FB: 2018 Canada West team previews

FB: 2018 Canada West team previews

Canada West Communications

EDMONTON – The long wait is almost over, as the 2018 Canada West football season is set to kick off this Friday.

To get you prepared for the upcoming season, here's a look at all six conference teams who will be vying for the Hardy Cup. 

WATCH THE CANADA WEST FOOTBALL SHOWCASE

Following a successful inaugural season in 2017, the Canada West Football Showcase will be back on televisions across Western Canada for the next three years.

Canada West games can be seen all season long by tuning into SaskTel maxTV in the province of Saskatchewan, TELUS Optik TV in British Columbia and Alberta, and Bell MTS Fibe TV in Manitoba.

Year two of the CW Football Showcase begins with an opening night double-header on Friday, August. 31, as Regina hosts Calgary (7 p.m. CST) and Saskatchewan welcomes Alberta (7 p.m. CST).

ALL THE ACTION ON CANADA WEST TV

Fans can watch every Canada West football regular season and playoff game this season on Canada West TV – the official streaming home of the conference. 

The 2018-19 athletic season marks the conference's second year with Yare Media, who partnered with Canada West to provide customers with the optimal viewing experience based on their device and internet connectivity. 

2018-19 season passes are available here.


2018 CW pre-season coaches poll rank: 5th

2017 CW regular season record: 3-5, 4th

2017 post-season record: 0-1, Lost Canada West semifinal to Calgary 39-22

Head coach: Chris Morris (6th season) / 9-31 (career CW reg. season record)

Last Hardy Cup championship / total Hardy Cup championships: 1981/ 16

Last Vanier Cup championship / total Vanier Cup championships: 1980 / 3

2017 CW regular season ranks:

  • Points for: 34.4 PPG, 2nd
  • Total offence: 517.8 YPG, 1st
  • Points against: 34.5 PPG, 3rd
  • Total defence: 474.0 YPG, 4th

2017 CW regular season leaders:

  • Passing yards: 2,142 – Brad Baker, quarterback
  • Rushing yards: 1,468 – Ed Ilnicki, running back
  • Receiving yards: 1,013 – Nathan Rowe, receiver
  • All-purpose yards: 1,619 - Ed Ilnicki, running back
  • Tackles: 56.0 – Aaron Chabaylo, linebacker
  • Sacks: 4.0 – Jacob Narbonne, defensive Line
  • Interceptions: 2 – Shaydon Philip, defensive back 

Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last team):

  • Jonathan Rosary / RB / 1 / Edmonton, AB / Harry Ainlay HS
  • Tyler Duguid / OL / 1 / Edmonton, AB / Jasper Place HS
  • Jonathan Ericson / QB / 1 / Calgary, AB / Lacombe CHS
  • Rodeem Brown / OL / 1 / Saskatoon, SK / Centennial Collegiate
  • Donovan Burgmaier / DE / 3 / Edmonton, AB / Edmonton Huskies

Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):

  • Ed Ilnicki / RB / Spruce Grove, AB / 5
  • Mark Korte / OL / Spruce Grove, AB / 4
  • Justin Lawrence / OL / Spruce Grove, AB / 4
  • Tylor Henry / WR / Camrose, AB / 5
  • Nathan Rowe / WR / Calgary, AB / 2
  • Jacob Narbonne / DL / Edmonton, AB / 5
  • Tak Landry / DB / Edmonton, AB / 5
  • Aundrey Webster / WR / Edmonton, AB / 5 

Key offensive performer:

Brad Baker

Quarterback

5th-year

Raymond, AB 

A large part of the Bears second-half turnaround in 2017 can be attributed to starting quarterback Brad Baker. After starting 0-4, the Bears finished the season winning three of four games to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade. Baker tossed for 1,473 yards and 14 touchdowns in those four games, including a career-high five touchdowns against the Dinos in the season-finale. With the graduation of Hec Crighton trophy winning running back Ed Ilnicki, the offence will need Baker to continue that stellar play in 2018 to get back in the playoff picture. 

