BURLINGTON, Ont. – And then there were six.
The "Quest for the Cup" continues next Saturday as six teams have punched their ticket to the postseason and will compete for the oldest football trophy still awarded in North America -- the Yates Cup.
The Western Mustangs stampeded over their oppenents this season on their way to a perfect 8-0 regular season and will enter the Yates Cup playoffs as the No. 1 seed. The purple powerhouse from London, Ont. shattered various OUA and CIS offensive records in the process and will receive a first round playoff bye and home field advantage throughout the postseason.
Seeking their first Yates Cup since 1996, the Guelph Gryphons will hope to put last season's heartbreak behind them. The Gryphons will also have a quarterfinal bye and will be the second seed in the playoffs. Despite a loss on the road to the Queen's Gaels, Guelph went 7-1 during the regular season and will be a force to be reckoned with when the calendar turns to November. The Gyphons will host a semifinal game on Saturday, November 7 at Alumni Stadium in Guelph, Ont., with their oppenent to be determined.
With losses to Guelph and Western, the defending Yates Cup champion McMaster Marauders finished the regular season with a 6-2 record and will begin their title defence as the No. 3 playoff seed. The Marauders will host a quarterfinal playoff game at Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton, Ont. against the No. 6 seed Laurier Golden Hawks on Saturday, October 31st.
These two teams are quite familiar with each other as in Week 7, the Marauders travelled to University Stadium in Waterloo, Ont. and knocked off the Golden Hawks 30-21.
McMaster quarterback Asher Hastings, who broke the CIS record for touchdowns in a season with 31, went 31-for-43 for 365 yards in the victory. Dan Petermann and Dan Vandervoort were Hastings' favourite targets on the afternoon, as Petermann had nine catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns while Vandervoort had four catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. For Laurier, reigning OUA MVP running back Dillon Campbell finished the game with 116 yards on 20 attempts, while quarterback Eric Morelli was 17-for-30 for 198 yards and one touchdown.
Despite losing their final game of the regular season to the Laurier Golden Hawks, the Queen's Gaels will enter the playoffs as the No. 4 seed and host a quarterfinal game at Richardson Stadium on Saturday, October 31st against the No. 5 Carleton Ravens.
While both teams finished the regular season with identical 5-3 records, the Gaels will host thanks to their 34-24 victory over the Ravens on the opening weekend of the season.
In that game, Queen's climbed back from an early 14-0 deficit thanks to a pair of touchdown from both running back Jesse Andrews and receiver Doug Corby. Andrews finished with 21 rushes for 178 yards and two touchdowns while Corby had nine receptions for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Gaels quarterback Nate Hobbs finished the game 24-of-36 with 338 yards and two touchdowns. The Ravens were led by Nathaniel Behar who caught four passes for 105-yards and one touchdown, while quarterback Jesse Mills went 24-43 for 284 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Following the quarterfinals next Saturday, Western and Guelph will host the winners in semifinal showdowns on Saturday, November 7th. The quest for the 108th Yates Cup will conclude, live on CHCH, on Saturday, November 14th.
Fans can continue to catch all the action live this postseason on OUA.tv.