Dion J-G Poulin Fraser Sopik

Yds % 1720 66.5 456 57.4

SPECIAL TEAMS Tot Tkl Tfl 53.5 37 6.5 39.5 27 2.5 32 28 1

Sacks Sack John Biewald 7 JImmy Hawley 2.5 Ruper Butcher 2.5 Interceptions Int Yds Malcom Brown 2 0 Simon Bahru 1 27 Hakeem Johnson 1 17

Kickoff Return Alex Taylor Mitchell Smiley

Ret 13 3

Yds Avg LG 246 18.9 31 84 28.0 41

Punt Return Cedric Joseph Yannick Harou

Ret 23 20

Yds Avg 195 8.5 182 9.1


Att Yds Avg 52 2929 56.3

Punting Marc Liegghio

Punt Yds Avg LG 43 1576 46.7 50

Field Goals Marc Liegghio

Att 22

Made % 27 81

LG 48 24

LG 46


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

2. LAURIER GOLDEN HAWKS By: Mike Hogan Those who saw it still don’t believe it. Officials could have started the engraving. The Western Mustangs were ready to etch their names on the Yates Cup. After all, they led the Golden Hawks 40-19 almost half way through the fourth quarter. Nobody bothered to send that memo to Laurier. Michael Faulds’ Hawks became birds of prey in the final eight minutes, scoring a remarkable 24 straight points to stun the Mustangs in London 43-40, winning the OUA championship. This year much of the group is returning, but there are a couple of huge losses on defence. That’s not the case at quarterback though, as unlike last year there’s no question about who the starting pivot will be. A year ago Julien John was QB1 as the season started, but he was replaced by Michael Knevel, who played exceptionally well when given the opportunity. He threw 15 touchdown passes against just a pair of interceptions in the regular season and OUA playoffs combined. He’ll be backed up by second-year players Tristan Arndt and Jacob Spinella, while the program is happy to welcome freshman Connor Carusello from Caledonia. Laurier has developed what should be an exciting corps of receivers in 2017. Brentyn Hall and Kurleigh Gittens Jr. have developed into a formidable one-two punch. Carson Ouellette and Brendan McCracken also return, while freshman Nicholas Petermann from Hamilton joins the Hawks. Laurier will still rely on the run, but with

a more comfortable Knevel at QB, there may be more of a balanced attack this season. The Hawks have quality depth at running back. The offence will feature speedy Levondre Gordon and powerful Osayi Iginuan, who combined for just under 1,000 yards on the ground, despite the fact Eric Guiltinan led the Hawks in that category with 759. Guiltinan has moved on, but Jahvari Bennett has arrived. The former starter at Carleton has become a bird of a different colour and provides the Hawks with tremendous options. Laurier uses its fullbacks a lot, with Stu Smith and Mario Villamizar getting most of the reps there. The offensive line may not be huge, but it’s very athletic. The Hawks don’t play their linemen consistently on the left or right side, the tackles and guards will flip to play the boundary or the field, depending on where the ball is placed. The tackles will be Ed Cadougan and Chris Reddy, Drew Mairleitner and Sukhneet Kahlon will play guard, while the centre will be either Myles Methner or J.D. Richardson. On defence, two game-changing players were selected in the CFL draft, and both made their respective teams despite having a year of USports eligibility left. Kwaku Boateng and Nakas Onyeka now call Edmonton and Toronto home, and have both made impacts in their rookie season. The good news for the Hawks is that they have great depth on D, but it will be interesting to see which players benefit the most from the

graduation of the two stars. The defensive line rotates a lot of players and of the eight that were a part of last year’s front four, seven are back. Rashari Henry, Robbie Smith and Alfred Green will be among those playing end. Trevaughan James. Jalen Price, Emerson Gourdet and Samuel Acheampong will man the middle. There will also be familiar names playing linebacker. Tackling machine Brandon Calver is the MLB, while Brian Lowrance will play the Sam. The Will linebacker will see Noah Usherwood return. He missed last season with an injury. Dan Szatmari should also see time there. The coaches are excited to add freshman Daniel Fitzgerald from London to the group. In the secondary, former Sam linebacker Scott Hutter will be the safety, with Taylor Calverley and Ron Kinga on the boundary. On the other side, 6’ 3” Godfrey Onyeka and 6’ 2” Isaiah Guzylak-Messam will provide an intimidating duo to the field. Nathan Mesher returns and will handle both the place kicking and the punting. He hit just five of his 10 field goal attempts last season, but did hit a 49 yarder, the third longest in the country. His 40-yard punting average in ranked him fourth in USports. This is an intriguing team. They’ve lost two key components of a top-notch defence, but don’t expect to take a step back. Many will overlook the Hawks as Yates Cup contenders. That would be a mistake.

Osayi Iginuan - RB

Scott Hutter - DB


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

2016 TEAM LEADERS OFFENCE Passing Michael Knevel Julien John

Comp Att 80 134 24 53

Rushing Eric Guiltinan Levondre Gordon Osayi Iginuan Receiving Kurleigh Gittens Jr. Brentyn Hall Marcus Arkarakas

TD 11 3

Int 2 6

Att Yds Avg TD 106 736 6.9 9 73 637 8.7 6 61 356 5.8 3

LG 54 71 46

Y/G 105.1 79.6 44.5

Rec 27 24 15

LG 62 74 41

Y/G 57.6 69.8 24.1

Yds 461 558 193

Yds % 1421 59.7% 333 45.3

Avg 17.1 23.3 24.1

TD 4 2 1



Tackles Tot Tkl Tfl Nakas Onyeka 59.5 51 15 Godfrey Onyeka 40.5 35 0.5 Malcolm Thompson 28 25 2

Kickoff Return Ret Kurleigh Gittens Jr. 13 Julious Washington 4

Yds Avg LG 362 27.8 92 128 32.0 5

Punt Return Ret Carson Ouellette 34 Kurleigh Gittens Jr. 26

Yds Avg LG 280 8.2 65 303 11.7 92

Sacks Sacks Kwaku Boateng 6.5 Nakas Onyeka 5.5 Jalen Price 5


Att Yds Avg

53 2897 54.7

Interceptions Malcom Thompson Godfrey Onyeka Scott Hutter

Int 5 4 3

Yds 268 70 54

Punting Nathan Mesher

Punt Yds Avg LG 41 1641 40.0 70

Field Goals Nathan Mesher

Att 10

Made % 5 50

LG 49


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

3. GUELPH GRYPHONS By: Mike Hogan It was a game people couldn’t turn away from. Like many watching from the stands at Alumni Field several people in a broadcast booth at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton gathered around a computer screen. While McMaster and the U-of-T played on the field below them, media and assorted CFL personnel – gathered for the Tiger Cats/ Argos Labour Day Classic later that evening - watched as the Guelph Gryphons were on the verge of being upset by the Windsor Lancers. They had work to do, but couldn’t stop watching an upset of that magnitude in the making. When it was over the ‘Gryphs had dropped a 33-29 decision at Windsor, sending shockwaves across the country. How did the defending Yates Cup champs lose to an unranked team? Was new head coach Kevin MacNeill not ready for prime time? Those questions would continue until the end of the season and beyond. Guelph would drop a double-overtime decision to Ottawa and lose at Laurier by two points. A 3–5 record followed by a 17-11 first-round loss at McMaster left the Gryphons wanting more. James Roberts will lead the team into what it hopes is a bounceback season. He was in the top ten in the country with 2,119 passing yards, but threw 10 interceptions to go with as many TDs. He’s a hard worker and has great intangibles, but he’s going to need better protection. Theo Landers will be his backup. Johnny Augustine is back. Despite

turning heads at the CFL Combine he was not drafted, but later signed with Edmonton. Guelph will use him as an H-back this year, allowing them to employ a one- or two-back set without changing personnel. Sophomore Patrick Pierre will be the tailback. Brandon Gordon and Jamal Hooker will also be in the equation. Jacob Scarfone finished fourth in the country in receiving yards in 2015, but missed all of last year with a knee injury. The Gryphons are beyond thrilled that he’s back in ’17. Kian Schaffer-Baker, Jordan Terrio, and Kade Belyk are all young are expected to contribute. Zeph Fraser is a transfer from Laurier who will also have an opportunity. The Gryphons will feature a big, physical offensive line. Jaylan Guthrie and Eric Starczala will be the tackles. Andrew Pickett and Coulter Woodmansey the guards and Colin Jerome the centre. Job one for this group is to keep Roberts upright. Freshmen who will get a long look include Mississauga’s Andy McFalls and Tyler Grisolia from Richmond Hill. Tackles Greg Corfield and Lukas Brennan return to anchor the defensive line. Charlie Taggart will start at one end, while Alain Cimankinda, a transfer from New Mexico Military Institute, is the favourite to start on the other side. Remember the names Sandor Mod of Welland and Mitchell Thiele from Caistor Centre, both of whom could find their way into the rotation. Luke Korol finished third in the country with 64 tackles and

should be joined by Riley Baines and Derek Douillard as the starters at linebacker. One player to keep an eye on is freshman Kosi Onyeka from Brampton, who projects to play the Sam spot and may be impossible to keep off the field. The battle for playing time in the secondary will be a storyline throughout training camp, as there are several returning players that will compete for starting spots. Miles Metchie, Nick Parisotto, Michael Carney, Ryan Edwards, Akeem Knowles and Elijah Walker are among those in the mix. Gabriel Ferraro returns for a fourth year for double kicking duties. He connected on 76 per cent of his FG attempts in 2016, and just under 37 yards per punt. With the recent success of the program it’s hard to think of Guelph as an underdog, but after the slight regression last year that may be the case. MacNeill has his rookie season behind him and will certainly be more comfortable this time around. Defensively, the only categories the Gryphons ranked in the top ten in USports were, not surprisingly, interceptions and fumble recoveries. That aggressive mind set will once again be on display. This should be a balanced and potentially potent attack. It would be a stretch to call Guelph a pre-season Yates Cup favourite, but they certainly project as a playoff team. Their games against Ottawa, McMaster and Carleton should determine their fate.

