Homecoming 2011 this Saturday at York Stadium

The York University Lions football team will play its annual Homecoming game on Saturday, Sept. 24 against the visiting Queen’s University Gaels.

Kick-off is set for 1pm at York Stadium and tickets can be purchased at the gate, with gates and concessions opening at 11:30am. Live streaming of the game is available.

Both teams own 1-2 records after three weeks of play and are tied with two other teams with four points, just two points behind four teams tied with six.

The Lions come into Saturday’s game flying high after last weekend’s thrilling 20-18 overtime victory over the University of Waterloo Warriors on the road. The win marked the team’s first since 2007 and gave head coach Warren Craney his first with the program.

After falling behind 17-0 at the half, the Lions came out flying in the second and were off to a quick start with an early touchdown from Dimitar Sevdin to William Austin, which cut the lead to 17-7. Heneri Dervishi added a field goal late in the quarter, and the Lions finally tied the game with 2:44 left on the clock when Sevdin completed a four-yard pass to rookie Skyler Hurst on third down.

Dervishi had a chance to win the game with a field goal but it went wide, setting up the extra frame. After a Warriors rouge, the Lions drove the ball down to the Waterloo 11-yard line and Dervishi hit the 18-yard field goal for the win.

The Lions are much improved overall this season and have a core group of rookies to thank for the upward trend, particularly on defence. They held the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks to 15 points through three quarters in their first contest and gave up just 10 points to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues two weeks ago. The offence is also starting to click, and the 20 points they scored against Waterloo was also a season-high.

York Football team
Above: The Lions will bring a strong defence to Saturday’s Homecoming game against the Queen’s Gaels

Queen’s also brings plenty of momentum into the game after also recording their first win of the season last weekend against Laurier. The Gaels offence finally came to life as the team exploded for 58 points on offence and came away with a 58-35 victory.

Billy McPhee set career highs with 362 yards passing and four touchdowns. He also rushed for a score of his own on a six-yard bootleg play in the first quarter.

Giovanni Aprile was the star of the afternoon on offence with 177 yards receiving and three touchdown reception in addition to 191 kick return yards and a 91-yard return touchdown on special teams.

Both teams also have defences capable of making big plays as the squads each forced four interceptions in their respective wins last week. The Lions also had a forced fumble and six sacks of the Warriors.

Tickets for York students are free. Other ticket prices include $8 for adults and $5 for non-York students and seniors, while children 12 and under are free.

After their Homecoming game, the Lions will be on the road for three straight weeks, beginning with a trip to London next weekend to face the No. 2 nationally ranked University of Western Ontario Mustangs. They will return home on Saturday, Oct. 22 for the season finale against the University of Windsor Lancers.