Wide receiver Michael Dicroce of Hamilton returned to the McMaster lineup, scoring two touchdowns to lead the No. 1 ranked McMaster Marauders to a 42-28 win over the No. 8 Western Mustangs in Ontario University Athletics football semifinal play.
(Photo: Robin Leworthy Wilson, Aerial Promotions)
McMaster advances to the 105th Yates Cup OUA championship next week against the No. 5 Guelph Gryphons, who knocked off the No. 6 Queen`s Gaels, 42-39, in overtime in the other semifinal.
The victory also puts McMaster in elite company having equaled the Canadian Interuniversity Sport record of 19 consecutive wins set by the Laval Rouge et Or. Laval accomplished the feat in the 2004-2005 seasons while McMaster hasn`t lost since last September.
Dicroce, who was the league MVP last season, was named the ‘Big Mac McDonald’s’ player of the game catching two key touchdowns and tallying five receptions for 139 yards. He was playing in his first game of the year after suffering an ankle injury in training camp.
Kyle Quinlan (South Woodslee) finished 22 of 43 for 324 yards and three touchdown strikes including a 103-yard momentum changing touchdown to Dicroce which handed the Marauders a 23-18 lead in the third quarter – a lead they would not relinquish.
Western’s Will Finch (Burlington) finished the game 24 of 37 tossing two touchdowns but also throwing four interceptions which cost the Mustangs several critical scoring opportunities.
London’s Matt Uren and Brian Marshall had the two receiving touchdowns for the Mustangs while Garret Sanvido of Vancouver punched in the other on the ground.
For McMaster, Tanner Forsyth (Mt. Albert) ran in two touchdowns on 17 carries for 97 yards while Spencer Moore (Hamilton) caught the other touchdown from Quinlan.
McMaster’s Joey Cupido (Hamilton) picked off Finch twice and made two tackles to crush the Mustangs hopes of an upset.
The crushing blow for the Marauders was the 103-yard touchdown pass by Quinlan to Dicroce. Down 18-17 in the third quarter and pinned in their own end zone, Quinlan connected with Dicroce on a bomb to midfield. Dicroce would beat three more defenders for the rest of the 103-yard touchdown and a slim 23-18 lead.
McMaster would then pile on 19 more points to take a 42-21 lead before Western added a meaningless touchdown with just 16 seconds to play and a 42-28 final.
Western held a 17-7 lead in the second quarter after scoring twice within two minutes on a Sanvido one-yard run and a 37-yard Finch touchdown to Marshall.
McMaster would equal the score by halftime with Forsyth scoring his first TD with 4:34 remaining and then Tyler Crapigna (Nepean), hitting a 19-yard field goal as time expired in the half to bring the score to 17-17.
Crapigna would actually miss the game-tying kick at the half in his first attempt from the 40-yard line, but Western’s Malcolm Brown (London), ran the ball out of the end zone and fumbled, with the Marauders Jeremy Kyei (Hamilton) recovering the ball. On the play, there was a Western penalty and the half cannot end on a penalty giving the Marauders a second chance at the kick.
NOTES: McMaster’s last loss came against the Western Mustangs back on Sept. 10, 2011. Yates Cup OUA Championship tickets go on sale at 9 a.m. on Sunday and can be purchased online at www.marauders.ca or by calling 905-525-9140 x20353.