The York University Lions football team will face their first test of the 2018 season when they visit the Concordia University Stingers for an exhibition game on Friday, Aug. 17.
The exhibition game marks the third year in a row the Lions have played against a Quebec-based team in the pre-season, as the Lions faced the Sherbrooke Vert et Or in both 2016 and 2017. The matchup serves as a return home for Montreal native and Lions head coach Warren Craney, who spent seven years as defensive coordinator and three years as the defensive line coach at Concordia before coming to York.
“We’re excited to be going on the road this pre-season and testing ourselves against Concordia,” said Craney. “This trip is a great opportunity for our players to experience a new culture in a different city and will allow us to do some team building before the regular starts. Personally, it’s also exciting to be going back to my old stomping grounds and coaching against Brad (Collison) who I’ve known for over 20 years. Getting our players some live action is an important part of our preparation for the season and we’re looking forward to our first in-game action this year against Concordia.”
In 2017, the Stingers finished in third place in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) regular season with a 3-4 record before falling to the University of Montreal 42-20 in the conference semifinal. The Stingers have been a consistent team in recent years and have made the RSEQ playoffs four years in a row.
The Lions will be looking to make a jump in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) standings in 2018, after finishing tied for ninth place in 2017. The highlight of the 2017 campaign came against cross-town rival University of Toronto Varsity Blues, when the Lions picked up a huge win at the 48th annual Red and Blue Bowl by a score of 41-16. York will be returning some award winners to their roster this season, as tight end Nikola Kalinic and defensive end Rossini Sandiong-Djabome earned OUA second-team all-star honours for the first time in 2017, while James Duffey Jr. and Daniel Loggale earned spots on the OUA all-rookie team.
The Lions will open the 2018 regular season at home when they take on the Queen’s Gaels on Sunday, Aug. 26 at Alumni Field.