Luke Korol - LB

Jacob Scarfone - REC


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

2016 TEAM LEADERS OFFENCE Passing Comp Att Yds % TD Int James Roberts 174 276 2119 63.0 10 10 Theodore Landers 3 5 34 60.0 0 0 Y/G


Att Yds Avg TD LG

Johnny Augustine Mack Jones Daniel Palmer-Salmon

108 563 5.2 3 32 93.8 45 329 7.3 3 25 54.8 65 325 5.0 2 45 108.3

Receiving Kade Belyk A’Dre Fraser Colton Jones

Rec Yds Avg TD 27 339 12.6 1 27 339 12.6 0 22 254 11.5 3

DEFENCE Tackles Lukas Korol Riley Baines Andrew Graham

SPECIAL TEAMS Tot Tkl TFL 64 49 3 40.5 32 7 38 28 3 0

Sacks Sack Matthew Delmas 3.5 Derek Drouillard 3 Riley Baines 3 Interceptions Tristan Doughlin Lukas Carol Derek Drouillard

LG Y/G 73 67.8 55 67.8 66 36.3

Int 4 2 1

Yds 62 12 33

Kickoff Return Ret Brandon Gordon 14 Ryan Nieuwesteeg 9

Yds 272 166

Punt Return Ret Ryan Nieuwesteeg 24 Matthew Creelman 8

Yds Avg 230 9.6 65 8.1


Avg LG 19.4 47 18.4 30 LG 21 28

Att Yds Avg

31 1644 53.0

Punting Gabriel Ferraro

Punt Yds Avg LG 74 2726 46.8 54

Field Goals Att Gabriel Ferraro 49

Made % 25 19

LG 76


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

A Home Away From Home By: Gryphons Athletics

The University of Guelph football team has had its fair share of difference makers enter the program in recent years. Momentum has certainly been gathering as the Gryphons step towards elite status. But the task of recruiting the best student athletes from around this country will be considerably easier in the future with the completion of Alumni Stadium’s new Pavilion, a jewel among the stunning infrastructure redesign on campus. “We’ve always been able to engage recruits when talking about our rich history and the tremendous academic opportunities here,” Head Coach Kevin MacNeill said when groundbreaking for the Pavilion began in 2016. “But when you couple that with the state-of-the-art facilities, U of G truly becomes a top destination for young men looking to play football att the U SPORTS level.” The beautiful two-floor facility, funded by Stu and Kim Lang’s Angel Gabriel Foundation, is a massive beacon for the supporters of Gryphon football. Situated just off College Ave in the northwest corner of Alumni Stadium, the completed Pavilion will be like no other building in Canadian university football.

The spacious 3,300-square foot locker room (with a sauna) on the ground floor is complemented by anathletic therapy clinic complete with hydrotherapy pools, as well as new meeting rooms where players, coaches and team staff can gather for film sessions. There is a new equipment room, and a lounge for players, with full kitchen and TVs, where they can study or simply relax. Gamedays will be unique, when the rooftop will open as a viewing area for Alumni and Friends of Gryphon Football. But the investment made to give Alumni Stadium a bold new look is for much more than simple aesthetics and comfort. The Pavilion also represents the University of Guelph’s future potential, with a promise that the institution and Gryphon Football will make more history. “Our vision has always been to create a program that can sustain success for years to come,” Stu Lang said in 2016. “We want to continue to build a program in which we strive for excellence in everything we do.” The presence of the new Pavilion will act as a constant reminder of Stu Lang’s thoughtful words. Each player player who goes through the Gryphon Football program will be able to say that they competed on their very own field of dreams.


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

4. CARLETON RAVENS By: Mike Hogan From the time the Carleton Ravens rejoined the OUA in 2013, the goal was to win the Yates Cup in 2016. Heady, yes, but the program’s fouryear cycle was supposed to peak last season. The Ravens finished with a 6-2 record before beating Queen’s the first round of the playoffs, but the championship dream would end with a one-sided loss at Western in the semi-final. Head coach Steve Sumarah’s primary job this season is to weave together a tapestry of returning players and first-year starters. It can be done, it’s just a matter of how quickly. It’s hard to believe the program would get a gift from its cross-town rivals, but that’s happened, albeit unintentionally. Jesse Mills completed his final season at quarterback last year and the Ravens knew they’d need a replacement. Mike Arruda played his high-school ball across the river in Gatineau, Quebec before committing to the University of Ottawa, leaving the Ravens extremely frustrated. Then, very early last season, he realized he wanted to transfer a couple of kilometres down the Rideau Canal. Arruda –who red shirted last year is small for a QB, but the 5’9” pivot brings a lethal combination of speed and a strong arm to the Ravens. He needs experience at the OUA level, but all the ingredients for success are there. He’ll be their starter. Having Jayde Rowe in the backfield will help make Arruda more comfortable. Rowe led the country in rushing with 1,094 yards, adding eight touchdowns, good for thirdbest in USports. There’s depth at the

position with Christian Battistelli back for a fifth year. Nathan Carter and Matt Pickens also return, while freshman Gabriel Brault will try to find his way into action as well. Missing this year will be Nate Behar, the highest profile player since the Ravens rebirth. The receiver was selected fifth overall by Edmonton in this year’s CFL draft. His loss will be tempered by a group of returning pass catchers that should help out the young QB. Kyle VanWynsberghe, who had a nice ’16 season with 46 catches for 625 yards and four TDs is back. Dexter Brown, Wilson Birch and Phil Iloki all return, while Chad Manchulenko also returns, ready to take the next step. The offensive line appears to be set with Tyler Young and Nolan McGreer at tackles. KC Bakker and Eric Fowler will be the guards, while Zach Annen returns at centre. Annen spent the summer at Montreal Alouettes camp and has helped fill the leadership void left by Behar’s graduation. Elijah Watson and Jesse Lawson will be counted upon to ease the starters’ workload. Defensively the Ravens lost their biggest playmaker when Tunde Adeleke made the Calgary Stampeders. He was as entertaining a player as the OUA has seen in years and will be impossible to replace. He had but one interception, as teams generally shied away from throwing in his direction, but he took five punts back for touchdowns last year alone. The corners this year will be manned by Ricardo Barrett and Thomas Knapp. Justin Howell and Guillaume Caron will be the halfbacks, while the safety will be Jay

Dearborn, who had four interceptions last season. Carleton will also find a way to get James McCallum on the field. A year ago the Ravens gave up an average of just 184 passing yards per game, the lowest in the country. The linebacking corps has depth and experience with several veterans returning. Fifth year Leon Cenerini is the Will. He led the team with 66 tackles, which was tops in the conference and second best in the country. Jack Cassar will be the man in the middle, while John Walsh is the Sam. Others competing for playing time include Vincent Viau-Duval, Mack Holiday and freshman Cole Hepburn from Newmarket. Kene Onyeka is another name mentioned when the question about the leadership void is raised. He’ll move from linebacker to one end, while Fred Robitaille with play the other side. At tackle it will be Jeremy Rioux and Jessy Kocins as the starters. The versatile Tevin Bowen will see a lot action, while the Ravens are excited about freshman Shaiheem Charles-Brown from Burnaby, B.C. There is a similarity between this edition of the Ravens and McMaster. Both programs feature a lot of talent on the roster, but there’s still a major unknown about the quarterback. Each team is excited about its young starter, though realizing there’s a certain amount of uncertainty that won’t go away until the regular season kicks off. The Ravens certainly appear to be a playoff team. What they look like in November is the burning question.

