The most compelling game this week may have been the one that had absolutely no impact on the standings whatsoever. The 2010 installment of the Battle of Waterloo took place on Saturday, an exhibition between two familiar foes.
The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks rested all of their starters and most of their secondary unit, opting to field their scout team for the game, while the Waterloo Warriors sent the players who have remained with the program out to renew hostilities in their second controlled scrimmage of the year (last week they played the Guelph Gryphons).
Six OUA programs have agreed to controlled scrimmages against the makeshift Warriors this season: Guelph, Laurier, Toronto, Windsor, McMaster, and Western. But facing off against their cross-town rivals, and the largest number of their former teammates who had transferred elsewhere to continue playing, the game carried with it an added sense of significance.
The situation at Waterloo is well known, there’s no need to rehash the details. In spite of the scandals, the suspensions, and the player transfers the people within the Warriors football program insist this team will carry on and will make a return. Most football fans around the nation are hopeful to see the Warriors once again take the field in 2011, and with controlled scrimmages taking place it seems like that’s more than just talk. It seems very likely that at the next Battle of Waterloo the outcome will actually have an effect on the conference standings.
Laurier’s scout team was the more successful of the two on the day but that is of lesser importance. Waterloo Warriors football has returned to play in 2010.
Among the Top 10 teams according to the Football Reporters of Canada – CIS (FRC-CIS), the Laval Rouge et Or (#1) entered an interesting showdown in Halifax against longstanding AUS rivals Saint Mary’s Huskies. There were many questions heading into this game: could SMU rebound from a poor outing in a loss to Acadia? Would coach Steve Sumarah’s decision to go with NCAA transfer Micah Brown to switch up the offence work for the Huskies? Could Laval translate their success on the road out-of-conference? The answers to all these questions would end up firmly in Laval’s favour as the top ranked Rouge et Or dominated the Huskies to the tune of a 45-7 win.
The Ottawa Gee Gees (#2), undefeated on the season, saw their chance at redemption this week against the McMaster Marauders (#8), the team who ended Ottawa’s season last year in a postseason upset at Frank Clair Stadium. This year the Marauders once again put a scare into the Gee Gees, starting out strong and taking a big lead in the third quarter however Gee Gees quarterback Brad Sinopoli led a second half comeback that saw Ottawa erase an 18-point deficit and claim a 43-35 win. Sinopoli threw for 446 yards on the day, which included four touchdown passes to go along with four interceptions.
The Montreal Carabins (#3) won their interlock match-up against the St. Francis Xavier X-Men, cruising to a 27-10 victory on the road in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, thanks to the impressive running of Rotrand Sené. On the day Sené accumulated 248 all-purpose yards, 220 on the ground, while adding a touchdown for the still undefeated Carabins.
The Calgary Dinos (#4) had started the season as one of the favourites in Canada West, and now the players are putting in an effort to win the hearts of fans right across the nation. Still missing a large compliment of starters as well as their head coach Blake Nill, who was serving a one game suspension for improper conduct last week, the Dinos came from behind scoring 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to defeat the conference leading Alberta Golden Bears (#7) 23-14 in a key Top 10 showdown.
The Western Mustangs (#5) trumped their southwestern Ontario rivals defeating the Windsor Lancers by a score of 30-15. The Saskatchewan Huskies (#6), however, did not fare so well in their regional contest, losing the Battle of Saskatchewan 37-26 to the Regina Rams (#9). The Rams' win now puts them in a three-way tie for first place in Canada West with Calgary and Alberta, all teams sporting a 2-1 record.
Coming off a surprising but convincing victory in their season opener against Saint Mary’s the Acadia Axemen (#10) broke into the Top 10 this past week. In interlock play, however they did not fare quite as well, losing 31-16 at the Homecoming game for the Bishop’s Gaiters.
Another week gone and more contests that will no doubt create a shake up in the national rankings. At least there is some consistency starting to show from a few squads across the nation. It still might be a surprise however to find out which teams will be discussed in the national round up next week. If nothing else, this has certainly been a fun start to the football season.