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Volume 91, Issue 43

Thursday, November 13, 1997

$48 refund


Dunbrack hopes to sack Metras

©James Pugsley/Gazette
HELP, I'M HAVING A DUNBRACK ATTACK. Roger Dunbrack [no.55] gives McMaster quarterback Ben Chapdelaine a present during a regular season meeting with the Mauraders.

By Alex Chiang
Gazette Staff

The Mustang football team may no longer be in contention for the Vanier Cup, but one player still has a shot at winning a piece of distinguished hardware. All-Canadian defensive end Roger Dunbrack was nominated this week as the Ontario University Athletics' hopeful for the J.P. Metras Trophy, awarded to the country's lineman of the year.

A six-foot-four, 200-pound native of Dundas, Ontario, Dunbrack led Western in sacks with eight and amassed 30 tackles to lead the defensive line.

"Individual awards always reflect how well the team played," Dunbrack said. "This year the whole defensive line played really well."

The award was initiated in 1974 and was named in honour of John Metras, coach of Western's football team for 30 years (1940-69), during which time the Mustangs won seven league championships.

Also nominated for the award are Jeff Anderson of Concordia, Bob Beveridge of the University of British Columbia and Mike Kushnir of St. Francis Xavier.

"His nomination speaks for itself," Western head coach Larry Haylor said. "The coaches in this conference believed he was the best and there's a lot of good linemen in the conference."

Since his freshman year in 1994, Dunbrack has held a starter's position, but the 1997 campaign was a breakthrough year and his statistics only begin to tell how big his presence was on the defensive side of the ball for the Mustangs.

After four years at Western, Dunbrack is now looking to beyond the amateur ranks and according to Haylor, he has all the necessary tools to play at the next level.

"He's our best professional prospect," Haylor said. "His speed, quickness and strength give him all the qualities to be a great professional player."

This certainly is high praise considering Western's roster also boasts linebacker Derek Krete, who attended NFL try-out camps for the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins after winning last year's top defensive player award in the CIAU. "He's not just deserving of a nomination, he deserves to win," Krete said. "Of what I know of Canadian football, Roger was a step above the rest."

This season, however, Dunbrack's defensive role has been differed from Krete's, because he has managed to stay relatively healthy – something Haylor attributes to both his dedication and bit of good fortune.

"He has a work ethic comparable to [Mustang-turned-Buffalo Bills' running back] Tim Tindale," Haylor said. "He's hard-working in practice and out of season."

Should Dunbrack claim the trophy, he would be only the second Western player to do so (centre Pierre Verchecal won in 1987). The winner will be announced on Nov. 20 in Toronto.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997