National program players prepare for 2018 International Bowl by competing in championships
By Ameeta Vohra
With the end of the university, college and high school season, multiple national team members helped their schools compete for championships throughout the country.
The Western Mustangs team won the 53rd Vanier Cup over the Laval Rouge et Or at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton, Ontario. The final score was 39-17.
Between the Rouge et Or and Mustangs, there were 21 athletes who have been part of the national program. Eight of them helped Canada win gold at the 2012 IFAF World Junior Under-19 championships in Arlington, Texas – quarterback Hugo Richard (Laval), running back Christopher Amoah (Laval), receiver Alexandre Savard (Laval), offensive lineman Louis-Gabriel Beaudet (Laval), offensive lineman Edward Godin (Laval), linebacker Marc Antoine Varin (Laval), defensive back Kevin McGee (Laval) and linebacker Jean-Gabriel Poulin (Western).
Another nine Rouge et Or players were part of Team Canada that earned a silver medal at the 2014 IFAF World Junior Championships in Kuwait – running back Philippe Lessard-Vezina, offensive lineman Pierre-Karl Lanctot, offensive lineman Samuel Thomassin, receiver Marc-Antoine Pivin, defensive lineman Mathieu Betts, defensive lineman Vincent Desjardins, linebacker Cedric Lussier-Roy, defensive back Louis-Philippe St. Amant and kicker Dominic Levesque.
An additional three Rouge et Or athletes were part of Canada’s 2016 IFAF World Junior Championship gold medal team from Harbin, China – offensive lineman Samuel Lefebvre, receiver Mathieu Robitaille and receiver Jordan Duprey.
This upcoming January, Mustangs defensive back Daniel Valente will represent Canada at the 2018 International Bowl in Arlington, Texas.
The Champlain-Lennoxville Cougars won their third CEGEP Division 1 Bol D’Or Championship in five years by earning a 36-0 shutout victory over Vanier Cheetahs. National Under-19 offensive lineman Charles-Lee Alaire Tardif as well as National Under-18 defensive back Vincent Delisle, lnebacker Etienne Amiot and quarterback Lukas Boulanger were members of the championship team. Additionally, 2016 Under-19 running back Felix Lussier-Roy and offensive lineman Marc-Antoine Lemay also were on the Cougars roster. On the Cheetahs, National Under-19 defensive lineman Evan Gingera as well as National Under-18 receiver Jahsiah Lewis-Pennicooke competed on the Cheetahs side.
In Nova Scotia, National Under-18 defensive lineman Aidan John and the Citadel Phoenix capped off a perfect 10-0 season with a 15-9 victory over Charles P Allen Cheetahs to claim their fourth consecutive Nova Scotia Student Athletic Federation Football League (NSSAFFL) Division 1 title.
Meanwhile, the Cobequid Cougars defeated the Halifax Warriors 28-20 to win the NSSAFFL Division 2 championship. Two National under-18 players were part of this victory – defensive backs Kamryn Matheson and Riley Gabriel.
The Tantramar Titans won their third consecutive 12-Man New Brunswick High School Football League (NBHSFL) championship last month defeating Moncton Purple Knights 4-14. National Under-18 defensive back Lucas Cormier contributed to the Titans’ victory. Additionally, Under-16 Eastern Canadian running back Oliver Longpre is a member of the Titans.
National Under-18 running back Kalenga Muganda and offensive lineman Alexandre Massi-Fliss
helped Seminaire Saint-Francois Blizzard to a 28-13 win over Cure-Antoine Labelle Wolves to take the RSEQ Juvenile Division 1 championship for the second consecutive year.
During last week’s Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association (OFSAA) Bowl Festival, several national team players played a role in their squad’s performances. Under-16 Eastern Canadian linebacker Brayden Kelly competed for the Cardinal Newman Cardinals. However, the Cardinals lost in the Independent Bowl to St. Michael’s College 21-18.
In the Western Bowl, a couple of national players competed with the London South Lions who lost to the Holy Names Lions 21-17. Among those players were Under-18 athlete Ethan Martin, Under-19 wide receiver Noah Johns.
In the Simcoe Bowl, National teammates were on opposing sides as the Huron Heights Warriors defeated the St. Matthew Tigers 40-6. Under-19 offensive lineman Matthew Goodall was a member of the Warriors while wide receiver Willy-Pierre Dimbongi was part of the Tigers’ squad.
While the Dakota Lancers lost to the St. Paul’s Crusaders 35-0 in the Winnipeg High School Football League’s (WHSFL) Anavets Bowl, a highlight for the Lancers was that Under-16 Canadian West defensive lineman Jordan Friesen was the recipient of the Potter Division Robert Whitlaw Award.
Harry Ainlay Titans completed a perfect season by capturing the Alberta Tier 1 Championship by defeating St. Francis Browns 12-3. National Under-18 defensive lineman Lwal Ugak as well as Under-16 Eastern Canadian receiver Ajou Ajou, quarterback Eli Hetlinger, receiver Jaxon Hume and receiver Sony Bermudez were part of the championship team. As for the Browns, they too had some national players including Under-18 defensive back Jacob Biggs, running back Tyson Rowe as well as Under-16 Western Canadian linebacker Simon King and defensive lineman Jacob Yahaya.
In Saskatchewan, National Under-18 teammates receiver Bennett Stusek and linebacker Josh White contributed to the Campbell Tartans victory in the Saskatchewan Secondary School Athletic Directorate (SSSAD) Provincial 4A Championship with a 44-15 win over Centennial Chargers. Under-16 Eastern Canadian defensive back Carter Stadnyk competed with the Chargers in the championship game.
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