BURLINGTON, Ont. – Ontario University Athletics (OUA) is excited to announce the 2015 football first-team and second-team all-stars.
Following arguably one of the greatest offensive seasons in OUA and CIS history, the No. 2 ranked Western Mustangs will take the field on Saturday afternoon at TD Stadium in London, Ont. for the 108th Yates Cup, presented by Investors Group, with a roster that features a league leading thirteen all-stars. The purple powerhouse became the highest-scoring team in CIS football history this season, finishing the regular season with 494 points to break the previous single-season mark of 481 set by Laval in 2003.
The historic offence was once again led by quarterback Will Finch (Burlington, Ont.) who has been named an all-star for the third consecutive season. Despite having his season cut short last year due to injury, Finch was named a second-team all-star a year after he was recognized as OUA MVP and a first-team selection in 2013.
The 6-foot-3, 215 lbs quarterback from Burlington, Ont., threw for 2616 yards and 17 touchdowns while completing 69.5 % of his passes this season. As a whole, the fourth-year social science student captained a Mustangs offence that put up an unprecedented 729.5 yards per game.
For Western it all starts up front, as Finch received protection from an offensive line that features four OUA all-stars. At centre, Matt Van Praet (London, Ontario) is a first-team all-star for the second time in his career after previously being named to the team in 2013. This is the second straight season that guard Sean Jamieson (Winnipeg, Man.) and offensive tackle Eddie Meredith (Toronto, Ont.) have been named to the first-team, while the offensive tackle Kadeem Adams (Halifax, NS) will represent the group on the second-team. Adams, a social science major, is an all-star for the first time since he was named to the first-team two seasons ago.
After being named an all-rookie just one year ago, Mustangs running back Alex Taylor (Winnipeg, Man.) established himself as one of the most dangerous players in the conference, if not the country this year. In just his second year in OUA, Taylor, a 5-foot-10, 207 lbs back has been named a second-team all-star after a season in which he finished second in CIS with 1068 rushing yards in 8 games. As if the sophomore standouts performance couldn't be any more impressive, he did it on just 99 carries, averaging over a first down per carry at 10.8 yards.
Lining up in the backfield with Taylor and Finch on the first-team is fullback Tom Marshall (London, Ont.) who is an all-star for the first time in his four seasons at Western. Appearing in all eight games this year for Western, the social science major and son of head coach Greg Marshall, finished fifth on the team in receptions (16) receiving yards (223). Another favourite target of Finch's, receiver George Johnson (London, Ont.), is a second-team selection after averaging 16.9 yards per catch, fourth best in the conference.
On the defensive side of the ball the Mustangs were the stingiest team in the conference, allowing just 13.8 points per game against. To put that into perspective, Western only allowed 110 points all season, with 49 of those points coming in wins over Queen's and McMaster. In four of their eight games this season, the Mustangs limited the opposition to 10 points or less. As a result, five players from that unit have been named OUA all-stars.
In his fourth season in OUA, defensive tackle Rupert Butcher (London, Ont.) is an all-star for the first time in his career. The 6-foot-5, 296 lbs standout appeared in every game this season for Western, recording 10.5 tackles, five tackles for a loss and three sacks. Joining Butcher as a first time all-star is defensive end, John Biewald (Ottawa, Ont.) who was named to the second-team. In his fourth season in the purple and white, Biewald finished sixth on the team in total tackles with 28.5, while his 6.5 sacks ranks him second on the Mustangs.
For those teams that were brave enough to try and air it out against the 'Stangs secondary, on most cases they probably wish they hadn't. The Mustangs tied for the lead in the country with 15 interceptions, with first-team cornerback Josh Woodman (Chatham, Ont.) and free safety Jesse McNair (London, Ont.), as well as second-team defensive halfback Malcolm Brown (London, Ont.) combining to record nine of those picks.
Woodman was a 2014 OUA first-team all-star and a CIS second-team all-Canadian last season. In 8 games this season, the fourth-year social sciences major finished third on the team in total tackles (34.5) and tied with Brown for the team lead in interceptions with four. After being named an all-rookie in 2013, injuries limited McNair to just four regular season games a year ago. However, the 5-foot-11, 186 lbs free safety bounced back this year in a big way, leading the Mustangs with 45 tackles. Brown is a second-team all-star for the first time in his career after the King's College student-athlete led the team with six pass break ups and tied for the lead in interceptions with Woodman.
