The 2009 football season is about to come to an end for the York University Lions. The team will suit up at York Stadium for the last time this season on Saturday, Oct. 17, for a 1pm game against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.
The squad will close out their season next weekend with a road game against the University of Waterloo Warriors on Oct. 24.
The Lions are still searching for their first win of the year and will be in tough against a strong Ottawa Gee-Gees squad that is currently tied for fourth in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) with a 4-2 record. The Gee-Gees, who are ranked No. 9 in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) league, have only lost to the No. 4-ranked Queen’s University Gaels and No. 5 University of Western Ontario Mustangs this year and enter this Saturday’s contest on a three-game winning streak. In the last two weeks, Ottawa defeated the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks in Waterloo to spoil the Golden Hawks’ homecoming celebrations and then knocked off the University of Guelph Gryphons, holding their high-octane offence to just 26 points while compiling 50 of their own.
The last time the Lions were at home they lost a heartbreaker to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues by a score of 45-27. A sluggish start to the game put the Lions down 24-0 after one quarter but they rebounded to outscore the Varsity Blues 27-21 in the final three quarters. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to complete the comeback. Since that game, York was also defeated 64-6 by the perennial powerhouse Western Mustangs, two-time defending Yates Cup champions.
On Saturday, York will be looking for its first win over Ottawa since back-to-back victories in 2002 and 2003. York also defeated the Gee-Gees in a playoff game in 2002 by a 12-4 score.
The highlight of the football season thus far has been linebacker Steven Reading, who is the nation’s leader in tackles with an average of 9.9 per game. Safety Jason Marshall is also having a big season and is fourth in the CIS in kick return yards with an average of 22.2 per game.
Sophomore quarterback Nick Coutu continues to improve each time he steps onto the field and is learning how to control an offence at the OUA level. His best game of the year came against the Varsity Blues when he threw for 161 yards and three touchdowns, all to receiver Johnny Peyton.
For some members of the team, Saturday’s game represents the last time they will don a York uniform and play for the Lions. These graduating players will be honoured at the game for their commitment to the program in their time at York.