On Saturday, May 12, the best football players from universities across Canada showcased their talent at TD Waterhouse Stadium as Western hosted the 10th annual Canadian Interuniversity Sports East West bowl game.
This is the fourth time the game has been hosted by Western, with the East prevailing over the West for the third consecutive year, winning 24-16.
The Mustangs were honoured to have six of their own chosen to don the red uniforms of team West. The Mustangs chosen were defensive end Brent Wheeler, linebacker Pawel Kruba, defensive backs, Mike Spence and Jamie Symianick, offensive lineman, Eric Armitage, and kicker, Lirim Hajrullahu.
The Mustangs were able to make a strong impression on the big stage.
“They are all great kids. Symianick and Spence in the secondary were all over the field, Kruba is tough as nails inside, and Brent [Wheeler] is a pit bull,” Stefan Ptaszek, head coach of the McMaster Marauders and West team, said.
Ptaszek also commented on the great learning experience the game offered for all the coaches.
“It’s a collection of the brightest and most talented coaches from around the country and it was a blast. I’ve got to take all that stuff back to McMaster and make us a better football program.”
Western’s Hajrullahu was the sole offensive producer for the West squad, boasting a perfect four-for-four mark on field goal attempts, for a total of 12 points.
The Mustangs participants, like all other players, used this as an opportunity to display their talents to the scouts who were present during the game.
“I don’t think it’s really a game for the fans. It’s a game for us players to showcase our talents to the scouts,” Tristan Grenon, starting quarterback for both the Laval Rouge et Or and the prevailing East team, said. “The scouts were here with us all week and they got to know us and I think that’s a great idea.”
Grenon went on to commend Western for organizing the event.
“The staff at Western are awesome and though we didn’t really get a chance, we would like to thank […] Western for organizing this.”
Western Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall was also chosen to be a part of the coaching staff for team West and he was quick to comment on the way his city and program ran the event.
“London is a good central location, first of all, to get all the players in and out,” Marshall said. “The residences are close to the field, the facilities we have here and the meeting rooms — everything is very central.”
Many people praised Coach Marshall and the Mustangs for hosting the event successfully.
“It will be hard to take this game from London,” Ptaszek said.
Just as this event helped football players from across the country to showcase their talents to the scouts, it once again gave both Western and the City of London an opportunity to shine on the national stage.