K. C. Bakker - OL

Jeremy Rioux - DL


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

2016 TEAM LEADERS OFFENCE Passing Comp Att Yds % TD Int Jesse Mills 166 253 2214 65.6 15 8 Tanner DeJong 12 30 135 40.0 1 3 Rushing Jayde Rowe Nathan Carter Christian Battistelli

Att Yds Avg TD 151 1094 7.2 8 38 289 7.6 4 15 123 8.2 0

LG Y/G 74 136.8 34 48.2 68 24.6

Receiving Nathaniel Behar Kyle VanWynsberghe Dexter Brown

Rec Yds Avg TD 57 788 13.8 9 46 625 13.6 4 29 365 12.6 1

LG Y/G 65 98.5 64 78.1 40 45.6



Tackles Tot Tkl Tfl Leon Cenerini 66 48 4.5 Kenechukwu Onyeka 49 33 25.5 Nathaniel Hamlin 25.5 22 0

Kickoff Return Tunde Adeleke Nathaniel Hamlin

Sacks Sack Dean Ogunyinka 5 Leon Ceneirini 3 Frederick Robitaille 3 Interceptions Jay Dearborne Tunde Adeleke Guillaume Caron

Int 4 1 1

Yds 44 8 2

Ret 13 5

Yds Avg LG 259 41.1 77 93 18.6 35

Punt Return Ret Yds Avg LG Tunde Adeleke 31 734 23.7 120 Dexter Brown 14 14 132 9.4 33 Kickoffs

Att Yds Avg

44 2698 61.3

Punting Punt Yds Avg LG Michael Domagala 68 2797 41.1 77 Field Goals Att Michael Domagala 19

Made % 14 74

LG 48


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

Centre of Attention

By: Greg Campbell

“Linemen are literally the unsung heroes of the game.” --Gomer Jones If the above quote is true, does the context of that statement apply to the centre position for football? You are the focal point of attention for a brief moment on every play, the one person that controls the initial movement of the game, the one who is entrusted to begin the process. Yet, offensive linemen are often forgotten about. The figures who’s stories are left untold. The men who battle it out in the trenches, where poking an eye, getting punched in the face, and getting shoved backwards are all the name of the game. For fifth year centre Zach Annen, those aspects of the game are reminiscent of his days as a child. “…I was at practice watching my older brother play and my age group started to play tackle British bulldog. I thought it looked really fun and I wanted to join in.” Flash forward to 2013, where the boy who grew up watching games at TD Fieldhouse in London was now on the field playing the big boys version of the game. Except, he was part of the first freshman recruiting class in the new era of Carleton football and playing against the team whom he had watched on Saturdays as a child. “I was pretty nervous because we were just 18 and 19 years old going against one of the top teams in the country in our first ever game at the OUA level. Despite the growing pains of a young team, Annen knew the future of Carleton football was bright. “I could compete from day one to be a starter and build a team from nothing. An opportunity like that doesn’t come along very often so I couldn’t turn it down.” After playing the first two seasons of his career on the defensive line, he switched to the offensive side of the ball. While offensive linemen may not get the glory or be written all over stat sheets, for the St.Thomas product it was about something more

important. “I love playing offensive line because of how important teamwork is. For anything play to work, all five offensive linemen have to do their job.” That synchronization on line begins with things like working together on protection schemes outside practice and hitting the film room. The job does not stop there, as being a student-athlete means the St.Thomas product is always hitting the books. The fifth-year veteran studies aerospace engineering, not exactly a program you would classify as a light workload. “I just have to be really efficient with my time and be able to work with minimal sleep.” His time management skills have led to success in both the classroom and as an athlete, getting the attention of CFL scouts. This past May, Annen was selected 39th overall in the fifth round by the Montreal Alouettes for the 2017 CFL Draft. A memory like that happens once in a lifetime. “ ...For it to actually happen was surreal, especially how early it was.” The reward? A pair of trips to both rookie camp and the Alouettes main training camp, where once again he would be the young guy going up against a older, bigger, more physical group of player. “Being able to learn from the vets and what they have to do to be successful was important to me...I know the things that I need to work on this season.” One of those things is coming back to nation’s capital to complete a list that has left to be unchecked. “...We haven’t achieved our ultimate goal yet, we haven’t won the Vanier. I’m motivated because I’m not ready for my time to be over at Carleton.” For the rookie who is now the vet, the teenage boy who is now the grizzly man, he now in the riding into the sunset of his Ravens career. With time comes perspective, and that can be seen in Annen’s mindset. “You need to make each down count because before you know it, it will be over.”


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

5. QUEEN’S GAELS By: Mike Hogan It was a strange 2016 season for Queen’s. Head Coach Pat Sheahan’s crew would finish with a 3-5 record, good enough for a tie with Guelph for the final playoff spot. They’d lose the tiebreaker because of a 38-29 loss to the Gryphons in Week Three, a game they led 21-8 midway through the third quarter. The Kingston crew had another chance to make the post season, but dropped a wild 42-41 overtime game to Ottawa in the season finale, at one time sporting a 16-0 lead. The Gee Gees rolled the dice and attempted a two-point conversion in the first overtime to go for the win and it worked, ending Queen’s chance of going to the playoffs. It was that kind of year. The Gaels finished 17th in the country in both rushing and passing yards, and would like nothing more than to move up the ladder in both categories. Nate Hobbs returns as the starting quarterback. He’ll look to improve on numbers that were average at best. He completed just under 60 per cent of his passes while throwing 13 interceptions against nine touchdowns. An improved supporting cast should help him boost those stats and that should be the case this year. Kyle Gouveia returns in a back-up capacity. Queen’s boasts a tremendous legacy of top running backs and Jonah Pataki is the latest in that long line. He averaged over 100 yards per game in ’16, scoring seven touchdowns, tied for fifth best in USports. Jake Puskas and

Tristan Kuchar will be his backups, while freshman Nolan Bedard, who also played linebacker in high school, joins the program from Montreal. The last few seasons the Gaels have done a nice job landing top receiving recruits in the last few years and that depth is about to pay off. Chris Osei-Kusi returns after leading the Gaels with 40 catches and 547 yards. He leads a group that sees Matteo Del Brocco, Alex Zulys and Connor Weir return. John Bews and Jeremy Pendergast will also see action. The Gaels will certainly look good getting off the bus as their offensive line is massive. Josh Mosely will be the left tackle with Tim Vanheuvelen on the other side. The guards will be Daniel Hayes and Emilio Frometa, while Brendan Ginn will be the centre. This group has an opportunity to be physically dominant. Led by the defensive line, the Gaels were effective at getting pressure on quarterbacks last season, finishing tied for fourth in USports with 27 sacks. It’s a veteran group returning with Zac Sauer – who led the team with 4.5 sacks - and Nick Dowd at the ends, with Phoenix Grouse and Cam Lawson starting on the interior. Others in the rotation include Yann Ky, Andy Ngobila and Trevor McGarrity. Mike Moore and Nelkas Kwemo were one-two on the team in tackles last year and will anchor the linebacking crops. Joining them at the Sam will be James Donald. This is a deep group that will see Dominic Ciraco, Kurtis Schaefer,

and Justin Bowman all make contributions. It will be a senior-laden group patrolling the Tricolour secondary. Connor Gascoigne and Nicholas Fraser-Greene will be the starting cornerbacks, while Jake Firlotte and Jason Shamatutu will be the halfbacks. Wesley Mann, who was tied in for second in the country with five interceptions, starts at safety. There’s also veteran depth with Ejaz Causer, Matt Pendergast and Thomas Walser in the mix. Liam Puskas from Thunder Bay is among the freshmen who will get a long look. The Gaels secondary was very good last year, as the defence allowed just 187 passing yards per game, second best in the country. Back to perform double duty as a kicker will be Nick Liberatore. As a freshman last year he made a USports-high 89 per cent of his field-goal attempts with his longest being 46 yards. He was near the bottom of the national punting parade however, averaging just 33.5 yards per kick. This looks like it could be a good, old-fashioned Queen’s team. Both lines have the potential to dominate games, while the defence may be a little ahead of the offence. I+The problem may be surviving the early part of the schedule. The Gaels open against Carleton, followed by Ottawa, Laurier and Western. It’s conceivable that the team could play well and still sport and 0-4 record. After that things calm down with games against Windsor, Waterloo, York and Toronto. The Gaels should be a playoff team.

