Crapigna outkicks himself in East-West Bowl

Marauder placekicker Tyler Crapigna converted four of six field goal attempts – including the 42-yard game winner – and teammate linebacker Aram Eisho led his side with six combined tackles, as Team West defeated Team East, 18-17, in the 2013 East-West Bowl on Saturday (May 11).

With the victory, the West stopped a three-year winning streak for the East at the annual CIS football prospects game and now leads the series 7-4.

Photo: McMaster Athletics/Gary Jubenville

Crapigna, a senior from Nepean, Ont., handled kicking duties for both teams on the day and was good on three of four field goal attempts for the West, while going one-for-two for the East. Unfortunately for the East, he missed a 45-yard attempt with three seconds left which would have changed the outcome.

“It was good kicking field goals for both teams. I found out early in the week that it would be the case. It gave me a chance to showcase my talent on the field even more than expected so I really didn’t have any complaints,” said Crapigna, who kicked the game-winning field goal in overtime in the 2011 Vanier Cup against Laval to lead the Marauders to their first-ever national title.

“This was a great experience overall. Those are the best players in the country and to be able to play with and against them and to showcase your talent for professional scouts, it’s just great.”

The score was tied at 3-3 at the end of the first quarter following a pair of Crapigna field goals, including a 32-yarder for the East at 9:56 and a 22-yarder for the West at 13:30.

The West went into the locker room at halftime with an 8-3 lead thanks to another successful kick by Crapigna, this one from 19 yards out at 6:00, and a safety touch conceded by the East at 9:35.

In the second half, the East dominated the third quarter 14-0 to take a 17-8 advantage after 45 minutes of play but the West responded with 10 unanswered points in the final frame to steal the victory.

Adam Thibault of the reigning Vanier Cup champion Laval Rouge et Or provided the highlight of the day on the first play of the second half when he returned Crapigna’s kickoff 101 yards for the game’s first touchdown.

Five minutes after Thibault’s spectacular score, Bishop’s Alexander Fox caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Queen’s Billy McPhee to make it 17-8 for the East.

Ten seconds into the fourth quarter, UBC running back Brandon Deschamps brought the West back to within two points on a one-yard run.

The score remained 17-15 for the East until Crapigna’s game-winning kick with 66 seconds left on the clock.

“We tried to keep the game plan pretty generic. This game is not about coaches trying to outcoach each other, it’s about letting the players showcase their talent so we keep it basic and let the guys play,” said winning head coach Stefan Ptaszek, the 2012 CIS coach of the year from McMaster.

“I thought that kickoff return at the start of the second half was pretty cool, even though it went against us. To our guys’ credit, they weathered the storm and battled back to get the win.”

Statistically, McPhee was the game’s most productive quarterback with 14 completions on 23 attempts for 114 yards, one major and one interception. His East teammate Ben Rossong from Saint Mary’s was 2-of-4 for 42 yards and was sacked three times.

On the West side, McMaster’s Marshall Ferguson went 10-of-22 for 99 yards with a pair of interceptions, while Windsor’s Austin Kennedy completed five of 12 passes for 71 yards. Kennedy was also the game’s leading rusher with 56 yards on 10 carries.

GAME NOTES: The East West Bowl showcases – for the most part – CIS players who will be eligible for the following year’s CFL Canadian draft… The East side is comprised of student-athletes representing schools from the Atlantic and Quebec conferences, as well as Queen’s, Ottawa and Toronto. The West contingent is made up of standouts from Canada West and the remaining OUA universities.