Ravens look to take next step towards the Yates Cup in 2016

Ravens look to take next step towards the Yates Cup in 2016

2015 regular season record: 5-3

2015 regular season standings: 5th in OUA

2015 playoff record: 1-1

2015 playoff finish: Lost 33-21 in OUA semifinal to Guelph

General Write-Up: 

Carleton made leaps and bounds in its third year of CIS football in 2015. Not only did the team finish the regular season with a winning record (5-3), but the Ravens came through with a statement playoff road win over Queen's in the OUA quarterfinals – Carleton's first playoff victory since 1996.

The Ravens will be entering their fourth season of play in 2016 following a 15-year hiatus from CIS football.  There is much excitement and anticipation surrounding the team this year as the Ravens will benefit from having a veteran core group in place.  With every starter back and some key recruits added during the offseason, Carleton will be a force to be reckoned with this fall.

While Carleton faces a daunting opening stretch to the 2016 OUA regular season schedule - a road opener at McMaster (Aug.28) followed by a visit from Western (Sept.4) at MNP Park – these games will be an excellent measuring stick for the Ravens as they battle it out with two of the conference's major powers so early in the campaign. Carleton has improved its record each season since returning to the CIS scene, and after making an appearance in the conference semifinal last season, the team will undoubtedly look to move one step closer to a Yates Cup championship.

Quote from head coach: Steve Sumarah  

"We are very excited about the upcoming season as we now feel that we have a veteran group that can compete in the OUA. This past off-season had a different feel as the team came off its first playoff win.  The players trained hard this off-season as they continued to grow and develop. There is certainly hope for every team at this time of the year, and there is plenty of anticipation for how the season will go.  We believe that we have taken great strides over the past couple of years, but we will be judged by our performance on the field.  Our players and coaches are excited for the challenge ahead."

Head Coach: Steve Sumarah 

- Number of seasons as head coach with team: 4th season

- Number of seasons as head coach in CIS: 10th season

- Career regular season record with team: 9-15

- Career regular season record in CIS: 44-27

- Career overall record with team (reg. season & playoffs only): 10-16

- Career overall record in CIS (reg. season & playoffs only): 45-28

OFFENCE

Number of returning starters: 12 

Key returning players:

RB Jahvari Bennett (4th year): Bennett finished his junior season with over 1000 yards on the ground (1008 yds) and averaged 126.0 yards per game, ranking him fourth in the conference in both categories. The Mississauga, ON native carried the ball 137 times in 2015 (T-2nd in OUA) to go along with 6 TDs.

REC Nate Behar (4th year): a 6-foot, 200-pound receiver, has led the Ravens in receiving yards and receptions in each of the past two seasons. In 2015, Behar was named a OUA First Team All-Star while ranking sixth in the conference with 39 receptions and racking up 82.3 yards per game to go along with 4 touchdowns.

QB Jesse Mills (5th year): Entering his fifth season, Mills set numerous career-highs in 2015, including pass attempts (236), completions (152), completion percentage (64.4%), passing yards (1902), yards per game (237.8), and touchdowns (16). The veteran pivot will play a crucial role in the team's success in 2016.

OL Kwabena Asare (4th year): a fourth-year offensive lineman, Asare had an outstanding junior campaign for the Ravens, as he added sheer size and protection on a massive o-line that only allowed 4 sacks on QB Jesse Mills during the regular season. Despite an early season injury, the 6-foot-8, 270-pound right tackle impressed enough in five end-of-season starts to earn a place in the 2016 CIS East-West Bowl. 

Key recruits or transfers:

REC Nigel Goodridge

RB Jayde Rowe

RB Matt Pickens 

Key losses: OL Matt Lapointe 

DEFENCE

Number of returning starters: 12

Key returning players:

LB Leon Cenerini (4th year): As the Ravens' defensive captain and team leader, Cenerini has produced for Carleton since Day 1. In his 2013 rookie campaign, Cenerini finished the season with 69 tackles (63 solo, 12 assisted), 4 forced fumbles and 1 sack while being named to OUA All-Rookie Team. The native of La Salle, Manitoba added 61 tackles (49 solo, 24 assisted) and 7 tackles for loss in 2014. He continued to provide the team with stellar work in 2015, registering 39 tackles (29 solo, 20 assisted), including a team-high 5.6 tackles per game.

DB Nate Hamlin (4th year): The Ottawa native was named an OUA First Team All-Star for a second consecutive season in 2015, as he racked up a team high 42.5 tackles (37 solo, 11 assisted) to go with 1 sack and 3 pass breakups.  Hamlin also adds depth to Carleton's special teams unit, as exemplified by his 129-yard missed field goal touchdown return against York last season that tied a CIS record.

LB Kene Onyeka (3rd year): In 2015, Onyeka made a transition from the defensive line to the linebacker position, and the move paid off as he finished third on the team with 31.5 tackles (22 solo, 19 assisted). He also made his mark on the defensive side of the ball with 3 sacks (T-1st on Ravens) and a team-high 8.5 tackles for loss.

Key recruits or transfers:

LB Jack Cassar

LB Vincent Viau-Duval

DB Ricardo Barrett

Key losses: None.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Key returning players:

P/K Michael Domagala (4th year): "Iron Leg" Domagala finished the 2015 season with a field goal accuracy rate of 84.3%, which was good enough for the best conversion rate in the CIS for a full-time starter. His kick against the University of Toronto in Week 4 helped the team seal an important victory late in that game, while his 16 points (4 FGs, 4 XPM) in the Panda Game set a new career-high.

PR/KR Tunde Adeleke (4th year): As a kick return and punt return specialist for the Ravens, Adeleke finished last season ranked 4th in the OUA with 1126 all-purpose yards. The speedy defensive back scored an 81-yard punt return against Waterloo in Week 2 followed by a 78-yard punt return for touchdown against Windsor in Week 3.  In the last regular season game against Guelph, Adeleke had a combined 265 yards (all-purpose) on punt returns (6-122) and kick returns (6-143) and 1 touchdown.

RUSH Keith Graham (4th year): Graham, a 6-foot-0, 210-pound senior made a tremendous impact on Carleton's special teams unit and in the defensive backfield. The native of Halifax, NS featured in 8 games and collected 17 tackles (16 solo, 2 assisted) as a rush/cover. Graham played in the 2016 CIS East-West Bowl.

Key recruits or transfers: None.

Key losses: None.

Rowe, Ravens win big at York
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