The York University Lions football team will be looking to bounce back from two losses to start the 2018 season when they host the Windsor Lancers on Friday, Sept. 7 for the annual Frosh Fest game.
Kick-off is set for 6 p.m. at Alumni Field and the game can also be seen online at OUA.tv.
The Lions have shown flashes of brilliance in their first two games, but have yet to put together a complete 60 minutes. They began their season with a home loss to the Queen’s Gaels in which they led for the majority of the first half before allowing a late touchdown that put them behind for the rest of the game. This past weekend, they battled hard against the nationally ranked Guelph Gryphons and led by one point at the half, but a strong second half by Guelph left the Lions with an 0-2 record heading into week three.
The Lions’ passing game has been one of the bright spots for the team so far this season, as quarterback Brett Hunchak has used all the weapons at his disposal. Through two games, Hunchak is ranked fourth in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) in passing yards per game (341.5) to go along with three touchdown passes. He’s spread out the offence between receivers Colton Hunchak (20 receptions, 152 yards, two touchdowns), Eric Kimmerly (nine receptions, 107 yards), Alex Daley (nine receptions, 97 yards), Luther Hakunavanhu (six receptions, 98 yards, one touchdown) and running back Kayden Johnson (six receptions, 101 yards) to give the Lions a versatile and potent passing attack.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions have shown improvements from last year and, despite some lapses, have held their own against two of the top teams in the OUA. Defensive back Jacob Janke leads the Lions with 12.5 tackles, followed by fellow defensive back Desi Dixon with 11. The Lions rank an impressive fourth in the OUA in passing yards allowed per game (241.5), but have struggled stopping the run, allowing 189 yards per game on the ground (ninth in OUA).
The Lions will face a Lancers team that is also looking to rebound from an 0-2 start. The Lancers opened their season on the road with a 53-37 loss to the Waterloo Warriors and fell in week two at home to the Carleton Ravens by a score of 38-20. Like the Lions, Windsor has yet to put together a complete 60 minutes of football, but played well in their week two matchup against Carleton and led 13-12 at halftime.
Windsor has been led by third-year quarterback Sam Girard, who has thrown for an OUA-leading 762 yards through two games to go along with seven touchdown passes. Girard, who started two games last season and threw for six touchdowns and zero interceptions, has shown he’s one of the top quarterbacks in the OUA so far in the young 2018 season. Receivers Kaeden Walls, Alex Bornais and Tristan Carter have proven to be dangerous deep threats that the Lions’ secondary will need to neutralize if they want to slow down the Lancers passing game.
The Lancers have struggled defensively, giving up the most points (91) in the OUA, and rank eighth in yards allowed per game (469) through the first two weeks of the season.
The Lions and Lancers have developed an even rivalry in the past two seasons, with the Lions winning by a score of 56-32 in 2016 and the Lancers returning the favour last season with a 43-27 victory in the last game of the 2017 season.
The week three matchup will also have some history on the line, as Lions wide receiver Colton Hunchak needs two receptions to break the Lions’ all-time record of 125 held by both Will Austin (2009-13) and Adam Adeboboye (2013-17). Quarterback Brett Hunchak broke two records of his own last week, becoming York’s career leader in completions and passing yards.
Following the week three matchup against the Lancers, the Lions will next play on Saturday, Sept. 15 when they travel to London, Ont., to take on the No. 1-ranked team in the country, the Western Mustangs. The Lancers, meanwhile, will return home to face the Guelph Gryphons in week four.
Friday night’s Frosh Fest game features free admission for all York students, Rock Your Red prize giveaways, the Best Seats in the House and Fan of the Game contests, as well as the opportunity to purchase the popular new York merchandise with the new Lions logo. The first 100 fans will also receive a free York Lions string bag.