Voyage to the Vanier: Three Spots in National Semi-Finals Up For Grabs

TORONTO, ON – We’re getting down to the nitty-gritty on the road to Laval and the 56th Vanier Cup. Last Saturday featured a triple-header of conference championship games, with the Yates Cup, Loney Bowl and Hardy Cup all taking place from coast-to-coast.

The Montreal Carabins already earned their Mitchell Bowl berth with a win over Laval in the Dunsmore Cup on November 14. Which three teams would round out the quartet of national semi-finalists? Good thing you’re here, because this is just the place to be to find out. The only catch? You have to read the rest. No giveaways.


[1W] WESTERN 29 | [1E] QUEEN’S 0
Entering Saturday’s Yates Cup game against Western, the Queen’s Gaels remained one of just two undefeated teams in the nation – the other being the St. FX X-Men, whose game we’ll delve into next. We know coming in that, more than likely, the team that had the better day on the ground would win this game. It featured three of the best tailbacks in the country in the form of 1-2 punch Tre Humes and the OUA’s leading rusher Keon Edwards of Western, and Rasheed Tucker of Queen’s. That pregame assertion couldn’t have been more true, as it turned out, and it was Edwards who stole the show. He found the end zone three times in the opening 30 minutes on runs from 5, 24 and 36 yards, respectively. Conversely, Tucker was stymied all afternoon by a tough Western defensive front. He was held to just 60 yards – his lowest output of the season – and did not score a touchdown for the first time since Week 2 vs. Ottawa. Western won it in convincing fashion, 29-0, capturing their OUA-record 33rd Yates Cup. They advance to the national semi-final for the third time in the last four seasons.

Courtesy: Western Mustangs


[3] BISHOP’S 17 | [1] ST. FX 25
As mentioned, the St. FX X-Men were the only undefeated team in the country outside of Ontario heading into their second Loney Bowl in three seasons. Their opponent wasn’t about to make it easy, however. The upstart Bishop’s Gaiters were getting set to play in their second straight AUS title game, as they seem to have found their stride since migrating East from the RSEQ in 2017. This game was all field goals in the opening half. X-Men kicker Max Capriotti went 3-4 in the first half, with makes from 34, 37 and 22. It was Capriotti 9, Bishop’s 0 at the break. The game’s first major didn’t come until beyond the 7:00 mark of the 3rd quarter when Bishop’s’ Maxime Bouffard ran one in from nine yards out to trim the St. FX lead to 9-7. After a safety conceded by the X-Men tied it, Gaiters punter Yani Gouadfel pounded a 78-yard punt into the end zone for a rouge, and Bishop’s had its first lead, 10-9. On their final drive of the third, the X-Men restored their lead thanks to a Malcolm Bussey 2-yard touchdown run. That put St. FX up 15-10 after a two-point convert pass was incomplete from Silas Fagnan. Capriotti would hit another field goal early in the fourth to make it 18-10 before Bussey found the end zone for a second time on the day – this one from 10 yards out – to extend the lead to 25-10 with 8:11 left. Bouffard scored another touchdown for Bishop’s with 40 second left to make it a one-score game, but the Gaiters couldn’t recover the ensuing onside kick, and the X-Men held on for a 25-17 victory – their third AUS title in five years.

Courtesy: St. FX X-Men


Th Saskatchewan Huskies were making their third straight appearance in the Hardy Cup, while the Manitoba Bisons were in it for the first time since 2014. This was the first Hardy Cup not played at McMahon Stadium in Calgary since 2009, and the first all-Prairie CanWest final since 2007 when Manitoba beat Regina 48-5. Manitoba was looking for a repeat of that performance against the Rams provincial rivals, and it looked early like they may get it. Huskies QB Mason Nyhus was picked off on the opening drive by Arjay Shelley, which set up the Bisons deep in Saskatchewan territory. The drive was finished off by a QB-keeper from Jackson Tachinsky from a yard out and Manitoba had an early 7-0 lead. After the home side conceded a safety to make it 9-0, sophomore running back Michael Ritchott ripped off a 53-yard touchdown romp, and all of a sudden it was 16-0 Manitoba. They led 16-2 after one. However, after they earned that 16-0 lead, it was all Huskies. Saskatchewan, from the 7:52 mark of the first quarter, outscored the Bisons 45-1 the rest of the way. It started early in the second with Adam Machart finding paydirt on a 7-yard run, and David Solie added a final-play field goal to make it 16-12 Bisons at the break. Machart scored again from three yards out to give Sask their first lead in the third before adding a third major late in the frame to make it 26-16 after three. The onslaught really began in the fourth, as the Huskies put the game away with 19 fourth-quarter points, including scores from Colton Klassen – a 17-yard reception from Nyhus – and freshman running back Ryker Frank – a 50-yard scurry – with a David Solie field goal in between. The Huskies picked up the victory by a 45-17 score and will play in a national semi for the second time in three seasons.

Courtesy: Saskatchewan Huskies

Mitchell Bowl: St. FX X-Men [AUS] @ Western Mustangs [OUA] (Sat, Nov 27 – 12:00 pm ET; Available on CHCH TV)
Uteck Bowl: Saskatchewan Huskies [CanWest] @ Montreal Carabins [RSEQ] (Sat, Nov 27 – 3:00 pm ET)

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