Lining up across the field from the Mustangs on Saturday will be the No. 5 nationally ranked Guelph Gryphons. This is the second straight season the Gryphons have made it to the Yates Cup, however, this time around they are hoping for a much different outcome. Guelph possesses more than a handful of options on either side of the ball as 11 Gryphons have been selected as either OUA first or second-team all-stars.
The Gryphons were one of the best defensive teams in OUA this season, allowing just 19.9 points per game, the second fewest in the province. The Gryphons were led this season by fifth-year linebacker John Rush (Niagara Falls, Ont.) who has been named a first-team all-star for the first time in his final season in "The Royal City." Rush, a 6-foot-1, 220 lbs linebacker led the country in total tackles with 60 over the course of the seven games, for an average of 8.6 per game.
If teams somehow managed to get past Rush, they'd still have linebacker Curtis Newton (London, Ont.) to contend with. Newton, a fourth year-sociology major who was named to the first-team last season, is an all-star for a second straight year after being selected to represent the Gryphons on the second-team. Appearing in all eight games this season, Newton finished second to Rush in tackles with 40, while recording three sacks and three fumble recoveries. Defensive tackle Donnie Egerter (Niagara Fall, Ont.) is an all-star for the first time in his career after the fourth-year standout was named to the second-team after a season in which he recorded 16 tackles and chipped in 2.5 sacks.
Guelph also features one of the best secondary pairings in the league with a pair of OUA all-stars constantly on patrol in defensive halfback Nick Parisotto (Guelph, Ont.) and free safety Tristan Doughlin (Toronto, Ont.). In just his second year in OUA, Parisotto is poised to be a star in the league for years to come after being selected as a first-team all-star, just a year removed from being named an all-rookie. In seven games, the 5-foot-11, 195 lbs defensive halfback finished third on the Gryphons with 32 tackles and tied with the previously mentioned Doughlin for tops on the team with three interceptions. Doughlin, who was a member of the first-team last year, has been selected to the second-team following another outstanding season.
Another area of strength this season for the Gryphons was their special teams play as the Gryphons have all-stars at both the place kicker and kick returner positions. Kicker Gabriel Ferraro (Missisauga, Ont.) has been named to the first-team in just his second season after the commerce student-athlete finished second in the conference in field goal percentage (83%) and points (85).
Perhaps one of the most dangerous weapons for Guelph is fourth-year returner Ryan Nieuwesteeg (Niagara Falls, Ont.) who has been named to the second-team. This is second consecutive all-star nod for the Nieuwesteeg, as he was a first-team selection in 2014. The shifty returner ran back 59 punts this season for a league leading 846 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The sociology major also handles kick return duties for the Gryphons where he averaged 23.3 yards per return, fifth best in OUA.
On the offensive line, the Gryphons have a trio of all-stars as offensive tackle Matthew Toppan (Oakville,Ont.) is a first-teamer for a second straight year. Centre Matthew Nesbitt (London, Ont.) and guard Andrew Pickett (Kitchener, Ont.) have been named to the second-team. Nesbitt was a first-team all-star selection a season ago, while Pickett was named an all-rookie last year.
Third-year receiver Jacob Scarfone (London, Ont.) had a breakout season in 2015 for Guelph and has been honoured with a first-team all-star selection. In eight games for the Gryphons, the 6-foot-1, 200 lbs receiver from London, Ont., shattered his career highs, catching 57 passes for 940 yards and 10 touchdowns. Scarfone, a marketing management student-athlete, finished fifth in the country averaging 117.0 yards per game, which is up from just 21.5 yard per game a season ago.
While the season came to an end quicker than the defending Yates Cup champion McMaster Marauders had hoped, the boys from the Steel City will be proudly represented by 11 first and second-team all-stars. While the numbers weren't quite Mustang-esqe, the Marauders hung 355 points on the opposition this season, second most in the conference while throwing for an astounding 35 touchdowns in just eight games.
