BURLINGTON, Ont. – After a thrilling final weekend of the regular season, the playoffs are set as the top six teams in Ontario will compete for the oldest football trophy still awarded in North America -- the Yates Cup.
After a 7-1 regular season, the No. 3 nationally ranked Western Mustangs will enter the postseason as the top seed and have home field advantage throughout the postseason for the second straight year.
The Mustangs also receive a first round bye and will host a semifinal game at TD Stadium on Saturday, November 5 with their opponent to be determined.
The Laurier Golden Hawks turned some heads this season on their way to a 7-1 record and will enter the Yates Cup playoffs as the No. 2 seed. With their only loss of the season coming at the hands of the Mustangs, Laurier will be out for revenge as the road to their first Yates Cup since 2005 will likely run through London, Ont.
Similar to the Mustangs, the Golden Hawks will also receive a first round bye and host a semifinal game at University Stadium on Saturday, November 5, live on CHCH.
With losses to the Mustangs and the uOttawa Gee-Gees, the McMaster Marauders finished the regular season with a 6-2 record and will enter the Yates Cup playoffs as the third seed for the second consecutive season. However, the Marauders hope that this season doesn't end in the same fashion as last as McMaster was upset at home by the Golden Hawks 29-15.
The Marauders will host a quarterfinal playoff game at Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton, Ont. against the No. 6 seed Guelph Gryphons on Saturday, October 29 at 4:00 p.m.
Guelph will continue their Yates Cup title defence after a big victory in the final week of the regular season helped to propel them into the postseason. It was a difficult season for the Gryphons but with the calendar about to turn to November, as Guelph's upset of the previously unbeaten Mustangs proved a year ago, anything can happen in the playoffs.
In McMaster's 27-15 Homecoming victory over the rival Gryphons earlier this season, Chris Pezzetta (Burlington, Ont.) had a game high 143 yards rushing on 20 attempts, while quarterback Asher Hastings (Regina, Sask.) threw for 199 yards and a touchdown. For the Gryphons, James Roberts (Cambridge, Ont.) went 20-34 for 258 yards and a touchdown. This is will be the first time the Gryphons and Marauders have met in the postseason since the 107th Yates Cup which McMaster won 20-15.
It will be Panda-monium once again in the nation's capital as the No. 4 seed Carleton Ravens will host their crosstown rivals, the No. 5 seed uOttawa Gee-Gees. The Ravens will host a playoff game at MNP Park for the first time since the program's rebirth in 2013. It has been a meteoric rise for the Ravens as in just five seasons they went from 0-8 to 6-2 and a fourth place finish.
Saturday's showdown will be the second between the two teams in less than a month after they met at TD Place in Ottawa back on October 1 in the annual Panda Game. Led by running back Jayde Rowe (Scarborough), who in his first year with the team led OUA in rushing yards, the Ravens soared past the Gee-Gees 43-23. In his fifth and final season with the Gee-Gees, quarterback Derek Wendel (Belleville, Ont.) would like nothing more than to get some revenge against the rival Ravens and help uOttawatake another step closer to their first Yates Cup since 2006. It was a Hec Crighton calibre season for the Belleville, Ont. native as he lead OUA averaging 367 yards per game to go along with 22 touchdowns.
Following the quarterfinals next Saturday, Western and Laurier will host the winners in semifinal showdowns on Saturday, November 5th. The quest for the 109th Yates Cup will conclude, live on CHCH, on Saturday, November 12th.
Fans can continue to catch all the action live this postseason on OUA.tv.