Key defensive performer:

Shaydon Philip

Defensive back

3rd-year

St. Albert, AB

While the Bears offence has had its share of all-stars and athleticism over the past couple seasons, the defence has lacked a true playmaker. The Bears may have found their defensive star in the making last season, in sophomore corner Shaydon Philip. The St. Albert product led the Bears with two interceptions and seven pass breakups last season, while finishing second on the team with 45 tackles.


2018 CW pre-season coaches poll rank: 1st

2017 CW regular season record: 6-2, second

2017 post-season record: 1-1, Hardy Cup Finalists

Head coach: Blake Nill (4th season with UBC, 13th overall in CW) / 15-9 with UBC, 68-28 overall (CW reg. season career record)

Last Hardy Cup championship / total Hardy Cup championships: 2015 / 6

Last Vanier Cup championship / total Vanier Cup championships: 2015 / 4

2017 CW regular season ranks:

  • Points for: 28.9, 5th
  • Total offence: 455.9, 4th
  • Points against: 21.5, 1st
  • Total defence: 393, 1st 

2017 CW regular season leaders:

  • Passing yards: 2,308 – Michael O'Connor, quarterback
  • Rushing yards: 726 – Ben Cummings, running back
  • Receiving yards: 717 – Trivel Pinto, receiver
  • All-purpose yards: 1,056 – Trivel Pinto, receiver
  • Tackles: 39 – Will Maxwell, defensive back
  • Sacks: 3 – Isaiah Joseph, linebacker
  • Interceptions: 4 – Stavros Katsantonis, defensive back

Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last team):

  • Sheriden Lawley / DL / 4 / Abbotsford, BC / University of Connecticut
  • Lake Korte-Moore / DL / 1 / Ottawa, ON / Football North St. Joseph's
  • Blake Whiteley / WR / 2 / West Vancouver, BC / University of Texas
  • Ted Kubongo / RB / 1 / Calgary, AB / University of Maine
  • Michael Calvert / QB / 1 / Delta, BC / South Delta Sun Devils

Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):

  • Alex Morrison / WR / Sault Ste. Marie, ON / 5
  • Will Watson / WR / Surrey, BC / 4
  • Dakoda Shepley / OL / Windsor, ON / 4

Key offensive performer:

Trivel Pinto

Receiver

4th-year

Brampton, ON 

Trivel Pinto led Canada West in 2017 with an average kick return of 25.8 yards. In addition to being named an offensive conference all-star, Pinto was also selected a Canada West All-Star on special teams. His 53 receptions was tops in the conference, five of those for a touchdown. Pinto needs two more major scores to move into the Canada West top 20 all-time. Another 27 receptions and Pinto will move into another top 20 category. 

Key defensive performer:

Will Maxwell

DB

5th-year

Calgary, AB

Will Maxwell heads into his fifth and final Canada West season as UBC's leading tackler from 2017. His 35 solo and 39 total tackles both led the Thunderbirds. The Calgary native added an interception and broke up five passes. Maxwell was a 2017 Canada West All-Star and a second team All-Canadian.


2018 CW pre-season coaches poll rank: 2nd

2017 CW regular season record: 7-1, 1st

2017 post-season record: 2-1, Hardy Cup Champions (Mitchell Bowl finalists)

Head coach: Wayne Harris (4th season) / 21-3 (career CW reg. season record)

Last Hardy Cup championship / total Hardy Cup championships: 2017 / 17

Last Vanier Cup championship / total Vanier Cup championships: 1995 / 4

2017 CW regular season ranks:

  • Points for: 42.5 PPG, 1st
  • Total offence: 3923 YPG, 2nd
  • Points against: 28 PPG, 2nd
  • Total defence: 417.9 YPG, 2nd

2017 CW regular season leaders:

  • Passing yards: 2447 – Adam Sinagra, quarterback
  • Rushing yards: 429 – Jeshrun Antwi, running back
  • Receiving yards: 767 – Hunter Karl, wide receiver
  • All-purpose yards: 872 – Michael Klukas, wide receiver
  • Tackles: 48.5 – Micah Teitz, linebacker
  • Sacks: 3 – Micah Teitz, LB and Matt Carson, defensive lineman
  • Interceptions: 3 – Boston Rowe, linebacker 

Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last team):

  • Jalen Philpot / R / 1 / Delta, BC / Seaquam
  • Tyson Philpot / R / 1 / Delta, BC / Seaquam
  • Brycen Mayoh / R / 1 / Port Coquitlam, BC / Vancouver Island Raiders
  • Grant McDonald / LB / 2 / Delta, BC / University of Maine
  • Tyrece Viner-Cox / DL / 1 / Winnipeg, MB / Garden City Collegiate 

Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):

  • Ryan Sceviour / OL / Calgary, AB / 4
  • Darius Ciraco / OL / Burlington, ON / 4
  • Michael Klukas / R / Calgary, AB / 4
  • Cory Robinson / DL / Airdrie, AB / 5
  • Brett Wade / DL / Regina, SK / 5
  • Micah Teitz / LB / Calgary, AB / 4
  • Adam Laurenss / DB / Sherwood Park, AB / 5

Key offensive performer:

Adam Sinagra

Quarterback

4th-year

Pointe Claire, Que.

Adam Sinagra is back for his second full season as the starter after averaging better than 300 yards passing per game last season, tossing for 2,447 yards and 18 touchdowns. He took part in the CFL's partnership that brings U SPORTS quarterbacks into pro camps this off-season, interning with the Calgary Stampeders under Dave Dickenson and Bo Levi Mitchell. 

Key defensive performer:

Boston Rowe

Linebacker

5th-year

Calgary, AB

Boston Rowe returns to the Dinos for his fifth year of eligibility after attending the Calgary Stampeders' training camp. Taken in the 8th round of the CFL Draft in May, he'll bring a solid, veteran presence to the linebackers in his final Canada West season. He led the Dinos with three interceptions in 2017 and was second on the team in tackles with 40. 


 

2018 CW pre-season coaches poll rank: 4th

2017 CW regular season record: 2-6, 6th place  

2017 post-season record: missed playoffs

Head coach: Brian Dobie (23rd season) / 89-85-1 (career CW reg. season record)

Last Hardy Cup championship / total Hardy Cup championships: 2014 / 11

Last Vanier Cup championship / total Vanier Cup championships: 2007 / 3

2017 CW regular season ranks:

  • Points for: 22.5 PPG, 6th
  • Total offence: 378.6 YPG, 6th
  • Points against: 36.1 PPG, 6th
  • Total defence: 503.4 YPG, 5th

2017 CW regular season leaders:

  • Passing yards: 1,142 – Des Catellier, quarterback
  • Rushing yards: 691 – Jamel Lyles, running back 
  • Receiving yards: 318 – Jesse Walker, receiver 
  • All-purpose yards: 1,382 – Jamel Lyles, running back / returner 
  • Tackles: 48 – James Mau, linebacker 
  • Sacks: 3.5 – Derek Dufault, defensive end 
  • Interceptions: 3 – Jayden McKoy, defensive back 

Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last team):

  • Scott Borden Jr. / QB / 4 / Halifax, NS / Westshore Rebels
  • Christian Krause / OL / 3 / Victoria, BC / Westshore Rebels
  • Samson Abbott / DE / 3 / Winnipeg, MB / Winnipeg Rifles
  • Kent Hicks / DT / 4 / Abbotsford, BC / Westshore Rebels
  • Chris Larsen / DE / 3 / Toronto, ON / Westshore Rebels
  • Jeremie Drouin / DT / 4 / Winnipeg, MB / Westshore Rebels
  • Beck Fullerton / DB / 3 / Winnipeg, MB / Okanagan Sun

Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):

  • Theo Deezar / QB / Winnipeg, MB / 5 (redshirt in 2012)
  • Alex Christie / RB / Winnipeg, MB / 6 (redshirt in 2012)
  • Tom Clarkson / OL / Mission, BC / 2
  • Anthony Daley / OL / Winnipeg, MB / 2
  • James Mau / LB / Ottawa, ON / 6 (redshirt in 2012)
  • Tyler Fong / DB / Victoria, BC / 5
  • Eric Plett / DB / Winnipeg, MB / 4

Key offensive performer:

Jamel Lyles

Running back / kick returner

3rd-year

Surrey, BC 

Lyles is a vocal leader for the Bisons offence, who also has the numbers to back up his talk. In his two years of U SPORTS eligibility, he's accumulated 3,042 all-purpose yards, demonstrating his versatility not only as a rusher and pass-catcher, but also a kick and punt returner.