It was a season to remember for quarterback Asher Hastings (Regina, Sask.) who has been named a second-team all-star. In just his first season as the starter, Hastings threw 31 touchdowns to break the CIS record of 30 touchdown passes held by Saint Mary's quarterback Chris Flynn set in 1989. Hastings completed 203 of 284 attempts this season for a completion percentage of 71.5% which also broke the OUA record of 69.7 % set by Western's Finch two seasons ago. The third-year psychology major averaged 323.3 passing yards per game, to rank him third in OUA.
With a 1-2 punch of receivers Danny Vandervoort (Barrie, Ont.) and Dan Petermann (Stoney Creek, Ont.), it's no wonder that Hastings and the Marauders were able to dominate through the air in the fashion they did. Vandervoort is a first-team all-star for a second straight season, after being named a second-team all-star and winning the Norm Marshall Trophy as OUA Rookie of the Year in 2013. Following in the footsteps of teammate, Petermann also won the Norm Marshall Trophy and is a second-team all-star in his second year in the league. Both talented receivers appeared in all eight games this season for Mac. Vandervoort led the conference in touchdown receptions with 11, while Petermann paced the league in receptions with 61.
A pair of all-stars on the offensive line have been named to the teams once again this season as guard Zach Intzandt (London, Ont.) joins Vandervoort on the first-team, while offensive tackle Sean Smith (St. Andrews West, Ont.) is a second-team all-star in back-to-back years.
You don't win three of the past four Yates Cup championships without having a strong defensive unit. But even referring the Marauders as strong defensively might be an understatement, as McMaster led OUA in rushing (122.8) and passing yards (222.8) against this season. Linebacker Jake Heathcote (Aldergrove, BC) and defensive end Mike Kashak (Courtice, ON) will represent McMaster on the first-team, while defensive tackle Kevin Aleinik (Lancaster, ON), defensive end Mark Mackie (London, ON) and rookie cornerback Robbie Yochim (Kelowna, BC) infuse the second-team with some maroon.
Heathcote, a third-year honours commerce student-athlete, led the Marauders defence this season with 36.5 tackles and four interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown. The pair of all-star defensive tackles, Kashak and Mackie, terrorized opposing offences all season long. Kashak finished fifth on the team in total tackles with 25 but led OUA with 8.5 sacks over the course of eight games, while Mackie had 18 tackles and four sacks of his own. Aleinik, a fourth-year honours kinesiology major, appeared in all eight games for McMaster, recording 10.5 tackles.
When you think of the Marauders secondary in recent years the names Cupido or Ventresca might come to mind. But if there is one name that you don't already know, get used to hearing Robbie Yochim (Kelowna, BC) for years to come. Yochim, a 5-foot-10, 170 lbs cornerback, has been named a second-team all-star after the freshman finished second on the team with 28 tackles and 2 interceptions, trailing only Heathcote in both categories.
On special teams, Mitch O'Connor (Kingston, Ont.) has been named a second-team all-star for the Marauders after he provided great coverage downfield, recording 10 solo and two assisted tackles for McMaster.
In only their third season back in OUA, the young Carleton Ravens soared to 5-3 regular season record, advancing to last week's Yates Cup semifinals. Despite losing to a playoff-hardened Gryphons squad, the Ravens have established themselves as a team on the rise with a roster that features nine OUA all-stars.
Receiver Nate Behar (London, Ont.) is one of the most dangerous playmakers in the country and will represent the Ravens on the first-team for a second consecutive season. Behar, an all-rookie selection just two seasons ago, led Carleton with 39 receptions for 576 yards and four touchdowns. The dynamic 6-foot-0, 200 lbs receiver averaged 82.3 yards per game this season.
Opposing defences learned quickly this year to always know where Carleton's bruising fullback Stefano Napolitano (Stittsville, Ont.) was at all times. The 6-foot-1, 255 lbs fullback was named an all-star for the first time in his career after he helped pave the way for Bennett to rush for over 1000 yards this season. Up front, a year removed from being named an all-rookie, KC Bakker (London, Ont.) will join Napolitano on the second-team.
