Voyage to the Vanier: OUA Final Four, RSEQ Dunsmore Cup Set

TORONTO, ON – Twelve teams in the OUA and RSEQ began their pursuit playoff glory and the right to represent their conferences in the U SPORTS football final four and a shot at playing for Canadian university football’s ultimate accolade: the Vanier Cup.

The Western Mustangs finished atop the OUA West with a 5-1 record and earned the right to host the four-seed Waterloo Warriors, who they handled easily in their lone regular season encounter. In the East, meanwhile, the Queen’s Gaels were one of two undefeated teams in the country, completing a perfect 6-0 season. They hosted the 2-4 Carleton Ravens, the OUA’s only sub-.500 team to make the postseason in Quebec.

In Quebec, the Montreal Carabins captured the top spot in the RSEQ with a 7-1 record, finishing two games ahead of the 5-3 Laval Rouge et Or. Montreal hosted Sherbrooke in the semis, while Laval welcomed in the exhilarating Concordia Stingers. If Montreal and Laval were to both win their games, that would set up an eight consecutive Dunsmore Cup featuring the two perennial powerhouses


[4] CARLETON 14 | [1] QUEEN’S 41
The Queen’s Gaels entered their OUA quarterfinal as heavy favourites against a Carleton Ravens team they handled easily in the regular season, winning 18-6 in Week 1 and 45-0 in Week 5. To pull off the upset, the Ravens would need to keep the game close, similar to the opening-week result. However, the Gaels asserted their will early and often in this one, getting out to a 15-0 lead after one on touchdown runs by Konner Burtenshaw and Anthony Soles. They added to it in the second thanks to three Rasheed Tucker touchdowns – two on the ground and one in the air – and led 36-7 at the break. They went on to win it 41-14, easily dispatching the Ravens, and will host one of either the Ottawa Gee-Gees or Toronto Varsity Blues for the right to represent the East in the Vanier Cup.

Courtesy: Queen’s Gaels

[3] OTTAWA 27 | [2] TORONTO 17
This game was a rematch of Week 1, where the Blues escaped with an 11-10 win in a game that came down to the final play. That victory is what allowed Toronto to host this one despite the teams finishing tied in the standings at 3-3. The defences were dialed in early on, with the only points of the opening quarter coming courtesy a 42-yard Campbell Fair field goal. In the second, the Gee-Gees expanded their lead with a 1-yard touchdown run by J.P. Cimankinda to finish a drive that ate up over 6:30 of clock. It was 10-0 Ottawa. The Blues got on the board late in the first half on a 26-yard field goal from Chris McLean, but still trailed 10-3 after 30 minutes. After another Fair field goal made it 13-3, Clay Sequeira found reigning OUA Special Teams Player of the Week Ethan Mackinnon down the seam for a 55-yard touchdown grab to make it a three point game. After a rouge made it 13-11, Dawson Odei broke off a 13-yard touchdown run to extend the Ottawa lead back to two scores at 20-11. Then on the next play from scrimmage, Sequeira was picked off by Chris Ciguineau, who ran it back for a 55-yard pick-six, and all of a sudden it was 27-11 Ottawa. With 4:45 to go, Sequeira found Nolan Lovegrove for a 19-yard score, but that was as close as the Varsity Blues would get as the Gee-Gees pulled out a 27-17 win and will travel to Queen’s to face the unblemished Gaels in the OUA East Final.

Courtesy: Ottawa Gee-Gees


[4] WATERLOO 24 | [1] WESTERN 51
The Waterloo Warriors and Western Mustangs met in the playoffs for a second straight season after a 30-24 Western victory in the OUA semis in 2019. The Warriors were hoping for a repeat of that game – with a different outcome, of course – as opposed to the last time the teams met, which was a dominant 48-13 Mustang win. They got off to a dream start in this one after a 32-yard touchdown catch by Gordon Lam and then a Cole Crossett field goal from the same distance, and it was quickly 10-0 Warriors. However, the Stangs would seize momentum right back after Gordon Lam fumbled a punt return leading to a Keon Edwards touchdown catch and a Tre Ford interception that resulted in a Antonio Valvano TD reception. The shootout was officially on, and Western led 14-10. The Warriors would respond with another touchdown drive, this time highlighted by a Nicklas Sua 4-yard run, and it was 17-14 Warriors after one. In the second, Tre Humes powered the Mustangs back on top with an 8-yard run to make it 21-17. The back and forth continued, however, as James Basaylga caught a 12-yard pass from Tre Ford for six, putting Waterloo back on top, 24-23. From there, it was all Western. They ended the half with two late touchdowns from Edwards and Valvano, and all of a sudden had a 37-24 lead at the break. The Warriors couldn’t get anything going offensively in the second half, and Western added two Brian Garrity field goals and another Humes rushing major en route to a 51-24 victory. They then had to await the winner of the Guelph Gryphons and Laurier Golden Hawks to find out who they would face in the OUA West Final.

