OTTAWA (CIS) – Canadian Interuniversity Sport announced Tuesday the 88 football players who will participate in the seventh annual East West Bowl, presented by Under Armour, on Saturday, May 9, 2009 at TD Waterhouse Stadium on the campus of The University of Western Ontario in London, Ont. Four Golden Hawks including Josh Bishop (Mississauga, Ont.), Chima Ihekwoaba (Burlington, Ont.), Giancarlo Rapanaro (Niagara Falls, Ont.) and Taurean Allen (Etobicoke, Ont.) will compete in the contest - all representing the west team.
Official website (including ticket information): www.eastwestbowl.ca
Western is hosting the event for the first time, taking over from McMaster (2008), Laval (2007, 2006) and Wilfrid Laurier (2005, 2004, 2003). Kickoff for the 2009 game is set for 1 p.m.
Last spring in Hamilton, the East team put an end to a five-year losing streak with a 25-12 victory at Ronald V. Joyce Stadium.
Glen Constantin, head coach of 2008 Vanier Cup champion Laval, will lead the East squad in London. At the helm of the Rouge et Or football program since 2001 after five seasons as the team’s defensive coordinator, Constantin is tied with former Calgary sideline boss Peter Connellan for most Vanier Cup wins as a head coach, with four.
Greg Marshall, who led his Western Ontario Mustangs to the national final last fall in his second campaign at the helm, will be in charge of the West team. Before returning to his alma mater as offensive coordinator in 2006, the former Hec Crighton trophy winner and Grey Cup champion spent seven seasons as head coach of the McMaster Marauders and two more leading the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger Cats, claiming CFL coach-of-the-year honours in 2004.
“The players really love this event. It has become something they look forward to. They want to play in the game, it’s now part of their progression as football players,” Constantin said. “The East West Bowl has also become a very good indicator of the players who will be invited to the CFL Combine and who will be drafted the following year. It’s a great week, players can socialize and share their passion for the game of football with players from other universities.”
“The West roster has outstanding depth and balance and reflects well on the quality of football in CIS,” said Marshall. “I am very impressed with the quality and depth at running back. Nick FitzGibbon, Matt Henry and Anthony Woodson are three of the best backs in CIS football.”
The East West Bowl showcases – for the most part - CIS players who will be eligible for the 2010 Canadian Football League draft.
The East side is comprised of student-athletes representing schools from the Atlantic and Quebec conferences in addition to institutions from the Greater Toronto Area and Eastern Ontario. The West squad is made up of players from universities from the GTA, Western Ontario and the Canada West conference.
Leading up the East West Bowl selections are six 2008 all-Canadians including quarterback Benoit Groulx of Montreal and defensive back Maxime Bérubé of Valleyfield, Que., both of the CIS champion Laval Rouge et Or; linebacker Joash Gesse of Montreal and cornerback Hamid Mahmoudi of Iran, both of the Montreal Carabins; Saint Mary’s defensive lineman Dan Schutte of Red Deer, Alta.; and Guelph kicker Rob Maver of Brampton, Ont.
The first five will represent the East, while Maver will suit up for the West.
Groulx, who will play in his second East West Bowl, became the first Laval player to capture the Hec Crighton trophy as CIS player of the year last fall after he set a CIS single-season record completing 75.2 per cent of his passes and led the Rouge et Or to the first undefeated campaign in team history. The fourth-year senior will share quarterback duties for the East with Bishop’s Jesse Andrews of Pickering, Ont.
Mahmoudi led the nation with six interceptions in 2008 in his third season with the Carabins.
Leading the offence for the West will be Western pivot MICHAEL FAULDS of Eden Mills, Ont., and Saskatchewan’s Laurence Nixon of Richmond, B.C. Faulds, who returns for a third East West Bowl appearance, led the nation in passing in his fourth university season in 2008 with 2,596 yards and is the reigning two-time OUA Yates Cup MVP.
Groulx and Faulds combined for 786 passing yards and five touchdowns on November 22 at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton in one of the most explosive Vanier Cup finals in recent years.
Among the many other players to keep an eye on on offence are McGill wide receiver Charles-Antoine Sinotte of Trois-Rivières, Que., for the East, and Guelph running back Nick FitzGibbon of Puslinch, Ont., for the West.