Since returning to OUA two seasons ago, the Ravens have established themselves as arguably the strongest special teams squad in the conference. This season was no different as there are Ravens occupying three of four all-star positions. Cover Keith Graham (Halifax, N.S.) and returner Tunde Adeleke (Ottawa, Ont.) are members of the first-team, while Michael Domagala (St. Catharines, Ont.) is the place kicker on the second-team.
After being named to the second-team last season as a cornerback, Adeleke established himself this season as the most dangerous returner in the conference. The 5-foot-10, 190 lbs defensive back returned 19 kicks for 572 yards to lead OUA. Adeleke, who also handles punt return duties for the Ravens, returned 31 punts for 554 yards and three touchdowns. He was the only returner in the league to have both a kick and punt return 90 yards or more.
Michael "Iron Leg" Domagala, as the Ravens faithful have come to refer to him, made 16 of 19 attempts this season for a field goal percentage of 84% which led the country among qualified kickers. The third-year criminology and criminal justice student athlete was a perfect 30-for-30 on PATs this season and finished fourth in the league with 78 points scored. Domagala was named OUA Special Teams Player of the Week three times this season.
Appearing in all eight games for Carleton this season, Graham was a force to be reckoned with on special teams, recording 17 tackles.
Three members of the Ravens secondary have also been given all-star nods as defensive halfback Nathaniel Hamlin (Ottawa, Ont.) will represent Carleton on the first-team, while rookie SAM linebacker Guillaume Caron (Saint-joseph-du-lac, QC) and cornerback D'Sean Thelwell (London, Ont.) have been named to the second-team.
Hamlin, a third-year communications student, led the Ravens in tackles with 42.5 while adding a sack and three pass break ups. Of those tackles, 37 were solo which ranked him seventh overall in the conference. Throwing the ball anywhere close to Thelwell was a decision opposing quarterbacks would immediately regret, as the London, Ont. native led the Ravens and finished tied for second in the conference with four interceptions.
Like McMaster's Yochim, Caron appears poised to haunt the dreams of offensive coordinators for years to come. The 5-foot-10, 205 lbs SAM linebacker appeared in all eight games in his freshman campaign, finishing fourth on the Ravens with 23.5 tackles and tied for first in sacks with three.
Not since the days of Windsor's Daryl Stephenson and McMaster's Jesse Lumdsen has OUA seen a player so dominant as Golden Hawks running back Dillon Campbell (Whitby, Ont.), who is an OUA first-team all-star for a second straight season. Campbell has now led the country in rushing the past two seasons after finishing 2015 season with 186 rushes for 1115 yards. After being named OUA MVP last season, the fifth-year kinesiology / physical education surely is in the conversation once again, after averaging 165.4 all-purpose yards per game and five touchdowns.
Laurier receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr. (Ottawa, Ont.) joins Carleton's Caron as the only players to named both an all-rookie and a second-team all-star in their first season in the league. Gittens Jr., a 6-foot-0 178 lbs receiver, led the Golden Hawks with 461 yards in eight games this year. His 40 catches in 2015 ranks him fifth in the conference and tied for 16th in CIS.
With three first-team and one second-team all-stars the Golden Hawks defence was difficult to play against all season long. For Laurier, it starts with defensive tackle Asante Mizan (Brooklyn, New York) and defensive end Kwaku Boateng (Milton, Ont.) who are both first-team all-stars for the first time in their careers.
Mizan, a 6-foot-2, 290 lbs defensive tackle terrorized opponents, recording 11.5 tackes, forced and recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass, returning it 30 yards for a touchdown. Just down the line, if it seemed like Boateng spent much of the season in the opposing backfield, that's probably because he did. The third-year business major from Milton, Ont. had 18 tackles on the season, nine of which were for a loss. Boateng also led the Golden Hawks and finished 8th in OUA with four sacks in eight games.
The 2015 season was a breakout year for cousins Godfrey Onyeka (Brampton, Ont.) and Nakas Onyeka (Brampton, Ont.) who have been named first and second team all-stars, respectively, for the first time in their careers. The way the pair flew around the secondary for Laurier this season, you'd swear there were more than two of them. Godfrey, a second-year cornerback, recorded 29.5 tackles this season to go along with a sack and an interception. Not to be outdone, the 6-foot-1, 217 lbs linebacker Nakas led the Golden Hawks in tackles with 48, while sacking the quarterback twice and finishing tied for second in the OUA with two fumble recoveries.
