Second year centre Chris VanSickle of Brantford scored two tries and added five conversions to lead defending champion Mohawk to a 45-10 romp over Trent Excalibur to open their Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Division One men’s rugby season.
Phil Jackson (Stoney Creek), Graham McKelvey (Brantford), Joel Clarke (Sarnia) Andrew Porter (Burlington) and Riley Cronsberry (Stoney Creek) also had tries for the Mountaineers, in the game played at Peterborough.
The Mountaineers are hoping to repeat as champions and three-time OCAA Coach of the Year and three-time league champion coach Alex Paris said his team’s goal is always to win the gold medal.
“We’ve already been talking about it,” said Paris, prior to Saturday’s opener. “We pay no attention to being defending champions. That was last year. This is a new year. That’s our mantra.”
Mohawk has three or four key new recruits, including 25-year-old second row player, Eric Moyer, picked up from the Brantford Men’s Club. The Mountaineers are anchored by several returnees. The team has tremendous experience in its #9 through #15 positions. Of those seven players, only one is a rookie.
One player who was not expected to return, Trevor Atkinson, a third-year centre, is back in the fold. Fullback Riley Cronsberry is also back for a third year. Second-year players include Clarke, who scored the winning try in the OCAA final last year, Alex Houston, Joshua Moore and VanSickle. Forwards Adam Davidson and John Packer are also back.
Newcomer #8 McKelvey played with Canada’s under 17s.
Mohawk has it’s home opener against Humber Saturday September 25 at 2:00 pm at Mohawk Sports Park.