By the Numbers: Career-highs, career firsts, and point-scoring starts

Photo by Toronto Varsity Blues
Photo by Toronto Varsity Blues

471 – In what was the closest final score from Week 1, the Toronto Varsity Blues battled to a furious comeback against the Warriors, before ultimately falling by just a field goal. Leading the Blues’ second half push was QB Clay Sequeira, who had a career day under centre. The fourth-year QB threw for 471 yards (to lead all OUA quarterbacks), completing 29-of-50 passes, while also racking up another 71 yards on the ground. For good measure, the veteran pivot also tacked on four passing majors to his 542 all-purpose yards.

100 – Everyone wants to put their best foot forward in the first game of the year, but no one could have envisioned those opening steps coming in the form of an opening kickoff return to the house. It was a dream start for the Guelph Gryphons on Sunday, thanks to rookie returner Clark Barnes, who hauled in the first play of the 2019 season and proceeded to weave his way through the Marauder defence all the way to the end zone for the 100-yard return TD.

86 – In a game that was dominated by the Lancers’ ground attack, Jacob Savoni’s monster day stood out above the rest, as the second-year running back tormented the Lions all game long. Among the multiple impressive runs churned out by Savoni was an 86-yard touchdown to open the fourth quarter and all but put the game out of reach, giving his side the 24-point cushion at the time. Savoni finished the day with 179 yards on 14 carries and three majors.

40 – The Queen’s Gaels and Carleton Ravens were never separated by more than six points in their Week 1 clash, and in the defensive battle, every point counted. With the Ravens up by just three points in the final frame, rookie kicker Vincent Plouffe was called upon to double that cushion for the black birds in a pressure situation on the road. The first-year player lined up a 40-yard attempt with just under two minutes left to play; a kick he ultimately made with ease for his first trifecta as a Raven.

21 – The storied rivalry between the Golden Hawks and Mustangs was renewed on Sunday, with the two teams colliding in the OUA Marquee Matchup to open the season. A few big plays from Western proved to be the difference, including a 62-yard touchdown pass to Justin Nickson and a blocked punt that Brett Ellerman pounced on in the end zone for the special teams score. With the 32-19 victory, the Mustangs pick up their 25th win in 26 games overall, as well as their 21st consecutive over their OUA competition.

7 – For the second straight season, and ninth time overall, the McMaster Marauders matched up with Guelph Gryphons in the season opener. The Marauders continued their success against the Gryphs in these early-season bouts, pushing their record to 7-1-1- all-time. Not only that, but the Hamilton squad, led by the return of Stef Ptaszek to the sidelines, has now won five straight overall against their Hwy-6 combatants, with their last loss coming in 2015.

5 – The Wilfrid Laurier defence wasn’t messing around against the defending Yates Cup champions on Sunday, making their presence felt against the Mustangs’ potent offensive attack. Among the highlights of the strong defensive showing was the Hawks’ ability to get to reigning Yates Cup MVP Chris Merchant, who Laurier managed to sack five times on the day. Alfred Green led the way in that department, racking up 2.5 sacks for the purple and gold.

1 – The opening week of the season not only brings the first on-field action of the year, but plenty of individual firsts as well. These milestone efforts spanned the statistical landscape on Sunday, coming on both sides of the ball in Week 1. Among the many firsts that hit the scoresheet was the first touchdown pass and reception from the Gaels’ James Keenan and Sakhia Kwemo, respectively, who connected on a five-yard major for Queen’s; the first interception from Mac’s Josh Cumber; the first sack from Waterloo’s Jethro Oleko; and the first successful splitting of the uprights from Guelph kicker Eric Stranz on a 42-yard connection for the Gryphons.