Chris Osei-Kusi - REC

Nate Hobbs - QB


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview


OFFENCE Passing Nate Hobbs Kyle Gouveia

Comp Att Yds % TD Int 141 237 1739 59.5 9 13 23 34 215 67.6 2 0

Rushing Jonah Pataki Nate Hobbs Chris Osei-Kusi

Att Yds Avg TD LG Y/G 148 814 5.5 7 44 101.8 34 220 6.5 2 24 27.5 14 160 11.4 1 77 20.0

Receiving Chris Osei-Kusi Matteo Del Brocco Rudy Uhl

Rec Yds Avg TD 40 547 13.7 0 30 379 12.6 4 18 176 9.8 2

DEFENCE Tackles Mike Moore Nelkas Kwemo James Donald

LG 64 38 37

Y/G 68.4 47.4 25.1

SPECIAL TEAMS Tot Tkl Tfl 47 38 2.5 45 39 5.5 37 29 6.5

Sacks Sack Zac Sauer 4.5 Tanner Gennaro 4 Nelkas Kwemo 3.5 Interceptions Int Yds Wesley Mann 5 91 Nicholas Fraser Greene 4 108 Phoenix Grouse 1 0

Kickoff Return Chris Osei-Kusi Jonah Pataki

Ret 6 4

Yds 158 78

Avg LG 26.3 79 19.5 37

Punt Return Ret Yds Avg LG Nicholas Fraser Green45 298 6.6 46 Chris Mackey 11 75 6.8 26 Kickoffs Att Yds Avg 38 2031 53.4 Punting Nick Libreatore

Punt Yds Avg LG 47 1576 33.5 49

Field Goals Nick Liberatore

Att 17

Made % 15 88

LG 46


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

6. McMASTER MARAUDERS By: Mike Hogan There’s always a high level of expectation at McMaster, so despite a 6-2 record last year, the season would in all likelihood be looked upon as a disappointment. The Marauders beat Guelph 1711 in the first round of the playoffs, before dropping a heartbreaking 21-19 decision to the eventual Yates Cup champions Laurier Golden Hawks. This season the Marauders have an interesting mixture of youth and experience. There’s a changing of the guard for McMaster under centre. The Asher Hastings era is over, with Dylan Astrom set to take over. He didn’t get on the field much last year, completing seven of the 10 passes he threw. McMaster has as fine legacy of starting quarterbacks over the last two decades, so the bar has been set high. Anthony Bontorin is back after some shoulder issues and will compete for playing time. The Marauders were also happy to land freshmen Jackson White, Zach Beno and Andreas Dueck. McMaster’s top recruit may be Justice Allin, a 5’ 9” running back from Etobicoke. How much playing time he’ll get has yet to be seen, but the Marauders do have Jordan Lyons back. He finished second to Chris Pezzetta in team rushing in ’16. Dominic Mandalfino returns for a second year, as does Nicholas Boonstra. When Danny Vandervoort was selected third overall by the B.C. Lions in this year’s CFL draft, head coach Greg Knox knew he wasn’t heading back to Hamilton. That said, the Marauders still have a ton of talent at receiver. Dan Petermann led the team with 49 catches last year. He should be the go-to guy in the offence and

will definitely help Astrom. Veteran Mitch O’Connor will be joined by young receivers Tyson Middlemost and Brett Ledingham. It was also a good recruiting year in this area, as several big receivers were brought in. Cody Speller is back, fresh off attending the Winnipeg Blue Bombers camp. He’ll be at centre, with Kyle Maertens at one tackle. There’s an opening on the other side, with Wyatt Croucher and Josh Lolli competing for playing time. Nick Firlit and Jakub Szott will start at guard. In February there were nine offensive linemen announced as a part of this year’s recruiting class, and the Marauders would add to that total later. The line is good now and could be even better in the future. Opposing offenses will breathe a little easier knowing Mike Kashak has graduated. After leading the country with 11.5 sacks, he’s now playing for the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders. That doesn’t mean the Marauders won’t be bringing it this year. Starting at defensive end will be Mark Mackie and Michael Brouwers, while Joey Bencze and Hassan Barry start as the tackles. Newcomers James Bradley from B.C. and Noah Smith from Sault Ste. Marie will be looking to become part of the rotation. It’s a veteran group returning at linebacker. Jacob Heathcote will be the Will, Eric Mezzalira will be in the middle, while Alec Robertson will start at Sam. Others in the mix include Eric Blake, Aaron Baker and Nate Edwards, while several recruits will battle to make the dress roster. The secondary is very young for the most part, but the coaching staff is excited about the group’s development.

Noah Hallett is back for a second year and will be joined in the starting unit by Robbie Yochim, Ben Megarry, Mitch Garland and Nolan Putt. Other players who should see playing time include Ben Cross and freshmen Will Hudson and Jesse Odey, who is heading north from Maryland. Adam Preocanin is back for a second season and will handle the kicking duties. He had a very good freshman campaign, connecting on 75 per cent of his field-goal attempts, including a 50-yard bomb, the second-longest FG in USports last year. He also averaged 38.4 yards per punt. Head coach Greg Knox’s team will take advantage of a first week bye to prepare for what is an incredibly tough schedule at the beginning of the season. They open at Carleton, before returning home to play Western and Ottawa, with a trip to Guelph in Week Five, before closing at Laurier. The talent is there for this team to be a contender, but they can’t afford a slow start. Astrom knows the offence, but there’s always a question about how a young quarterback will perform when he takes over as the starter. How the Marauders fare in their first four games will go a long way to determining the team’s fate. It should be a much better team by the time the playoffs roll around.

Cody Speller - OL

Mitchell O’Connor - DB


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

2016 TEAM LEADERS OFFENCE Passing Asher Hasting Dylan Astrom

Comp Att Yds % TD Int 150 233 1915 64.4 11 5 7 10 107 70.0 0 0

Rushing Chris Pezzeta Jordan Lyons Kingsley Amankwaa

Att Yds Avg TD 120 701 5.8 5 42 251 6.0 0 28 158 5.6 1

LG Y/G 63 87.6 23 31.4 24 19.8

Receiving Rec Yds Avg TD Dan Petermann 49 504 10.3 1 Dan Vandervoort 34 631 18.6 5 Max Cameron 25 341 13.6 4

LG Y/G 30 63.0 86 78.9 37 42.6

DEFENCE Tackles Robbie Yochim Eric Mezzalira Mike Hashak

SPECIAL TEAMS Tot 40.5 33.5 29.5

Tkl 35 26 26

Tfl 0 3.5 16.5

Sacks Sack Mike Kashak 11.5 Fabion Foote 4 Mark Mackie 3.5 Interceptions Aaron Clakre Robbie Yochim Mitch Garland 2

Int 3 3 71

Yds 65 38

Kickoff Return Aaron Baker Tyson Middlemost

Ret 9 4

Yds 274 71

Avg LG 30.4 103 17.8 23

Punt Return Mitch Garland Aaron Baker

Ret 19 15

Yds 216 169

Avg LG 11.4 85 11.3 63

Kickoffs Att Yds Avg 35 2089 59.7 Punting Adam Preocanin

Punt Yds Avg LG 59 2263 38.4 57

Field Goals Adam Preocanin

Att 33

Made % 25 76

LG 50


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

7. OTTAWA GEE-GEES By: Mike Hogan It was a year of extremes for the U-of-O Gee-Gees. Head coach Jamie Barresi’s team opened with a 4-0 record and won the only two overtime games in the conference, beating Guelph and Queen’s. However, the intense feeling of the lows would be greater than the joy experienced by OT victories over tough opponents. The Gee-Gees were handed their first loss of the season in the worst way possible, a 43-23 drubbing at the hands of hated rival Carleton in the Panda Game. Ottawa would have a chance at redemption in their playoff opener against the Ravens, but again they lost, and it wasn’t close. The Ravens advanced with a 45-9 win. It’s back to the drawing board to move onto the next chapter in GeeGees lore, but they’ll have to do it without a player who made some history of his own. Derek Wendel broke numerous passing records in a stellar five-year career. Last year’s OUA MVP has tossed the keys to the offence over to Victor Twynstra, who backed up Wendel for four seasons. He only threw a dozen passes last year, but knows the offence inside and out. Twynstra is a drop-back passer, but can move around in the pocket when needed.. Three freshmen will compete for the back-up position. There’s good news in the backfield, as Bryce Vieira returns. He led the Gee Gees with 499 yards rushing, despite playing in a passheavy offence. Vieira can also catch the ball out of the backfield. Donald Shaw returns for another season, while Dawson O’Dei will also get an

