Lions fall short in football season opener

York Lions running back Jason Marshall returned a missed field goal 125 yards for a touchdown with 40 seconds left in the game, but it wasn’t enough for the York University football team as the Lions lost 17-14 in the season opener to the University of Windsor Lancers on Monday, Sept. 7.  

Marshall’s run put him into the record books with the fifth-longest return in Ontario University Athletics history, tying the run that University of Guelph’s Jedd Gardner recorded last season against the University of Waterloo.

Right: York Lions Jason Marshall (left) faces a player from the University of Windsor

The Lions held the Lancers to just 222 yards of total offence and three players – Andre Clarke, Steven Reading and Rob Thomas – recorded a game-high seven solo tackles each. Reading also snagged an interception and returned it 24 yards and Theo Feroiu also had a pick.

Both teams appeared nervous in the opening quarter, but they eventually settled down and produced some outstanding football on the field. The Lions no doubt benefited from the boisterous home crowd as more than 3,000 fans packed York Stadium on a sunny holiday afternoon and were treated to a great football game.

Windsor got off to a quick start when Joe Colella hit a 37-yard field goal just under five minutes into the game. The Lancers added to their lead five minutes later when quarterback Sam Malian completed a 26-yard pass to Mike Harrington for a touchdown that made the score 10-0.

Seven minutes into the third, York’s kicker, rookie Adam Moretti, punted the ball to the one-yard line, where it was fumbled by the Lancers and skipped into the end zone. Anthony Tombler recovered the ball for the touchdown to close the gap to 10-7.

The score would stay like that until early in the fourth. Lions quarterback Patrick Hooey threw a pass that was picked off by Lancers linebacker John Celestino, who ran it back 70 yards for the touchdown to push the score to 17-7. Marshall’s touchdown as the clock ran down made it close once again, but Windsor ran the clock out to win the game.

Hooey finished with 89 yards passing while Nick Coutu, who started the game, struggled to find his groove and had only 20 yards and two interceptions. Malian went 13 for 18 for 134 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

The leading rusher in the game was Windsor’s Kamar Angelin, who had 65 yards on 10 carries. York was led by Ryan Rowe with 37 yards.

The Lions will hit the road this weekend to face the University of Guelph Gryphons tomorrow at 1pm. York will be hoping to make up for a 48-2 loss last season with their first victory of the year.