Michael Faulds (Eden Mills) had a record-breaking football season in 2009. It is only fitting that he is chosen as the 2009 Ontario University Athletics most valuable player.
The fifth-year Western Mustangs team captain was nothing short of brilliant this past season while at the helm of the nation’s top-ranked offence. For the second consecutive season, Faulds led OUA and Canadian Interuniversity Sport in passing, completing 201 tosses for a record 3,033 yards and 15 touchdowns. Faulds became just the second quarterback in OUA and CIS history to pass for more than 3,000 yards in a single season, surpassing former Hec Crighton Trophy winner Tom Denison.
In the process Faulds also set the OUA and CIS career passing record with 10,811 yards. He finishes his illustrious career throwing 761 passes that produced 60 touchdowns. Faulds is the eleventh player in Western football history and the first since Andy Fantuz in 2005 to be named OUA MVP.
The two-time Dalt White Trophy winner, as Yates Cup most valuable player, is a nominee for this year’s Hec Crighton Award, to be presented during Vanier Cup week in Quebec City. Faulds is the OUA first-team all-star quarterback, with his Queen’s Gaels rival Dan Brannagan (Burlington) earning second-team status after the pair went toe-to-toe in the all-time passing yards race. Brannagan’s career ends with 10,714 passing yards.
Western teammate John Surla (Niagara Falls) is the OUA President’s Trophy winner as stand-up defensive player of the year. The third-year defensive captain led the Mustangs defence with 52 total tackles (36 solo and 32 assists). In addition, Surla also recorded three interceptions and two sacks.
The heart and soul of the Mustang defence, Surla also played on every special teams play and performed the team’s long snapping duties. He is the fifth player from Western to be named top defensive player and the first since Derek Krete in 1996. Surla is a nominee for the CIS Presidents’ Trophy as the nation’s top stand-up defensive player.
The J.P. Metras Award winner is Windsor Lancers centre Matt Morencie (Windsor). The 21st overall selection in last May’s CFL draft returned to Windsor for his fifth h and final season in 2009. A career offensive tackle, Morencie made a huge switch this season to the interior of the offensive line to take on the role of centre. Morencie flourished in his new role that saw him in charge of making all the calls and adjustments for the offensive line.
A physical point-of-attack run blocker and a high quality pass protector made Morencie one of the league’s most dominant offensive linemen this once again this season. Morencie will look to move onto the next level in 2010 as a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. This is only the third member of the Lancers to win the J.P. Metras and the first since John Celestino in 1981. Morencie is a nominee for the CIS J.P. Metras Trophy as top lineman in Canada.
McMaster Marauders’ defensive back Cody Lynch (Stoney Creek) earns the Norm Marshall Trophy as OUA rookie of the year. Lynch made a seamless transition into OUA action in 2009. The standout playmaker in a young McMaster secondary started every game this season for the Marauders at the boundary corner position. Lynch finished the season with 22.5 tackles and led the team with three interceptions.
Lynch was also the only player to score a defensive touchdown this season for the Marauders. In addition to being a key member of the defence, he was also a significant contributor to the special teams as the team’s top punt returner. Lynch is the fourth Marauder since 1997 and the second in the last three years (Ryan Chmielewski in 2007) to be named rookie of the year. Lynch is a nominee for the Peter Gorman Trophy as top rookie in CIS.
Linebacker T.J. Leeper (London) of the Queen’s Gaels is OUA’s nominee for the Russ Jackson Award, presented annually by CIS to the player who best exemplifies the attributes of academic achievement, football skill and citizenship. Over the past five seasons Leeper has distinguished himself as one of the most intelligent players to ever play at Queen’s. A four-year starter at linebacker, Leeper is a perennial academic all-Canadian who has earned a reputation for being a physical tackler who is always in the right position. In 2009 he led the OUA’s top-ranked defence with 40 tackles (32 solo, 16 assisted), five tackles for loss and one fumble recovery.
While completing his degree in life sciences, Leeper has been a committed community volunteer. Among his many endeavours, Leeper has served as a peer tutor both at Queen’s and with several local high schools. He volunteers with the Kingston General Hospital working with terminally ill patients, and is a regular visitor to the children’s ward. In addition, he has also been a leading force in Queen’s Football Reading Heroes, a community outreach program where members of the football team maintain a significant presence in local elementary schools in an effort to inspire grade school children to improve their literacy. Upon completion of his degree, Leeper intends on entering medical school. He is the third Queen’s player to be a nominee for the Russ Jackson Award since 2002.
Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks head coach Gary Jeffries is the Dave “Tuffy” Knight Award winner as OUA coach of the year, presented by Centaur Products, Inc. In his seventh season as head coach of the Golden Hawks, Jeffries led a young team to a 6-2 record and second place in the OUA. Highly regarded as a great motivator, Jeffries’ Hawks have been one of the t op programs in the nation throughout his tenure. This is his fourth coach of the year award following three straight from 2003-2005 when he was the named the CIS coach of the year in 2003.
The OUA volunteer coach of the year is Ron Vanmoerkerke, who is in his 11th year coaching with the Golden Hawks. He returned again to the role of defensive coordinator, a position he has held since the 2003 season. Vanmoerkerke’s track record with Laurier is a long and storied one; he played in the late 1980s and was on the 1987 Yates Cup championship team. In 1988, he received the WLU Alumni Association academic and athletic achievement award. In 1989, he was named an OUA first-team all-star linebacker and team MVP.
At present, Vanmoerkerke is a teacher and the department head of social science at Eastwood Collegiate High School in Kitchener. Prior to becoming the defensive coordinator with the Hawks, he was the head coach at Eastwood and Galt Collegiate.
The OUA officials award of merit goes to Ron MacVinnie. The long-time Burlington resident has been officiating in OUA for 10 years. He played minor football with the Burlington Braves, helping coach the club in the late 1960s. He has also coached two Burlington-based high school teams throughout the years. MacVinnie became a football official in 1983 and is the current president of the Lakeshore Football Officials Association.