Rounding out the Golden Hawks selections on the defensive side of the ball is defensive halfback Malcolm Thompson (Windsor, Ont.). Thompson, a second-year sociology student athlete, finished second on Laurier with 42 tackles, two interceptions and one forced fumble in eight games.
Despite narrowly missing the playoffs this season, the Ottawa Gee-Gees have a pair of all-stars on their roster.
Ian Stewart (Burlington, Ont.) was a corners worst nightmare this season as the 6-foot-0 receiver was all over the field. Stewart, a fourth-year finance major, led OUA in total yards with 1091, good for an average of 136.4 yards per game and is a first-team all-star for the first time in his fifth and final season with the Gee-Gees. Stewart also finished second in the province in receptions (57) and third with nine touchdowns. If you asked Stewart why 2015 was such a success, he'd most likely point across the room to the locker of #12.
Quarterback Derek Wendel (Belleville, Ont.) shattered several OUA records this season on his way to being named a second-team all-star. Wendel, a fourth-year human kinetics major, broke the conference record for attempts (346), completions (216) and passing yards in a season (3136). In eight games this season for the garnet and grey, Wendel averaged a staggering 392.0 yards per game, while tossing 24 touchdowns.
After missing the playoffs last year, the Queen's Gaels bounced back finishing 5-3 this season and were back in the postseason thanks in part to a pair of second-team all-stars, receiver Doug Corby (Burlington, Ont.) and punter Dillon Wamsley (London, Ont.).
Despite playing in just five games this year, Corby still led the Gaels with 592 yards and five touchdowns. The Burlington, Ont. native, who was ranked 16th on the CFL Scouting Bureau 2016 Draft Class rankings earlier this season, finished second behind the aforementioned Stewart averaging 118.4 yards per game.
Wamsley, a fourth-year arts and science student-athlete, was extremely efficient punting the football for the Gaels this season. Appearing in every game, Wamsley had 56 punts for 2218 yards, an average of 39.6 yards per kick.
The only kicker with a stronger boot than Wamsley this year is punter TJ Morton (Elkton, Md.) who is the Toronto Varsity Blues lone first-team all-star selection. Morton led the conference averaging 40.2 yards per punt, with 17 of his 68 kicks landing inside the 20 yard line. The Elkton, Md. native had the longest kick in OUA this season with a booming 68 yard punt against Waterloo on Oct. 17.
Two years removed from being named an all-rookie, Windsor Lancers SAM linebacker Matt Gayer (Leamington, Ont.) rounds out the first-team all-stars. Gayer, a third-year Criminology major, led OUA with 45 solo tackles and finished second in the conference behind Guelph's Rush with 55 total tackles. The 5-foot-9 190 lbs linebacker also had 3 interceptions in eight games for the Lancers.
The 2015 OUA Football Major Award Winners will be announced starting at 11:00 a.m. ET on Nov. 12 at Yates Cup press conference in Burlington, Ont.