The 2015 U SPORTS Second Team All-Canadian kick returner and Canada West Rookie of the Year enters 2018 with an increased level of maturity, but has maintained his aggressive downhill running style and fearlessness between the tackles. With a veteran offensive line paving the way, the sky is the limit this season for Lyles.   

Key defensive performer:

Jayden McKoy

Safety

5th-year

Winnipeg, MB

Jayden McKoy is, without a doubt, the Bisons' most versatile player in the secondary, and is also an invaluable team captain. This year, he'll suit up at his most natural position of safety, after primarily playing field halfback during his U SPORTS career, where last year he earned a Canada West All-Star nod.

McKoy has a tremendous football IQ and the stats to back up his play. He's registered at least 30 tackles every year since 2014 and cumulatively has 150 for his Bisons career. The more impressive statistic, however, is his interception count. He's picked off 13 passes and is just a few short of setting a new program record. 

Entering his final year of university eligibility, McKoy is hungry to finish off on a high note, and ideally help bring the Vanier Cup back to the U of M campus for the first time since 2007. 


2018 CW pre-season coaches poll rank: 3rd

2017 CW regular season record: 4-4, 3rd

2017 post-season record: 0-1, Lost Canada West semifinal to UBC 28-21

Head coach: Steve Bryce (3rd season) / 10-6 (career CW reg. season record) 

Last Hardy Cup championship / total Hardy Cup championships: 2000 / 1

Last Vanier Cup championship / total Vanier Cup championships: (none)

2017 CW regular season ranks:

  • Points for: 32.4, 3rd
  • Total offence: 479.4, 3rd
  • Points against: 35.4, 4th
  • Total defence: 453.5, 4th 

2017 CW regular season leaders:

  • Passing yards: 2491 – Noah Picton, quarterback
  • Rushing yards: 914 – Atlee Simon, running back
  • Receiving yards: 761 – Mitchell Picton, slot back
  • All-purpose yards: 1230 – Atlee Simon, running back
  • Tackles: 46.0 – Nick Cross, linebacker
  • Sacks: 6.5 – Nicholas Dheilly, defensive lineman
  • Interceptions: 2 – Polis Koko, defensive back

Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last team):

  • Brandon Brooks / DB / 3 / San Diego, Calif. / University of Nevada
  • Kris Calcutt / WR / 2 / Regina, SK / Regina Thunder
  • Jaxon Ford / DB / 1 / Regina, SK / Campbell Collegiate
  • Aldo Galvan / K / 1 / Mexico City, Mexico / Bucaneros de Satélite
  • Brandon Gandire / DB / 2 / Marietta, Ga. / Westshore Rebels
  • Kyler Mosley / SB / 3 / Richmond, BC / Okanagan Sun
  • Tanner Smith / LB / 2 / Regina, SK / Regina Thunder
  • Bennett Stusek / SB / 1 / Regina, SK / Campbell Collegiate 

Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):

  • Nick Cross / LB / Regina, SK / 1
  • Nicholas Dheilly / DL / Regina, SK / 2
  • Polis Koko / DB / Regina, SK / 2
  • Zack McEachern / LB / Calgary, AB / 4
  • Bryce McKinnon / DL / Water Valley, AB / 5
  • Mitchell Picton / SB / Regina, SK / 5
  • Korey Sheppard-Greene / DB / Toronto, ON / 4
  • Mitch Thompson / WR / Regina, SK / 3
  • Michele Vecchio / OL / Kelowna, BC / 1

Key offensive performer:

Noah Picton

Quarterback

5th-season

Regina, Sask.

Look no further than the guy at the most important position on the field for the University of Regina Rams' player to watch for the 2018 season.

