Football awards night celebrates athletic and academic accomplishments

The York University Lions football team handed out its major team awards on Thursday night at the program’s annual year-end awards gala.

Football coach Warren Craney (centre) with the award recipients

The top award, the Frank Cosentino Team MVP Trophy, was awarded to receiver Adam Adeboboye, who capped his five-year career at York as one of the best receivers in program history.

The Toronto native finished fifth in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) in total receptions (40) despite missing most of two games with an injury. He was also 12th in receiving yards (489) and scored a pair of touchdowns, both against the Toronto Varsity Blues in the Red & Blue Bowl as part of a 14-catch, 140-yard performance. He also played on special teams, recording two tackles.

Adeboboye is also the recipient of the York Lions Warrior Award, which is presented to a graduating player for his dedication and commitment to the football team and for embodying the characteristics of perseverance, honour, integrity and passion. Adeboboye arrived at York as an unheralded running back and finished his career among York’s top 10 in career receptions and receiving yards. He will graduate with a degree in kinesiology and health science.

The Gridiron Scholar Award for Academic Excellence was earned by defensive lineman Jeffrey Chen. He earned U SPORTS academic all-Canadian honours in his rookie season last year with a 7.82 grade point average while studying nursing.

Defensive end Rossini Sandjong-Djabome was the recipient of the Nobby Wirkowski Defensive MVP Trophy after earning OUA second-team all-star honours for the first time. He was third in the OUA in tackles for loss (12) for an OUA-leading 68 yards lost and he also tied for ninth with four sacks. He had two fumble recoveries, including one for a touchdown, and was second on the Lions in total tackles (37).

On the other side of the ball, the Leonard Jean-Pierre W21 Offensive MVP Award was given to receiver Colton Hunchak, who made a remarkable recovery from a supposed season-ending injury in the preseason to make major contributions down the stretch. Despite playing in only three games, he ranked second in the OUA with six touchdowns and his 109.7 yards per game was the third-best mark in the conference.

Also handed out on Tuesday night were the Andre Durie Special Teams MVP Trophy to receiver Nikola Kalinic and the Mike Benevides Lineman of the Year Award to offensive lineman Anthony DiNardo.

Kalinic was an OUA second-team all-star receiver this season for his tremendous versatility as a tight end, and he was also crucial to York’s special teams success as a blocker, including making five tackles. DiNardo, meanwhile, started all eight games on the offensive line at centre and was a leader for a young unit that had three rookies out of the five starters.

The Jeff Johnson Rookie of the Year Award was presented to defensive back Daniel Loggale, who earned OUA all-rookie team honours after taking over the starting job in Week 2. He led the Lions with two interceptions and was seventh on the team in total tackles (21.5).

The Tom Arnott Yeoman of the Year Award for Hard Work and Character went to fourth-year defensive back Ian Lawrence and the Academic Grit Award for Study Hall Excellence was presented to second-year defensive lineman Jamian Rush.