York football team hands out the hardware to players

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Head coach Warren Craney (centre) and Lions award winners are all smiles at football team's annual celebration
Head coach Warren Craney (centre) and Lions award winners are all smiles at football team’s annual celebration

The York University Lions football team handed out its major team awards during an evening banquet on Tuesday, April 10. The annual celebration was held at Fontana Gardens in Toronto.

The top award of the night, the Frank Cosentino Team MVP Trophy, went to linebacker Hussein Hazime, who had a tremendous first season with the squad. The rookie joined the team just before training camp began last summer and went on to make an immediate impact, recording 50 tackles in eight games, the second best total in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) league, and sixth best in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) league.

Hazime was one of six rookies honoured on the night. Fellow defensive standout Marcus Grandison, a first-year defensive back, received the Nobby Wirkowski Defensive MVP Trophy, while another defensive back, Jordan Nugent, shared the Jeff Johnson Rookie of the Year Award with offensive lineman Jordyn Moore.

Johnson, a former York player and current member of the Toronto Argonauts, was on-hand at the event to present his award and speak to the current Lions about his time at York and now as a professional athlete.

Grandison, as the top defensive recruit coming out of high school, did not disappoint, finishing the year with 48.5 tackles this season, including 2.5 for loss, and added one sack, one fumble recovery, one forced fumble and one interception.

Nugent was a force for the team on the corner, picking up an OUA-best four interceptions on the season while also serving as a kick and punt returner. Moore was part of a young offensive line that quickly became a strength for the team.

Two other rookie offensive linemen also earned awards. Max Sullivan took home the Mike Benevides Lineman of the Year Award and Alex Midea received the Tom Arnott Yeoman of the Year Award for Hard Work and Character.

Also handed out on Tuesday night was the W21 Offensive MVP Award, to receiver William Austin, the Andre Durie Special Teams MVP Award to Tyler de Moel and the Gridiron Scholar Award for Academic Excellence to Alex Bugdahn.

Austin, a fourth-year receiver, led the team with 403 yards on seven catches while accounting for three touchdowns. Last week, he was named to the West team for the 2012 East West Bowl.

De Moel excelled as a defender on special teams in his last year with the team and Bugdahn was the player with the highest grade point average from the previous season.

The night concluded with a pair of memorable speeches by the team’s two fifth-year players, de Moel and defensive lineman Steven Reading.