Mac football stars get another chance to shine

Five players from the Vanier Cup Champion McMaster Marauders have been selected to play in the 2012 Canadian Interuniversity Sports East-West Bowl on May 12 in London.

On the Team West offence will be tackle Matt Sewell and receiver Mike DiCroce while the defence will have linebacker/defensive end Ben D’Aguilar, and defensive backs Michael Daly and Joey Cupido.

On Thursday (April 5) CIS announced the rosters for the 10th annual East West Bowl which will be played at TD Waterhouse Stadium on the campus of Western University. Ticket information can be found at the website Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

This will be Western’s fourth straight year as host. The contest was previously held at McMaster (2008), Laval (2007, 2006) and Wilfrid Laurier (2005, 2004, 2003). In addition to the game itself, the week-long event includes daily practices, the Under Armour Combine for participating players (May 8), the Canadian Football League Free Agent Combine for players eligible to attend 2012 CFL training camps and not participating in the East West Bowl (May 9), a coaches clinic featuring presentations by eight CFL coaches (May 11-12), as well as a banquet featuring guest speaker Duane Forde from TSN (May 11).

Stefan Ptaszek, head coach of the reigning Vanier Cup champion McMaster Marauders, will lead the West team, while Glen Constantin, who has guided the Laval Rouge et Or to five national championships in 11 seasons, will be in charge of the East squad for the second year in a row. Constantin will act as head coach at the Classic for the sixth time overall, including five assignments as sideline boss of the East.

“On an annual basis, the biggest showcase of Canadian university football talent – players and coaches – occurs at the CIS East West Bowl,” said Ptaszek. “To work with the brightest minds and most gifted student-athletes in our nation is a privilege and an honour. I look forward to the week of festivities and a great football game on May 12th in London.”

The East West Bowl showcases – for the most part – CIS players who will be eligible for the following year’s CFL draft.

The East side is comprised of student-athletes representing schools from the Atlantic and Quebec conferences, as well as from Queen’s, Ottawa and Toronto. The West contingent is made up of players from Canada West and from the remaining OUA universities.

Nine players who will take the field on May 12 – seven for the West and two for the East – were named CIS all-Canadians last fall, including Marauders DiCroce and Sewell Calgary running back Steven Lumbala, Regina guard Brett Jones, Regina defensive tackle Stefan Charles, Calgary defensive tackle Linden Gaydosh, Windsor halfback Matt McGarva, Concordia defensive back and returner Kris Robertson, as well as Sherbrooke halfback Patrick Chénard.

DiCroce merited Ontario University Athletics most valuable player honours in 2011 after he amassed a CIS-best 904 receiving yards in eight regular season games. The 5-foot-11, 192-pound speedster was also stellar in the Marauders’ first-ever Vanier Cup win with 102 yards on seven catches.

Quarterbacking the East team will be Mount Allison’s Jake Hotchkiss and Laval’s Tristan Grenon, while Manitoba’s Khaleal Williams is currently the only pivot listed on the West roster.

Other players from the Golden Horseshoe area making the West squad include Laurier’s running back Isaac Dell from Niagara Falls; York receiver Will Austin from St. Catharines; and Waterloo offensive lineman Matt Vonl from Burlington. On defence will be Western linemen Brent Wheeler from Hamilton and Mike Spence from Burlington. On Special teams will be Western kicker Lirim Hajrullahu from St. Catharines.

Former Marauders and Hamilton Ticats head coach Greg Marshall, now head coach at Western, will be one of Ptaszek’s assistant coaches for the bowl game.

EAST WEST BOWL NOTES: Additional players are expected to be added to the rosters… The East has won the last two editions, including a 34-27 overtime victory a year ago… The West leads the all-time series 6-3… Past East West Bowl participants include Hec Crighton Trophy winners Billy Greene of UBC, Brad Sinopoli of Ottawa, Benoit Groulx of Laval, Daryl Stephenson of Windsor, Andy Fantuz of Western, Jesse Lumsden of McMaster and Tommy Denison of Queen’s… Other notables include current NFL players Cory Greenwood of Kansas City (Concordia), Joel Reinders of the New York Giants (Waterloo), Vaughn Martin of San Diego (Western) and Jon Ryan of Seattle (Regina), as well as former Calgary Dino Dan Federkeil, who earned a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Indianapolis Colts in 2007…


2011 (at Western): East 34, West 27 (OT)
2010 (at Western): East 12, West 9
2009 (at Western): West 16, East 7
2008 (at McMaster): East 25, West 12
2007 (at Laval): West 22, East 19 (OT)
2006 (at Laval): West 34, East 26 (OT)
2005 (at Laurier): West 34, East 16
2004 (at Laurier): West 21, East 12