Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The Kids put on quite the show
The Marauders totally dominated the Laval squad in the first half, a most convincing bit of football that Laval probably hadn't seen in its previous five CIS championship games, Hamilton's university team racked up the points and shut down Laval's much vaunted offence, sending shock waves back into the dark of night in Quebec, where the Rouge Et Or have become the Gold Standard of the Quebec conference.
Head coach Glen Constantine, seemed a bit lost for words as he headed off to the dressing room to talk to his troops, but whatever he cooked up between the first half ending interview and the return of the Rouge et Or to the field must have been one heck of a speech.
Still, McMaster didn't surrender, even when near disaster reared up its head with a potentially game winning last minute field goal attempt by Tyler Crapigna going wide and taken out of the Laval end zone, setting the scene for one of the wildest of playoff finishes that any league has ever seen.
The teams traded off scoring plays in a double overtime session, the hopes of Laval finally dashed with an interception by McMaster's Steven Ventresca and a follow up field goal of redemption for the McMaster kicker, who found his range and put the Marauders into the CIS history books with a 41-38 Vanier Cup victory.
It very much was two games played in sixty minutes plus, one half belonging totally to McMaster, the defending CIS champs from Laval owning the final frame, the rubber match of the championship was the Overtime, which McMaster seemed to will itself to win after their second half collapse.
It was a testament to Laval's championship status that they battled back and a celebration of the McMaster program which has been building in Ontario. The Marauders head coach, clearly understands what his team needed to do to wrestle the championship away from Laval, though he probably had hopes that it wouldn't result in a nail biter of a final as Friday provided.
The game made for a wonderful showcase of the Canadian game, offering up to football fans a reminder that there is some great football for the viewing in their hometowns, as close as the nearest university campus.
The path to Vancouver's Vanier Cup showcase provided for some great playoff action over the last few weeks, from all corners of the country, Canadian football was showcased at a very high level, the eventual participants in Friday's finale, having taken a pretty tough road to get there.
Prior to the Vanier Cup there was some talk of a super conference of the top teams of the CIS, a pretty tempting option considering what Friday night brought for us.
Still, the success of the CIS is the spirit of competition and community that all of the CIS teams bring forward each season, hopefully if the Super Conference idea ever takes flight, there will also be a way to keep the game resonant on campuses across the nation.
Friday offered up some snapshots of what should be some key players of the future for the CFL, in particular the ever evolving nature of the Canadian Quarterback question seems to need some push at the professional level.
Watching the performances of McMaster's Kyle Quinlan, and Laval's Bruno Prud'homme, in addition to the success of Hec Crighton winner Billy Greene from UBC, the pivot position in Canadian college football is in good hands, one hopes that there's an opportunity to come in the CFL for Canadian QB's to have their shot at CFL success, as we saw on Friday, there's some entertaining football to be had, if only a chance is provided.
TSN-- Vanier Cup thriller attracts large audience on TSN and RDS
TSN-- McMaster wins first Vanier Cup
TSN-- Grey Cup Diary: CIS, Vanier Cup steals the show on Friday
Hamilton Scores-- Vanier Cup efforts bring Marauders more honours
Hamilton Spectator-- Mac Marauders their way to the Vanier Cup
Hamilton Spectator-- 'One of the greatest games' ever seen
Hamilton Spectator-- Marauders make history
Hamilton Spectator-- McMaster Marauders make triumphant return
CTV-- A Vanier Cup for the ages
Vancouver Province-- Marauders' double trouble for Laval
Toronto Sun-- McMaster wins Vanier Cup in double overtime
Toronto Sun-- Winning matters, owners don't
Globe and Mail-- McMaster stops Laval in Vanier Cup thriller