opportunity to play. The receiving corps took a major hit by graduation. The top returning pass catcher is Kalem Beaver, who was fourth on the team last year with 27 catches for 355 yards. He’s a legitimate big-play threat. The rest of the group will be inexperienced, aside from Nick Dagher, who returns for a final season. Carter Matheson will be asked to take the next step, while several young players will compete for starting jobs. The tackles will be Ibra Ndaye and Tom Rowlands, both of whom battled injuries last season. Matt Bruder is expected to be the centre, but will be pushed by Brandon Sitko, a freshman from Fort McMurray, Alberta. Rowlands could be moved to guard depending on which younger players emerge. Adam Moffit, a freshman from Courtice, Ont., will be one of the freshmen with a chance to play. Others to watch are Tanner Bishop from B.C., and Bryan Latouche from Quebec. This year’s starting lineup seems to be in flux, and the defensive line may be the best example of that. Finding out which pieces of the puzzle go where may take some time. Among the incoming players the staff wants to evaluate are end Cody Baranyk and tackle Nathan O’Keese, both from Thunder Bay, tackle Nik Lamont of Oakville, and Sherbrooke’s Francis Perron. Returning players Tommy Detlor and Loic Kayembe will certainly get an opportunity as will Nicarlo Funai, a transfer from McMaster. The most interesting player to watch may be Alain Pae Jr., an

explosive player who learned the sport in the Czech Republic. The linebacking corps is a lot more settled than the group in front of it. Khadim Mbaye was second on the Gee Gees with 42.5 tackles and is back in the middle. Ricardo Lubin returns as the Will linebacker, while Jackson Bennett will be back at the Sam. The secondary will be the strength of the defence. Ottawa’s leading tackler Ty Cranston will anchor the group, while his brother Cody, who led U-of-O with three interceptions, also returns. Jamie Harry is a converted receiver who had a pair of picks last year. Jacob Bennett and Nathan Lufuluabo from Quebec will get a long look in camp. Lewis Ward was one of the top kickers in the country and returns for a final season. He connected on 83 per cent of his field-goal attempts, while connecting on a 51yard bomb, the longest in USports last year. Freshman Parker White and Loic Legendre will compete to see who punts for the Gee-Gees this year. This is a transition year in the capital. There are some fantastic players returning, but it may take some time to sort things out in terms of who plays where. Opening against Guelph and Queen’s won’t help, but if all goes well the Gee-Gees could be competing for a playoff spot.

Khadim Mbaye - LB

Bryce Viera - RB


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

2016 TEAM LEADERS OFFENCE Passing Comp Att Yds % TD Int Derek Wendel 232 347 2936 66.9 22 10 Victor Twynstra 8 12 150 66.7 1 0 Rushing Bryce Vieira Derek Wendel Greg Cherniak

Att Yds Avg TD 91 499 5.5 2 40 294 7.3 3 27 138 5.1 2

LG 20 22 24

Y/G 62.4 36.8 27.6

Receiving Michell Baines Bryce Vieira Tyler McLaren

Rec Yds Avg TD 65 984 15.1 8 41 391 9.5 4 28 435 15.5 1

LG Y/G 60 123.0 31 48.9 86 54.4



Tackles Tot Tkl Tfl Tyler Cranston 54 44 1 Khadim Mbaye 42.5 34 7.5 Jackson Bennett 38 33 7

Kickoff Return Jackson Bennett Donald Shaw

Ret 16 7

Yds 257 127

Avg LG 16.1 36 18.1 32

Punt Return Kalem Beaver Cody Cranston

Ret 30 16

Yds 127 99

Avg 4.2 6.2


Att Yds Avg 35 2037 58.2

Sacks Sack Sam Randazzo 5.5 Jordon Seny 2 Khadim Mbaye 2 Interceptions Cody Cranston Thomas Carrier Rashad Spooner

Int 3 1 1

Yds 32 10 3

LG33 26

Punting Punt Yds Avg LG Domenic Bellardini 57 2001 35.1 49 Field Goals Lewis Ward

Att 24

Made % 20 83

LG 51


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

Another MVP at uOttawa – Canada’s First Robotic Tackling dummy By: Gee-Gees Athletics Last spring news broke that the Pittsburgh Steelers were “experimenting” with robotic tackling dummies called Mobile Virtual Players (MVP). Over half of NFL teams are now training with the devices. This July, Canada’s first MVP|DRIVE unit arrived in the Gee-Gees football offices at 200 Lees Avenue. Not just a flashy - and entertaining - toy, the MVP|DRIVE has serious goals to reduce player injuries. Originally developed by engineers at Dartmouth in cooperation with the football team there, the MVP|DRIVE allows players to practice tackling, blocking, pursuing, evading and throwing at a mobile target, without the impact and fatigue associated with athlete on athlete training. “It speaks volumes to what our school is doing to promote player safety,” says uOttawa Head Coach Jamie Barresi. “When I made the request and outlined the positives for our players’ health, it was a very fast yes from our department.” Coach Barresi visited Dartmouth in 2015 when the team was first debuting its creation. “I knew that they had a no-tackling policy at practices and heard that they had almost eliminated their concussions. I wanted to see how they ran their practices but I had no idea that this was going to be part of it.” He met with Buddy Teevens, the Dartmouth head coach, and watched as the robot sped up and down the field for a full ninety minutes, interacting with different positional groups. “Protecting athletes is critical and the very reason MVP was developed. It’s a solution that will allow players to fully execute a tackle on a non– human device and it eliminates player-on-player contact during drills while maintaining the level of chal-lenge associated with tackling a live person,” said Teevens, who is also Chairman of Mobile Virtual Player, LLC.

Controlled remotely, the MVP|DRIVE picks itself up after taking a hit, is highly responsive to changes of direction, can reach top speeds of 28 kilometres per hour, and is specifically engineered to replicate the height and weight (190 lbs) of a skill position player. “We had it race Jackson [Bennett] in a 40,” laughs Barresi, remembering one of the first days the unit was out on the turf of Gee-Gees Field. “It was only a little bit behind.” The MVP|DRIVE can be used in a variety of drills, from tackling and blocking to running and passing, allowing players to practice at full-speed while minimizing player-to-player contact. “We’re very interested to see how our players respond to this, and proud to be the first in Canada,” added Barresi, who holds a PhD doctorate in exercise and sports science from Penn State University.


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

8. YORK LIONS By: Mike Hogan There was cause for optimism at the beginning of the 2016 season. Everyone assumed the Lions would score some points. They entered the season with some nice players on offence, including a brother act from Calgary that was going to turn heads. It looked great early on for head coach Warren Craney and company, as they opened the season by putting up 57 points against Waterloo, but then surrendered 74 the next week in a loss at Laurier. The rollercoaster ride continued when they would outscore Windsor 56-32. After losing in Week Four 45-18 at Toronto in the Red & Blue Bowl, the Lions lost big in their final four games. The 2-6 season would leave them outside of the playoffs once again. Was there improvement in some areas? Yes. Was there enough? No. Some of the key components of the offensive success have returned, so there is cause for optimism. The biggest reason to smile is that Brett Hunchak is returning for a fourth year. He threw for over 2,000 yards last season and there is no reason to believe he won’t improve on that total. He’s had developmental experiences at CFL training camps in both Edmonton and Calgary that has done nothing but help his game. You can make an argument that he’s the best QB in the OUA. Matt Krason will be his backup. Brett’s brother Colton is back as part of the receiving corps. He led the team with 43 receptions, 588 yards and five TD catches. The bro combo is fun to watch, but it’s

just part of a group where the top three pass catchers are returning. Adam Adeboboye and speedster Alex Daley are both back. The Lions are also thrilled that Edmonton’s Luther Hakunavanhu has joined the program. He’s a 6’ 4” former basketball player who had been playing junior football out west. There will be a new look to the offensive line. Chris Smith and Aarmin Purewal, who played two years of junior football in B.C., will start at tackle. The guards will be Lane Raposo and Ryan Farr, who’s back for a fifth year despite battling a couple of severe knee injuries. Raposo joins the program after playing junior football in Calgary, where he was an all-star. Anthony DiNardo will be the centre. A couple of freshmen will get a long look at training camp, Brantford’s Chavaughn Barrett and Brampton’s Malachi Adlam. Depth on the lines has usually been a concern at York, but there are several players who should contribute on the d-line this season. The starting ends should be Rossini Sandjong-Djabome, who led the team with five sacks, and Matthew Skoko, fresh off the East West Bowl. Jamian Rush and Skye King will be the tackles. Among the other players who could get significant playing time in the rotation are Reid Jeffs, Jeff Chen and Nathaneal Cameron. Several young linebackers will be vying for game reps. Andrew Smith and Damian Jamieson will be two of the three starters. Smith played at the prestigious IMG Academy before returning home to the GTA. There’s a battle for the other starting

spot between Alexei Brazeau, Jared Ott and Dawson Davis. A pair of fifth-year players will man the corners this season. Ian Lawrence is another Lion who played in the East West Bowl and moves from field corner to the boundary. Aaron Atwell will play the field side. Jacob Janke, who was injured in the first quarter of the season opener last year, is back to play safety. He played two years for Coach Craney on Team Canada at the U19 International Bowl. The halfbacks will be Kadeem Thomas and Brett Colangelo. A pair of kickers will battle for a chance to play. Enzo Lariccia was with the Lions last season, backing up Nick Naylor. The program has added Dante Mastrogiuseppe from Mississippi Valley State. The Lions are an interesting team. They have some tremendously talented players, but the perennial question at York is whether or not they have enough of them. There’s obviously talent at the skill positions on offence, and the offensive line will benefit from the addition of the two junior players from out west, and the return of a healthy Farr. Defensively is a bit of a question mark. Again, there are some good players here, but can they play well enough as a team to keep the Lions in games? If the answer is yes, this could be a tremendously entertaining team.