Pos. - Athlete - University - Year - Hometown - Program
QB - Will Finch - Western - 4 - Burlington, Ont. - Social Science
RB - Dillon Campbell - Laurier - 5 - Whitby, Ont. - Kinesiology & PE
FB - Tom Marshall - Western - 4 - London, Ont. - Social Science
REC - Danny Vandervoort - McMaster - 3 - Barrie, Ont. - Sociology
REC - Ian Stewart - Ottawa - 5 - Burlington, Ont. - Finance
REC - Jacob Scarfone - Guelph - 3 - London, Ont. - Marketing Management
REC - Nathaniel Behar - Carleton - 3 - London, Ont. - Communications
C - Matt Van Praet - Western - 4 - London, Ont. - Kinesiology
T - Matthew Toppan - Guelph - 4 - Oakville, Ont. - Sociology
T - Eddie Meredith - Western - 3 - Toronto, Ont. - Social Sciences
G - Zach Intzandt - McMaster - 4 - London, Ont. - Justice, Political Philosophy & Law
G - Sean Jamieson - Western - 4 - Winnipeg, Man. - Kinesiology
DT - Rupert Butcher - Western - 4 - London, Ont. - Huron College
DT - Asante Mizan - Laurier - 5 - Brooklyn, N.Y. - Philosophy
DE - Kwaku Boateng - Laurier - 3 - Milton, Ont. - Business
DE - Mike Kashak - McMaster - 4 - Courtice, Ont. - Labour Studies & Political Science
LB - John Rush - Guelph - 5 - Niagara Falls, Ont. - Marketing Management
LB - Jake Heathcote - McMaster - 2 - Aldergrove, B.C. - Commerce
SAM - Matt Gayer - Windsor - 3 - Leamington, Ont. - Criminology
FS - Jesse McNair - Western - 3 - London, Ont. - BMOS
HB - Nick Parisotto - Guelph - 2 - Guelph, Ont. - Leadership and Organizational Management
HB - Nathaniel Hamlin - Carleton - 3 - Ottawa, Ont. - Communications
CB - Godfrey Onyeka - Laurier - 2 - Brampton, Ont. - Health Sciences
CB - Josh Woodman - Western - 3 - Chatham, Ont. - Social Sciences
P - TJ Morton - Toronto - 3 - Elkton, Md. - Communications
K - Gabriel Ferraro - Guelph - 2 - Mississauga, Ont. - Undeclared
RET - Tunde Adeleke - Carleton - 3 - Ottawa, Ont. - Economics
RUSH - Keith Graham - Carleton - 3 - Halifax, NS. - Psychology
QB - Asher Hastings - McMaster - 3 - Regina , SK. - Psychology
QB - Derek Wendel - Ottawa - 4 - Belleville, Ont. - Human Kinetics
RB - Alex Taylor - Western - 2 - Winnipeg, Man. - Kinesiology
FB - Stefano Napolitano - Carleton - 3 - Stittsville, Ont. - Criminology
REC - Dan Petermann - McMaster - 2 - Stoney Creek, Ont. - Humanities
REC - Doug Corby - Queen's - 4 - Burlington, Ont. - Arts & Science
REC - George Johnson - Western - 4 - London, Ont. - King's College
REC - Kurleigh Gittens Jr. - Laurier - 1 - Ottawa, Ont. - Sociology
C - Matthew Nesbitt - Guelph - 5 - London, Ont. - Human Kinetics
T - Kadeem Adams - Western - 4 - Halifax, NS. - Social Science
T - Sean Smith - McMaster - 5 - St. Andrews West, Ont. - Continuing - Social Sciences
G - Andrew Pickett - Guelph - 2 - Kitchener, Ont. - Human Kinetics
G - KC Bakker - Carleton - 2 - London, Ont. - Criminology
DT - Donnie Egerter - Guelph - 4 - Niagara Falls, Ont. - Sociology
DT - Kevin Aleinik - McMaster - 5 - Lancaster, Ont. - Kinesiology
DE - John Biewald - Western - 4 - Ottawa, Ont. - Social Science
DE - Mark Mackie - McMaster - 3 - London, Ont. - Kinesiology
LB - Curtis Newton - Guelph - 4 - London, Ont. - Sociology
LB - Nakas Onyeka - Laurier - 3 - Brampton, Ont. - Communications
SAM - Guillaume Caron - Carleton - 1 - Saint-Joseph-Du-Lac, Que. - Criminology
FS - Tristan Doughlin - Guelph - 4 - Toronto, Ont. - Arts
HB - Malcolm Thompson - Laurier - 2 - Windsor, Ont. - Sociology
HB - Malcolm Brown - Western - 4 - London, Ont. - King's College
CB - Robbie Yochim - McMaster - 1 - Kelowna, BC - Social Sciences
CB - D'Sean Thelwell - Carleton - 3 - London, Ont. - Communications
P - Dillon Wamsley - Queen's - 4 - London, Ont. - Arts & Science
K - Michael Domagala - Carleton - 3 - St. Catharines, Ont. - Criminology & Criminal Justice
RET - Ryan Nieuwesteeg - Guelph - 4 - Niagara Falls, Ont. - Sociology
RUSH - Mitch O'Connor - McMaster - 2 - Kingston, Ont. - Sociology