Now in his final U SPORTS season, Noah Picton has had a sensational career for the Rams. Already Canada West's record holder in career passing yards and completions, he'll almost certainly become the sixth quarterback to hit the 10,000-yard mark early in the year. And he could very well take over the nation's all-time lead in the category – Sherbrooke's Jérémi Roch has held the record with 11,477 yards since 2015, but Picton enters the year with 9,840 yards and is also just 147 completions from surpassing Roch for the all-time lead in that category as well.

Picton wasn't selected in the CFL Draft this spring, but was signed as a free agent by Toronto and participated in training camp with the Argonauts before being returned for his final season of U SPORTS eligibility. It was the second CFL camp for Picton, as he also took part in the Saskatchewan Roughriders' training camp in 2015 after being appointed by the league as part of its quarterback internship program.

Key defensive performer:

Danny Nesbitt

Linebacker

5th-year

Regina, Sask. 

Now in his final season with the Rams and in his third year as the team's starting middle linebacker, Danny Nesbitt is back for his fifth year of U SPORTS eligibility looking to cap off his career with his finest season yet. 

Nesbitt enjoyed a breakout season in 2016 as he led the Rams in tackles and earned Canada West all-star honours, then followed that performance up last year by finishing second on the team in tackling. In his four U SPORTS seasons, Nesbitt has piled up 113½ tackles, six tackles for loss including 2½ sacks, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.

Look for Nesbitt to again be one of the anchors of the team's 3-4 defence at the mac linebacker position.


2018 CW pre-season coaches poll rank: 6th

2017 CW regular season record: 2-6, 5th

2017 post-season record: missed playoffs

Head coach: Scott Flory (2nd season) / 2-6 (career CW reg. season record) 

Last Hardy Cup championship / total Hardy Cup championships: 2006 / 18

Last Vanier Cup championship / total Vanier Cup championships: 1998 / 3

2017 CW regular season ranks:

  • Points for: 30.6 PPG, 4th
  • Total offence: 448 YPG, 5th
  • Points against: 35.8 PPG, 5th
  • Total defence: 544.9 YPG, 6th 

2017 CW regular season leaders:

  • Passing yards: 2572 – Kyle Siemens, quartrerback
  • Rushing yards: 395 – Colton Klassen, running back
  • Receiving yards: 935 – Mitch Hillis, receiver
  • All-purpose yards: 1018 – Mitch Hillis, receiver
  • Tackles: 54.5 – Brooks Falloon, defensive back
  • Sacks: 4.5 – Evan Machibroda, defensive lineman
  • Interceptions: 4 – Payton Hall, defensive back 

Key additions (name / position / eligibility / hometown / last team):

  • Adam Machart / RB / 2 / Saskatoon, SK / Saskatoon Hilltops
  • Charlie Ringland / DB / 1 / Neelin, MB / Neelin Spartans
  • Riley Pickett / DL / 5 / Saskatoon, SK / Saskatoon Hilltops

Key losses (name / position / hometown / years with program):

  • Mitch Hillis / REC / Saskatoon, SK / 5
  • Brooks Falloon / DB / St. Lazare, MB / 2
  • Matthew Kozun / DL / Saskatoon, SK / 2
  • Chad Braun / REC / Saskatoon, SK / 2

Key offensive performer:

Kyle Siemens

Quarterback

5th-year

Saskatoon, SK

The leader of the Huskie offence, Kyle Siemens returns for his final season in the green and white of the Huskies. Now entering his third-year as the starting quarterback, Siemens had an outstanding 2017 season, leading Canada West in both passing yards (2572) and touchdown passes (19).

Siemens also finished second in the conference with 201 completions and set single-season Huskie records in both passing yards and pass completions. Another 2,000-yard season would move Siemens into second all-time in Huskies career passing yards. 

Key defensive performer:

Payton Hall

Defensive back

4th-year

Caronport, SK

Returning for his fourth year of eligibility, defensive back Payton Hall is the definition of a ball-hawk in the Huskie secondary. Last season the 5-11 Arts & Science major recorded four interceptions in the seven games that he played in. 

Hall also was fifth on the team with 30.5 tackles and picked up a sack on the year. With a wealth of returning experience on the defensive side of the ball, Hall will be one to watch on the Huskie defence.