Colton Hunchak - REC

Jacob Janke - DB


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

2016 TEAM LEADERS OFFENCE Passing Brent Hunchak Matt Krason

Comp Att Yds % TD Int 156 256 2085 60.9 12 7 23 46 252 52.2 1 0

Rushing Att Yds Avg TD LG Y/G Kayden Johnson 85 489 5.8 2 45 61.1 Khaliel James 33 147 4.5 0 33 18.4 Jesee Amankwaa 27 138 5.1 1 29 46.0 Receiving Colton Hunchak Adam Adeboboye Alex Daley

Rec Yds Avg TD 43 588 13.7 5 41 553 13.5 2 23 270 11.7 0

LG Y/G 77 73.7 66 69.1 32 33.8



Tackles Tot Tkl Tfl Emerson Morassutti 47.5 41 2 Josh Small 42 37 1 Andrew Smith 39 33 1

Kickoff Return Alex Daley Jahmari Bennett

Sacks Sack Rossini Sandjong-Djabome 5 Nathaneal Cameron 2 Emerson Morassutti 2 Interceptions Ian Lawrence Josn Small Brett Colangelo

Int 2 1 1

Yds 0 0 0

Ret 30 9

Yds Avg LG 656 21.9 40 221 24.6 43

Punt Return Ret Yds Avg LG Alex Daley 19 230 12.1 34 Jamari Bennett 15 77 5.1 36 Kickoffs Att Yds Avg 26 1331 51.2 Punting Nick Taylor

Punt Yds Avg LG 79 3063 38.8 77

Field Goals Nick Taylor

Att Made % LG 14 10 71 31


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

Bobo Is Go-Go

By: York University Athletics

The York Lions had a breakout season on offence in 2016. One of thoe suprises was veteran receiver Adam Adeboboye. The diminutive pass-catcher, who stands 5-foot8, set new career-highs in every major statistical category and asserted himself as one of the best in the OUA. He finished the season ranked seventh in total receptions (41) and 10th in receiving yards (553), numbers that were better than his previous three seasons combined. He also recorded the first two touchdowns of his career, including a 66-yard score in a win over Windsor as part of an 11-catch, 216-yard performance. Known as “Bobo” to his teammates and coaches, Adeboboye makes up for his lack of size with his heart and work ethic, and he was awarded the team’s prestigious Tom Arnott Yeoman of the Year Award for Hard Work and Character at the conclusion of the season. “My parents always wanted our family to work hard,” he says about what he’s best known for. “My work ethic is something they instilled in me and it has carried me a long way. I was happy with how last year went, it was more of a relief to finally see myself come to that level. I knew I had it in me and it felt really good to be able to show it to everyone else.” His breakout campaign turned heads in the professional ranks. He earned an invite to the CFL’s Ontario regional combine, where his numbers were impressive enough for him to be one of five participants selected to for the national showcase in Regina.

The draft did not go as he’d hoped, but he is using that as motivation for this year and beyond. “I want to build on what I accomplished last year. I’m focusing on each game as it comes and taking things day-by-day and making sure I’m the best I can be on the field so that if there’s an opportunity for a team to pick me up, I am giving them no chance to say no. I want to show everyone I can be successful at the next level.” It’s not the first time Adeboboye’s size has limited his opportunities. He picked up the sport in high school at the encouragement of his father, who thought it would be a great place to make friends at a new school, and used his natural athletic ability and speed to shine on the gridiron. But he was off the radar of most U SPORTS institutions and chose to stay close to home and come to York. “York gave me the opportunity to play football while I earned by degree. Not a lot of other schools were interested in me because of my size. I’m so happy I came here, I’ve enjoyed every moment and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” He has come a long way since first joining the Lions in 2012 from Northern S.S., and he now has one more season to prove once again what he is capable of. He will graduate with his degree in kinesiology and health science in the spring and, for now, is focused on seeing where his football career will take him before deciding what he wants to do professionally. Adeboboye has risen above expectations many times throughout his football career and it would surprise no one to see him back in action with a CFL team next season when his playing days at York are done.


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

9. TORONTO VARSITY BLUES By: Mike Hogan There were some positives for the 2016 Toronto Varsity Blues, but the end result was more of the same old, same old. After starting 0-3, the high water mark of the season came in the Red and Blue Bowl, where they beat their archrivals from York 45-18. They’d give teams like Queen’s and Guelph a bit of a scare in their games, but the end result was a 2-6 record and another year out of the playoffs. This year the team will allow several key recruits to get some experience, which bodes well for the future. Head coach Greg Gary’s Blues will enter camp with a decision to make at quarterback. Connor Ennis has come up north after spending a couple of years at Washington State. He’ll be getting his first taste of three-down football, so there will obviously be a learning curve in play. He’ll be competing against Clay Sequeira, back for a second year with Toronto. He also spent some time at a prep school in the states. Divante Smith returns at running back after missing all of 2016 with an injury. He has a pair of 100yard games in 2015. The Blues also dipped into the NCAA transfer pool last year, enticing Kaleb Leach from Florida Tech to join the program. He started three games for the Blues, including a 112-yard effort in the win over York. Leach averaged 6.3 yards on 53 carries. Whichever back wins the starting job, he’ll be running behind Matt Freibauer, who returns at fullback. Youthful would be a good word to describe the receiving corps at

U-of-T. Nick Stadnyk and Patrick O’Brien are back and should see some action. Also in the mix are a pair of first-year players, J’Quan Thompson - who was out of football in ’16 - and Will Corby from Burlington. These will be the players that should see the most action, yet this group combined for a grand total of zero OUA receptions last year. There will be growing pains here. There was good news on the offensive line as Danny Sprukulis opted to come back for a fifth year. He and Nicholas Wasylyk will be the tackles. Wasylyk is another player who started playing NCAA ball. He was at Tusculum College before coming home to the GTA last year. Chris Kelly is back for a fifth year and will be the right guard, while Eddie Nam and Matt Loenhart will compete for playing time on the left side. Sam MacMillan fresh off an appearance in the East/West Bowl, will be at centre. There’s some talent, but not a lot of depth here. The D-line isn’t deep either, and Kyle Draga will flip over from the offensive side to play defensive tackle. He’ll be joined in the middle by Mekhi Henry. He’s a second-year player, but is a seasoned veteran compared to what the Blues may play at end. There’s a chance that Greg Gary may start a pair of freshmen, Ben Cowman from Burlington and Exeter’s Brandon Vanneste. Carter Gladman and Julian Romano are both veterans who figure to see playing time, as could Josh Hubbell, who has transferred east from UBC. This is a group that recorded an OUA-low 10 sacks last year and will have to

sort itself out at training camp. There should be much more enthusiasm about the linebacking corps. Mike Leslie, Corey Williams and Brittley Mokube comprise the starting group. Matthew Renaud, East/West Bowl participant Paul Kozachuk and Lamar Foyle will all fit into the mix. The secondary will be crowded this season, as there are several players who will vie for playing time. The good news is that most of the DBs are veterans. Austin Rosbrook and Jamal Johnson will compete at safety. Nick Hallett and Damoy Robinson will start at halfback, while Dennis Idowu, Jordan Gillespie and Patrick Pankow will all see time at cornerback. Punting will be a strength, with All-Star T.J. Morton coming back for one more season. He was second in the country with a 42.3-yard average. A familiar face returns for the first time since 2014 as Eric Hewitson returns to the program and will do the place kicking. The Blues’ story should be a familiar one. The team has some top-notch talent, just not enough of it, and very little depth – especially on the lines. Getting some younger players game reps will no doubt help Varsity going forward, but this year the team will be hard-pressed to make the playoffs.

