‘Canes make it 4 straight heading into football playoffs

The Hamilton Hurricanes won their fourth straight Ontario Football Conference game, 42-0 over the winless London Beefeaters to close out their regular season schedule on Saturday (Oct. 11).

The win left the Hurricanes, who returned to the junior football fold after a 14-year hiatus, with a 4-4 mark. They’ll now turn their attention to the first place and eight-time defending champion St. Leonard Cougars. They’ll meet on Saturday (Oct.18) in Montreal.

The ‘Canes earned their first win of the campaign against the Cougars four weeks ago. Hamilton’s return to the OFC was against St. Leonard and the Cougars were one-touchdown victors.

Despite getting off to a shakey four-loss start, three setbacks were by a converted touchdown or less.

Saturday’s regular season finale at Ivor Wynne also presented several Hurricanes with the chance to enter the club’s records’ book. Linebacker Aram Eisho needed 42 defensive statistical points to set the club record of 191 in a season.

He finished the day with 32 points before coach Jason Hayes rested him after three quarters to avoid injury leading into the playoffs. That means Ron Zammit’s 1982 record is safe. Zammit set his mark in a nine-game regular season, one more than the Hurricanes played this year.

Eisho also challenged for the team record of 56 tackles in a season, a mark shared by Zammit (1982) and Wayne Sliwinski (1991). Eisho finished with 49 solo tackles.

For the season, he was in first place across the entire country in defensive points with 182.5 points. In British Columbia, where it’s a a 10-game schedule, the top defensive player had 169 points. In the Prairie League, the leader had 139. Eisho’s 32 points on Saturday was 14 more than anyone in the conference.

Quarterback Brian Echlin was chasing one of his coach’s club records this season – top completion percentage. Echlin had another superb day with 22 completions in 33 attempts for 286 yards and three touchdown passes. His season total of 118 completions in 203 attempts equaled a 58.1 completion percentage, just two per cent back of Hayes’s 60.4% in 1993. That season Hayes received the Canadian Offensive Player of the Year award.

Echlin completed the year as the conference’s statistical leader in attempts, completions, passing yardage, completion percentage, and touchdowns. Or, to put it another way in every major quarterback category. Not bad considering he didn’t even start the first two games.

Receiver Steven Hughes was going after two team records on Saturday – Al Anonech’s 1983 record of 45 receptions and also Keith Anderson’s 1993 record of 11 touchdown catches. Hughes caught six passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday to set new team records of 49 receptions and 12 receiving TDs. Steve led the conference in receptions, yards receiving and touchdown catches, duplicating Echlin’s efforts by topping all the major receiver’s stats.

Hughes and receiver Travis Steeves broke team records earlier this season with nine receptions in a single game.