Sinotte set a CIS single-season record with 72 receptions in 2007 and added 50 catches in only six games last fall. With 150 receptions in his first three campaigns with the Redmen, he is well on pace to shatter the CIS career mark of 194 set by former teammate Erik Galas over five seasons (2004-2008) and the four-year record of 189 established by former Western Hec Crighton trophy winner and 2007 Grey Cup champion Andy Fantuz (2002-2005).
FitzGibbon has scored 20 touchdowns for the Gryphons over the past two seasons and is a threat both on the ground and through the air. The OUA’s second leading rusher in 2008 with 853 yards, has averaged 824 yards rushing and 339 yards receiving the past two campaigns.
In addition to Faulds, host Western will be represented by wide receiver Jesse Bellamy of Guelph, Ont., linebacker John Surla of Niagara Falls, Ont., and defensive back Craig Butler of London.
Rounding out the representation for Vanier Cup champion Laval are fullback Samuel Fournier of Lacolle, Que., as well as offensive lineman Michel Boudreault and cornerback Olivier Turcotte-Létourneau, both of Quebec City.
East West Bowl week gets under way Tuesday, May 5 with practices and training sessions. The East West Bowl banquet is set for Friday, May 8.
Previous East West Bowl results:
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
2003 (at Laurier): West 10, East 5
Quarterback Mike Faulds Western Eden Mills, Ont.
Quarterback Laurence Nixon Saskatchewan Richmond, B.C.
Running back Anthony Woodson Calgary Calgary, Alta.
Running back Nick FitzGibbon Guelph Puslinch, Ont.
Running back Matt Henry Manitoba Mississauga, Ont.
Fullback / Slotback Dale Stevenson Alberta Raymond, Alta.
Slotback Josh Bishop Laurier Mississauga, Ont.
Slotback Kevin D’Hollander McMaster London, Ont.
Wide receiver Zach Kohn Alberta Edmonton, Alta.
Wide receiver Spencer Watt Simon Fraser North Vancouver, B.C.
Wide receiver Jordan Sisco Regina Regina, Sask.
Wide receiver Jesse Bellamy Western Guelph, Ont.
Offensive line Nick Hutchins Regina Regina, Sask.
Offensive line Dale Furber Simon Fraser Vancouver, B.C.
Offensive line Landon Rice Manitoba Brandon, Man.
Offensive line Joel Reinders Waterloo Oakville, Ont.
Offensive line Justin Glover McMaster Hamilton, Ont.
Offensive line Patrick Neufeld Saskatchewan Regina, Sask.
Offensive line Steve Platz Windsor Hamilton, Ont.
Offensive line Mike Warner Waterloo Hamilton, Ont.
Defensive tackle John Reeves Simon Fraser New Westminster, B.C.
Defensive tackle Josh Symons Calgary Calgary, Alta.
Defensive tackle Eddie Steele Manitoba Winnipeg, Man.
Defensive end Chima Ihekwoaba Laurier Burlington, Ont.
Defensive end Vaughn Rice Saskatchewan Regina, Sask.
Defensive end Mike Wysocki McMaster Mississauga, Ont.
Linebacker Giancarlo Rapanaro Laurier Niagara Falls, Ont.
Linebacker Chris Arquette Windsor Windsor, Ont.
Linebacker Julian Simmerling Calgary West Vancouver, B.C.
Linebacker John Surla Western Niagara Falls, Ont.
Linebacker Bruce Anderson Regina Port Moody, B.C.
Linebacker Jean-Marc Jones Alberta St. Albert, Alta.
Linebacker Adam Dunk Guelph Guelph, Ont.
Defensive back Pat McGarry Waterloo Waterdown, Ont.
Defensive back Doug Goldsby UBC White Rock, B.C.
Defensive back Theo Feroiu York Toronto, Ont.
Defensive back Craig Butler Western London, Ont.
Defensive back Byron Metcalfe McMaster Pickering, Ont.
Defensive back Matt Bucknor Windsor Hamilton, Ont.
Defensive back Derek Batchelor Toronto Mississauga, Ont.
Cornerback Taurean Allen Laurier Etobicoke, Ont.
Cornerback John Boonstra Waterloo Waterdown, Ont.
Kicker Rob Maver Guelph Brampton, Ont.