Matt Renaud - LB

Damoy Robinson - DB


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

2016 TEAM LEADERS OFFENCE Passing Comp Att Yds % TD Int Marcus Hobbs 129 244 1861 52.9 4 11 Calvin Vaughan 6 15 53 40.0 0 0 Rushing Alex Malone Kaleb Leach Marcus Hobbs

Att Yds Avg TD LG Y/G 93 478 5,1 0 38 79..7 53 333 6.3 2 42 41.6 47 206 4.4 25.8 23 25.8

Receiving Rec Yds Avg TD Rahul Madan 45 736 16.4 2 Anthony Naccarato 35 607 17.3 2 Albet Awachie 13 134 16.8 0

DEFENCE Tackles Adrian Bernard Brittley Mokube Michael Leslie

SPECIAL TEAMS Tot 47.5 44 43

Tkl 34 36 37

Tfl 9 2 5

Sacks Sack MIchael Leslie 4 Brittley Mokube 1 Jordan Sidsworth 1 Interceptions Richard Gillespie Jamal Johnson Nick Hallett

LG Y/G 76 92.0 65 75.9 26 16.8

Int 5 2 1

Yds 43 102 12

Kickoff Return Ret Kaleb Leach 19 Jaiden Hyland Bennett

Yds 318 91

Avg LG 16.7 48 18.2 41

Punt Return Rowan Comish Divante Smith 10

Ret 17 52

Yds Avg 125 7.4 5.2 20


Att Yds Avg 26 1331 51.2

Punting TJ Morton

Punt Yds Avg LG 76 3214 42.3 75

LG 33

Field Goals Att Made % LG Ryan Grandell 8 6 75 34


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

10. WINDSOR LANCERS By: Mike Hogan It was a game that caught the attention of USports fans across the county. On Labour Day, the Windsor Lancers upset the heavily favoured Guelph Gryphons 33-29, setting the table for what many believed could be a surprising 2016 season. That warm, fuzzy feeling ended abruptly a week later, as the Lancers were thumped 56-32 at York. They’d lose their final three games of the season, finishing with a 2-6 record. Had they beaten Queen’s late in the season they would have made the playoffs. So very close, yet still so far away. Coach Joe D’Amore’s Lancers enter the 2017 season with a newlook offence. They’ll have a new quarterback, but a battle for the starting job may begin mid-season. Both Casey Wright and Jalen Brady have wrapped up their OUA careers, meaning local product Sam Girard will get the first crack at the starting job. If he looks good for the first few games he’ll remain the starter, but should he falter there’s another QB waiting in the wings. Ben Bergamin was a backup at Western, but has transferred to Windsor. He’ll sit out the first few games as he played early in the season for the Mustangs, but when he returns, he’ll be ready if Girard falters. Nobody in the country ran the rock more than Tarrence Crawford did last year. His 166 carries resulted in 884 yards, fourth best in USports, but he opted to not come back this season despite having a year of eligibility left. That opens the door for a pair of returning

backs to lead the offence. Marcus Kentner and Marvin Gaynor will both get touches. Neither may be able to withstand the workload of the bigger Crawford, but both may be capable of breaking more big plays than he did. Returnee Braeden Braccio and highly-touted recruit Jacob Savoni will compete for playing time. The receiving corps may not feature a main target, but the depth at the position could surprise some. The receiver to watch will in all likelihood be the physical Noah Akharoh, fresh off an appearance at the East/West Bowl where he recorded one catch. Also back is Cassell Jones, who led the Lancers with 27 catches for 390 yards and a couple of touchdowns. Two transfers will also attempt to make an impact. Windsor native Brandon Speller returns home from McMaster, while Tristan Carter joins the program from James Madison University in Virginia. The Lancers will start a massive offensive line. A pair of veterans will man the tackle positions, with Drew Desjarlais on the left side, Brett Boersma on the right. Lucas Moore returns at centre. Devin Desjardins and CJ Church will start at guard. Church played on the defensive line last year, but will take his 345 pounds to the other side of the ball. There’s a lot of room for improvement on Windsor’s defence, as last year’s group surrendered an average of 47.5 points per game. Courtney Ellis and Lowhya Lako will man the ends, while there’s potentially a solid rotation at tackle. Austin Thornton, Nick Simone,

David Adelaja and Zack Benson will take turns manning the middle. The Lancers are also excited about freshman Zack Taylor from Woodstock, Ont. If Windsor has a strength, it’s likely at linebacker. Matt Gayer is back on the strong side, a year after tearing his ACL. He was an First Team OUA all-star in 2015. Daniel Metcalfe had a busy freshman season, averaging over seven tackles per game. He’s back in the middle, while Marcel Ugoh returns for a fifth season and will play the weak side. He may be Windsor’s best bet to make the big play on D. Josh Van Roie and freshman Adetayo Adeyeye will also fit into the mix. Lekan Idowu is another veteran who played in the East/West Bowl. He will anchor a secondary that will certainly have a veteran presence. Evan Martin, Jojo Sarfo-Boateng, Isaiah Warner and Erik Erickson all return, while the coaching staff is eager to take a look at Patrick Douangchantha - who Coach D’Amore efficiently refers to as Patty D. - a home-town freshman. Kicker Clark Green returns and will look to improve on his 65 per cent success rate in field goals. He will once again handle the punting duties as well. If the Lancers are rebuilding, they are certainly not at the low point of the cycle. There is quite a bit of talent here, but there are question marks at some key positions. Windsor will be hard pressed to make the playoffs this season, but the program is certainly heading in the right direction.

Marcus Kentner- RB

Drew Desjarlais - OL


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

2016 TEAM LEADERS OFFENCE Passing Casey Wright Jalen Brady

Comp Att 69 146 64 98

Yds % 942 47.3 702 65.3

TD 7 1

Rushing Tarrence Crawford Nick Vincent Casey Wright

Att Yds Avg TD LG Y/G 166 884 5.3 6 48 110.5 28 179 6.4 1 27 22.4 24 122 5.1 1 13 15.3

Receiving Rec Yds Avg TD Cassell Jones 27 390 14.4 2 Tarrence Crawford 24 239 10.0 0 Gjervon Williams 20 234 11.7 0

DEFENCE Tackles Mike Moore Nelkas Kwemo James Donald

Int 5 4

LG Y/G 53 55.7 25 29.9 26 29.3

SPECIAL TEAMS Tot Tkl Tfl 47 38 2.5 45 39 5.5 37 29 6.5

Sacks Sack Zac Sauer 4.5 Tanner Gennaro 4 Nelkas Kwemo 3.5 Interceptions Int Yds Wesley Mann 5 91 Nicholas Fraser Greene 4 108 Phoenix Grouse 1 0

Kickoff Return Kaeden Walls Evan Martin

Ret 21 9

Yds 459 214

Avg LG 21.9 71 23.8 55

Punt Return Spencer Trinier Cassell Jones

Ret 10 9

Yds 74 31

Avg 7.4 3.4


Att Yds Avg

LG 19 9

38 2031 53.4

Punting Clarke Green

Punt Yds Avg LG 62 2275 36.7 58

Field Goals Clarke Green

Att 17

Made % 11 65

LG 41


Family Ties

OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

By Elisa Mitton

For CJ Church and Clark Green, pulling on the blue and gold is almost as natural as breathing. The pair are the sons of Lancers offensive line coach Chris Church and kicking coach Jeff Green, following in their fathers’ footsteps in playing football for the blue and gold. Chris played on the offensive line for the Lancers from 1992 to 1996, and was named an all-star by the OUAA in 1994, 1995, 1996. He received all-Canadian honours those years as well, and is the only Lancer football player named three times to the all-Canadian team. His son Chris Jr, or CJ as he is known, is currently in his second year with the Windsor. Jeff played for the Lancers a decade earlier from 1982 to 1986 and was named the programs Special Teams Most Valuable Player in 1983, an award his son Clark won just last year after his first year with the Blue & Gold. Similar to CJ, Clark is also in his second year with the program, but his fourth year of eligibility after spending time at the University of Montreal. Even though CJ thought about going away to school at McMaster, stepping into the Lancer’s locker room changed his mind. Windsor was home. “There is such a family atmosphere here,” he said. “The coaches and players connect on a personal level.” The bonus of being coached by his dad was something he could not pass up. “It’s awesome. I have always been coached by my dad, and to continue my career and to have him there as I prepare for the next level, was something I couldn’t resist.” The senior Church is equally as proud to have his son following in his footsteps. “Playing university football were the best years of my young life, and to have my son be able to experience the same things is the best feeling in the world.” Although the decision to come to Windsor was a natural one for CJ, it wasn’t quite so for Clark.

The younger Green originally went to Montreal for his first two seasons before making the decision to return home. “I regret not coming to Windsor right away,” said Clark. “I have always had ties to Windsor, I came to games all the time as a kid.” Playing away from home and not having the support of his family was a huge factor in Clark’s decision to come back. “For me, having my family and friends in the stands for support is important. And now, here I am, playing in front of my loved ones, being coached by my dad, it’s perfect.” “I knew he needed to go out and spread his wings,” commented Jeff. “But when he made the decision to come back home to play for Windsor, I couldn’t of been happier.” The Church and Green families are just two of many families that have donned the Lancer shield. Over the program’s 49 years, there have been 16 sons and one grandson who have followed their family footsteps into the Windsor locker room. The strong family ties don’t just stop at father-son teams, however, as 29 sets of brothers have also teamed up in the program’s history, including current Lancer defensive lineman Zach Benson, who came to Windsor in 2016 to play one season with his brother, former offensive lineman Daniel. And for the Green’s, their Lancer family extends past the sport of football. Jeff ’s uncle Don Green and goddaughter Nicole Green played basketball for the Blue & Gold, while Nicole’s husband Derek Quigley was a dual-sport athlete with the football and track & field teams. “This is something I will never forget,” CJ said. “I just hope to be half as good a player as my dad was, and maybe twice as good-looking.”


