The York University Lions football team handed out its major team awards on March 16 at the program’s annual year-end awards banquet.
The top award, the Frank Cosentino Team MVP Trophy, was awarded to linebacker Hussein Hazime who was a team leader and played a large role on defence this season.
The fifth-year sociology major from Toronto ranked second in the OUA in sacks (7) and sack yards lost (46) and ranked third in the league in total tackles (54) while starting all eight games for the Lions. This is the second Frank Cosentino award for Hussein, as he also picked up the team MVP award in his rookie season.
The Gridiron Scholar Award for Academic Excellence was earned by offensive lineman Sean Ford. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound rookie was also awarded the Football Sport Excellence Award by York Athletics and Recreation earlier in the year for his achievements as a student-athlete. Ford, a kinesiology and health science major from Etobicoke, Ont., also has international football experience as he took part in the 2014 International Bowl as part of Canada’s U19 National Team.
Running back Jesse Amankwaa (Etobicoke, Ont.) was a dual winner on the night as he picked up both the Leonard Jean-Pierre W21 Offensive MVP Award and the Jeff Johnson Rookie of the Year award.
Amankwaa appeared in all eight games at running back and led the team with 137 carries for 689 yards rushing and four touchdowns. He was named to the OUA all-rookie team and earned the Norm Marshall Trophy as OUA rookie of the year, the first Lion to be named rookie of the year since 1996. He was also named to Canada’s U19 National Team, and led the team in rushing versus Team USA at the 2016 International Bowl.
On the other side of the ball, Lions rookie Jakob Butler (Sherwood Park, Alta.) was named as the Nobby Wirkowski Defensive MVP. Despite missing two games due to injury, he led all OUA rookies in tackles and finished third overall in the OUA in tackles per game (6.9). He was also named to the 2015 OUA all-rookie team due to his outstanding rookie season with the Lions.
The Andre Durie Special Teams MVP Trophy was presented to third-year full-back Mitchell Fraser (Newmarket, Ont.). A versatile player and one of the most dedicated and hardest working players both on and off the field, Fraser played in many different scenarios for the Lions and possesses many of the intangible qualities, which do not show up in a box score. The business economics major picked up 55 all-purpose yards for the Lions on offense as well as seven tackles on special teams for the season.
Also handed out on Friday night were the Mike Benevides Lineman of the Year Award to offensive lineman Chris Kolankowski (Etobicoke, Ont.) and the Tom Arnott Yeoman of the Year Award for Hard Work and Character, which was awarded to defensive back Meeshak Hudak (Beaumont, Alta.).
Fourth-year law and society major Kolankowski played in all eight games for the Lions and was a leader on the offensive line this season. His tremendous season was also recognized by the CFL as he was invited to participate in the Toronto regional combine for players eligible for the CFL draft.
Recognized for his hard work and character both on and off the field, rookie Hudak was a great teammate and a big part of the Lions locker room. Injured for part of the season, Hudak played on Lions special teams and showed up to every practice or gym session with a great attitude and was one of the hardest workers all season.
The team also handed the York Lions Warrior Award to two fifth-year seniors, Jordyn Moore (Whitby, Ont.) and Scott Noivo (Montreal), for their dedication and commitment to the football team and for embodying the characteristics of perseverance, honour, integrity and passion.
Moore was one of the top offensive lineman and one of the leaders on the Lions throughout his five years with the team. He also participated in the 2014 East West Bowl, and was a recipient of the Mike Benevides Lineman of the Year Award in 2013, and Jeff Johnson Rookie of the Year Award in 2011. Defensive back Noivo played in 29 games over his five years with the Lions, setting a career-high in tackles with 23 in 2014. Both players were positive influences on their teammates over the course of their careers and always showed up for games and practice sessions with a great attitude and were ready to put in work.