It was a gorgeous late Saturday summer’s eve in the mild little college town of Waterloo, Ontario. A slight breeze kept the temperature in the high teens, and the setting sun cast a beautiful glow on the abundant vegetation that acts as the streets aesthetic fodder. You’d never know that two of Canada’s best senior football teams were about to ram heads in a battle for the Canadian Major Football League’s highest honour: the National Championship. This battle of the blitzes would finalize at the University of Waterloo’s Warrior field.
The CMFL is the pinnacle of amateur football. Dubbed by some as a “semi-professional” league, it’s a place where up-and-coming adult players can bolster a highlight promotional video for themselves, or where everyone from former NFL, CFL, CIS, Juniors, and high school players can continue enjoying the sport until their bodies will no longer allow for it. This year, the west’s representing conference team was the Alberta Football League’s Calgary Wolfpack, who have 14 AFL championships and 4 national titles and lead by all-star quarterback Darryl Leason. In the east, it was the Northern Football Conference’s Tri-Cities Outlaws.
Calgary drew first blood, punting through the end zone, giving the ‘pack a single point. Heavy pressure kept Leason to just two touchdown passes caught by his brother Mike, who was admittedly playing at a reduced capacity. Unfortunately for the Wolfpack, those were the only two touchdowns they would see all night. The Wolfpack held the lead until late in the third quarter when the Tri Cities Outlaws managed to bring their deficit from 14-10 to 31-14.
(Image Credit: Brian T. Desormoreau)
When asked about the outcome of the game, offensive lineman Ryan Bellerose weighed in “I think we didn’t run the ball enough. We deviated a bit from what has worked for us this season and we paid for it. Having a few key players missing didn’t help much either”
While the defensive statistics of the game are still being worked out on part of the Wolfpack, Linebacker and Defensive End Gunnar Godhe churned out four tackles, two for loss. Reilly Penner delivered on seven tackles; Linebacker Jordan Gruman handed the Outlaws six tackles, and the Defensive line/linebacker corps, comprised of Sheldon Southgate, Joshua Comeau, Joshua Penner, Nick DiBortoli, and Evan Kaluta, collected more than 11 tackles.
Linebacker Gunnar Godhe won the prestigious honour of Defense MVP for his efforts, winning a leather file-folder and some iPod speakers.
Rookie defensive tackle Joshua Penner managed to contain his frustration saying “Yeah, it’s great to end up in such a massive game in your rookie year, but that novelty wore off long before we stepped on the field” adding “this is a big show for everyone playing. They take it seriously here in Ontario, just as we do in Alberta. If you’re still playing and you didn’t catch a CFL or NFL draft, or end up in a fancy US college, you’re probably playing in a league like this”
Thus, with the aid of numerous personal fouls, an unforced first-and-goal fumble, and some missed defensive work on the part of the Wolfpack, the Outlaws managed to pull off a 31-14 win.