Big game against Waterloo on tap for Homecoming weekend

The York University Lions football team will look to rebound from consecutive loses when they host the University of Waterloo Warriors on Saturday for the annual Homecoming game.

Kick-off is set for 5 p.m. at Alumni Field and the game can also be seen online at OUA.tv.

The Lions have dropped two games in a row after beating the University of Windsor Lancers in Week 3 by a score of 29-22. They have had a pair of tough road games the last two weeks, visiting the No. 1 ranked Western University Mustangs in Week 4 and traveling to Ottawa to play the No. 8 ranked University of Ottawa Gee-Gee’s last weekend. The Lions have played well against some of the top teams in the country this season, but head into Week 6 of the 2018 season with a 1-4 record and sit in ninth place in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) standings.

The Lions receiving corps has been one of the bright spots for the team all season long and have proven they are capable of game-breaking plays. Leading the way is veteran Colton Hunchak, who despite missing the Week 4 game against the Mustangs, leads the OUA in receptions with 40 on the season. He’s also racked up 394 receiving yards on the season and has caught four of the team’s six touchdown passes on the year. Not far behind Hunchak is Eric Kimmerly, who has caught 22 passes for 209 yards on the season, followed by Alex Daley, who comes into Week 6 with 19 catches, 202 receiving yards, and one touchdown reception. Sophomore Luther Hakunavanhu has also stepped into a bigger role in the team’s offense this year, setting career-highs with 17 receptions and 205 yards half-way through the season. Hakunavanhu also caught the first touchdown pass of his career against Queen’s in Week 2.

While the Lions have struggled with consistency on defence at times this season, they’ve shown they are capable of holding top-ranked teams offences in check. In Week 1 they held the Queen’s University Gaels to 17 points in the first-half and followed that up only allowing 10 points in the first half to the University of Guelph Gryphons. They also held the Lancers, who had one of the top-ranked offences in the OUA coming into the game, to 22 points in their Week 3 win. Veteran defensive back Jacob Janke leads the Lions in tackles with 29.5 on the season and is tied for sixth in the OUA. Not far behind is linebacker Damian Jamieson, who ranks second on the team and 11th in the OUA with 25 tackles. Defensive end Tevin McCarty is also coming off his most productive game of the season, as he picked up two sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery against the Gee-Gee’s last week.

The Lions will face a Warriors team that sits in fourth place in the OUA standings with a 3-2 record. They will be looking to bounce back from a blowout loss to Western last week, that saw them lose by a final score of 67-7. While the Mustangs held Waterloo’s offence in check, the Warriors will still come into the game with one of the top-ranked offences in the league. They rank fifth in points per game (30.6) and are led by quarterback Tre Ford, arguably the top pivot in the OUA this season. Ford has completed 75.3 per cent of his passes and leads the OUA in yards passing (1687) and touchdown passes (16). His main target has been Tyler Ternowski who has caught 35 passes for an OUA-leading 786 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.

Defensively the Warriors have been a work in progress, allowing the most yards in the OUA per game at 504.6. They’ve been especially susceptible to the pass, allowing 386 yards per game in the air. With two high-powered offences matching up, the Homecoming game could be a high-scoring affair.

With a win against the Warriors, the Lions could put themselves in a position to challenge for a playoff spot. They have bye in Week 7, so they should be well-rested for the final two games of the season against the Carleton University Ravens and cross-town rival University of Toronto Varsity Blues. The Warriors will also be off in Week 7 and will return to action in Week 8 against the McMaster University Marauders.

The Homecoming game will feature many on-site promotions. Come early, the first 100 fans receive a York Lions caps! Also wear red and cheer loud all game for chances to win a “Rock Your Red,” “Best Seats” or “Fan of the Game” contests with great prizing from SpringHill Suites by Marriott, Wilson and the York Lions. Also join us pre-game as we celebrate our graduating athletes in an on-field ceremony and at halftime when we officially announce the name of our new York Lions mascot! The Pride Shop will be onsite selling the latest in Lions apparel.

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