Courtesy: Western Mustangs

[3] GUELPH 31 | [2] LAURIER 18
The Guelph Gryphons have been difficult to read in 2021. They key illustration of that – they beat the Western Mustangs in their season opener in Week 2, and followed that up with a loss to the Windsor Lancers the very next week. Which team would show up in their playoff game against the Laurier Golden Hawks was still to be decided. As it turned out, it would be the one who was the only squad to beat Western this season. To start, Shawn Lal found Keegan Dicks for an 18-yard score, one of two connections between the two on the day, to make it 7-0. Before the first was out, Ethan Monaghan pounced on a Connor Carusello fumble in the end zone for a touchdown, and the visitors had a 14-0 lead after a quarter. After Eric Stranz extended the lead to 17-0 in the second, Laurier finally found the end zone late in the frame as Quentin Scott busted off a 15-yard run to paydirt to make it 17-9 at the break. With just over 4:00 to play in the third, Dawson Hodge cut the Guelph lead to five with a chip shot 14-yarder, making it 17-12. The Golden Hawks could never find that next big play, and the Gryphons did – twice. First, Lal went deep for Clark Barnes, the Gryphons big play threat at receiver, for a 43-yard score to make Guelph lead to 24-12 with 4:35 left. Then, a couple minutes later Dicks hooked up for their second score of the day to make it 31-12 and officially punch the Gryphons ticket to the West Final. Scott added a late touchdown for the Hawks, but Guelph took it 31-18 and will have a chance to beat the Mustangs for a second time this year and, with it, punch their ticket to the Yates Cup.

Courtesy: Guelph Gryphons

[3E] Ottawa @ [1E] Queen’s (Sat, Nov 13 – 1:00 pm ET)
[3W] Guelph @ [1W] Western (Sat, Nov 13 – 1:00 pm ET)


The Montreal Carabins hosted the Sherbrooke Vert et Or in their RSEQ semi-final looking to advance to their eighth consecutive Dunsmore Cup. It was the underdogs, however, who got on the board first. Sherbooke took advantage of a fumble by Montreal’s Jarryd Taylor on their opening drive and turned it in to a 17-yard field goal from Louis Tardif for an early 3-0 Vert et Or lead. With just over 90 seconds to go in the first, Carabins pivot Jonathan Senecal called his own number and scored on a 9-yard scamper to give Montreal their first lead of the game, and it was 8-3 after one. After a 42-yard Michael Arpin field goal made it 11-3 early in the second after a Tyson-Odis Copeland interception, Senecal found Simon Riopel in the end zone for a 29-yard major and the Carabins extended their lead to 18-3. Arpin added a chip shot field goal later in the quarter, and Montreal owned a commanding 21-3 lead at the break. The second half was relatively uneventful, save for a Wedens Alexandre 2-yard score, and the Carabins took it handily, 31-3, to secure yet another Dunsmore Cup berth. Thier opponent would be either the Laval Rouge et Or for an eighth straight time or the upstart Concordia Stingers.

Courtesy: Montreal Carabins

[3] CONCORDIA 10 | [2] LAVAL 30
The Concordia Stingers have been one of the most intriguing teams in the country, featuring Hec Crighton candidate Olivier Roy at QB and picking up three heart-stopping victories, they had a chance to earn one more and advance to the Dunsmore Cup against the Montreal Carabins, a team they beat in Week 3. To do it, they’d have to down the powerhouse Laval Rouge et Or on the road, never an easy task. After a conceded safety gave Laval a 2-0 lead, Andrew Stevens nailed a 25-yard field goal to give the Stingers a 3-2 lead after one. The second quarter saw a rouge and a Vincent Blanchard field goal to make it 6-3 Rouge et Or. Concordia would respond, however, on a 33-yard pick-six by Zach Philion to give Concordia a 10-6 advantage. Laval got it back before the break on a 3-yard TD pass from Arnaud Desjardins to his number one receiver, Kevin Mital, and the hosts took a 14-10 lead into the break. The second half saw the Rouge et Or assert their will over the Stingers, and begin to take hold of the game. Desjardins spotted Vincent Forbes-Mombleau for an 18-yard score to put Laval up 10, before Mital scored for a second time on the day – this time on a 68-yard connection with Desjardins – giving the home squad a three-score lead after three. They added to it in the fourth on a 16-yard Blanchard field goal, and the Laval Rouge et Or continue a run of dominance not seen anywhere else in Canada, playing in the RSEQ title game for an 18th straight year (that’s not a misprint, folks), and for an eighth straight time against Montreal.

Courtesy: Laval Rouge et Or

[2] Laval at [1] Montreal (Sun, Nov 14 – 1:00 pm ET)

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