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

11. WATERLOO WARRIORS By: Mike Hogan Waterloo Warriors and optimism. The last few years they’ve gone together like Trump and Clinton, but things are changing for head coach Chris Bertoia’s team. On the surface it sounds bizarre. Waterloo hasn’t won a game since Bertoia took over two years ago. But don’t be fooled by the goose egg, things are changing for the black and gold. While the coach is admittedly optimistic by nature, he’s also an exceptional recruiter. That’s helped the Warriors string together three sensational recruiting classes and this is the year it should start paying off on the field. The prize catch is quarterback Tre Ford, one of, if not the top QB catch among Canadian recruits. He comes to Waterloo from Niagara Falls. A tremendous athlete, Ford has a strong will to win and possesses outstanding leadership intangibles. He will eventually take over the offensive reins, but it might not be immediately. Lucas McConnell is back and has responded well to the newcomer’s challenge, but it seems to be a question of when, not if Ford takes over. A pair of running backs will split the reps to enter the season. Dion Pellerin and Brandon Metz now have some experience to go with their talent. Neither would have what you could call a great season in 2016, but are expected to improve. Waterloo was also happy to recruit Derek Aubin from London, Olaitan Oyebanji of Calgary and Ottawa’s Rudi Nkem.

The Warriors all of a sudden have some quality depth at receiver. Tyler Ternowski led the team in receptions, yards and touchdown catches in his freshman season and leads a receiving corps that sees Richmond Nketia and Mitch Kernick return. The Warriors are also pumped about their crop of incoming receivers, highlighted by Gordon Lam from Kitchener. The offensive line could be a surprise this season. Jesse Gibbon will play left tackle and will turn heads this season. Ben Koczwara looked good at the East/West Bowl and will start at left guard. The centre will be Kyle Boismier. Jake Nesbitt made the OUA All-Rookie Team last year and will be the right guard, while the right tackle battle could be interesting. Competing for the job will be Troy Curtis and his identical twin brother Grant. The defensive line may be a bit on the small side, but they will have some speed on the outside. Paul Kaija and Josh Brown will be at ends, while Nick Snider and Cody Wheten should get the starting assignments at tackle. The staff will try to work some younger players into the mix. Kurtis Gray was a member of the All-OUA Rookie Team at halfback last year, but will change positions this season. He was fourth in the country with 60.5 tackles and takes his abilities to the Sam linebacker spot. He can flat out fly. Brandon Corelli will play the middle, while Michael Reid moves from the Sam to the Will position. Jack Andrews of St. Catharines is the top recruit.

As if landing Tre Ford wasn’t sweet enough, the Warriors also added his twin brother Tyrell to the mix. He’ll start immediately as the boundary corner. Lautaro Frecha will be next to him at boundary half. Shaquille Sealy moves from boundary corner to safety, Sammy Prantera will be the field half, while the field corner will either be Aaron Cole or Ethan Mcdonagh. Freshman Harjas Ball of Brampton will compete for game reps. Caleb Girard is back to do the punting and the place kicking. His punting wasn’t great last year and he really didn’t get a chance to kick many field goals, converting four of just six chances last year. This is a program that’s turning the corner. They’ve been recognized for bringing in many quality athletes in the first two years under Bertoia, but never reeling in the really big fish. That’s changed this year. If you’re a Warriors fan, don’t go crazy and order your Yates Cup tickets expecting to see Waterloo playing in the championship game. But this Warriors team could turn a few heads with its play this year, and don’t be stunned if it scares the heck out of a playoff team along the way. There’s little doubt this program is heading in the right direction and doing it in a hurry.

Michael Reid - LB

Paul Kaija - LB


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

2016 TEAM LEADERS OFFENCE Passing Lucas McConnell AJ Stewart

Comp Att Yds % TD Int 91 212 1245 42.9 4 10 9 17 221 52.9 3 0

Rushing Dion Pellerin Brandon Metz Lucas McConnell

Att Yds Avg TD LG Y/G 60 276 4.6 2 27 34.5 59 158 2.7 0 17 19.8 17 82 11.7 0 24 11.7

Receiving Rec Yds Avg TD Tyler Ternowski 22 390 17.7 4 Adam Felinczak 20 263 13.2 0 Richmond Nketiah 20 230 11.5 1

DEFENCE Tackles Kurtis Gray Jordan Hoover Brandon Corelli

SPECIAL TEAMS Tot Tkl Tfl 60.5 48 5.5 44 39 3 43 35 4.5

Sacks Sack Kurtis Gray 4.5 Brandon Corelli 2 MIchael Cleirbault 1.5 Interceptions Aaron Cole Paul Kaja Lucas Merlin

LG Y/G 85 48.8 39 43,8 49 28.8

Int 1 1 2

Yds 34 30 11

Kickoff Return Connor Sergeant Tyler Ternowski

Ret 19 18

Yds Avg LG 334 17.6 35 315 17.5 31

Punt Return Brandon Metz Tyler Ternowski

Ret 17 12

Yds 71 113


Att Yds Avg 40 2217 55.4

Punting Caleb Girard

Punt Yds Avg LG 80 2709 33.9 55

Avg 4.2 9.4

LG 14 30

Field Goals Att Made % LG Caleb Girard 6 4 67 32


OUA UNCOVERED: 2017 Football Season Preview

Peak Performance

By: Adam McGuire

Mitch Kernick usually spends a large portion of his summers in the gym, preparing his body for the fall, and the rigors of OUA football with the Waterloo Warriors. But this offseason, Kernick set aside some workout time to help train some of the biggest names in the NHL. Kernick, a fourth-year receiver, landed the gig of a lifetime this past summer, working at the renowned Gary Roberts High Performance Training Centre in Uxbridge, Ontario. In his role as Jr. Trainer under Roberts, Kernick helped train a litany of NHL stars, including Connor McDavid, Steven Stamkos, Phil Kessel, Mike Smith, James Neal, and fellow Waterloo Region native Mark Scheifele. “It was such a cool experience,” said Kernick, a native of Elmira, Ontario. “I was pretty awestruck at first, but I soon realized that all of Gary’s athletes are level-headed and all-around good people. It’s also a pretty interesting challenge trying to make the best in the world better at what they do.” Kernick’s focus on health, strength, and conditioning isn’t limited to his summer gig – he’s a lifelong multi-sport athlete, and he’s entering his fourth year at UWaterloo’s celebrated Kinesiology program. He’s also no stranger to the off-field workload of rehabilitation, having bounced back from an ACL injury in 2015. Being around the NHL stars this summer at Roberts’ facility helped fortify that focus for Kernick. While the athletes he worked with were all gearing up for hockey season, Kernick thinks that many of the principles are transferrable to his football career. “Being surrounded by elite athletes and elite performers is contagious,” said Kernick. “It makes you want to be elite yourself, and settle for nothing less, whatever it is that you do. That feeling carried over to football for me and has made me a better player.”

Kernick is no stranger to the ice, either. For years, he played in the Woolwich minor hockey system, and still plays pickup hockey after football season ends. But his biggest claim to hockey fame, next to training NHLers this summer , is his relationship with Warriors hockey forward Amy Barnard. The pair became engaged this summer, and, despite his work with elite NHLers, Kernick knows he’ll the second-best hockey player in his future home. “I was a defenceman when I played,” said Kernick, “but watching her play, she plays faster than I did. She could take me one-on-one.” After his summer training with some of the greatest athletes on ice, Kernick is excited to get back on the field with his Warriors teammates. The versatile offensive weapon has lined up out wide, in the slot, and in the backfield, while also returning on special teams. He even punted for the Warriors in the past, and he represented Waterloo at the 2017 East-West Bowl, where he caught 2 passes for 10 yards and a touchdown. Coming into 2017, Kernick is looking to contributing all over the field for the Warriors. But despite his success – both on and off the field – his focus isn’t on personal accolades. Instead, Kernick expects to see the Warriors make their biggest improvements where it counts: with their competitors throughout the OUA. “I don’t really have (a goal) to win a certain number of games,” said Kernick. “Rather, (we want) our efforts as high or higher than the best in the league. If that’s in check each day, then naturally, wins will come. I hope to stay healthy and be a contributing factor in an offense that surprises a lot of teams this year.”

2017 OUA Uncovered Football Preview  
2017 OUA Uncovered Football Preview