Volume 92, Issue 48

Friday, November 27, 1998



Huskies and Stingers face off in Vanier

Dipesh Mistry/Gazette
YOU'RE NOT STOPPING ME FROM VANIER. Saskatchewan Huskie running back Doug Rozon [23] eluded tacklers like Mustang defensive back Ryan Lyons [4] last weekend and will be a force for the Concordia Stingers to contend with in this weekend's Vanier Cup.

By John Intini

Gazette Staff

The Concordia Stingers, who have been denounced by critics this week as overachievers, are hoping tomorrow's Vanier Cup championship will prove that in fact it isn't so easy being Saskatchewan Huskie green.

"There is definitely a positive side to being the heavy underdog," said Stinger head coach Patrick Sheahan. "Nobody expects you to win and it removes all the pressure. We can just concentrate on playing football."

Concordia will take on the heavily favoured Huskies in this year's 34th Vanier Cup at SkyDome tomorrow. The game will mark the first time the Stingers have made it to the big show, in sharp contrast to the Saskatchewan Huskies, who earned their fifth title shot in 10 years when they beat Western last weekend in the Churchill Bowl 33-17.

Experience may also play a big role when looking at the quarterback situation. While the Huskies will start veteran pivot Ryan Reid, Concordia will turn to 20-year-old rookie quarterback Jon Kronemyer to run the offensive attack for the second week in a row.

Concordia, who boasted the second ranked defence in Canada during the regular season, will be looking for a huge performance from their defensive unit in shutting down the balanced attack of the Huskies. Sheahan described the Huskie squad as an old-fashioned meat and potatoes type of offence.

"Our defence might not be the biggest, but we make up for it in spades with our speed and athleticism," he said.

Reid felt the speed of the Concordia defence could be a big factor and also said the SkyDome's artificial turf could wreak havoc with respect to timing between himself and his receivers.

"The turf is sure to throw the timing off," he said. "The cuts are a lot quicker and crisper and receivers will be getting to their spots faster than usual."

However, Reid was also quick to point out that his club's offence is the most balanced of any in Canada. Last week Reid went to the air 22 times and gave the ball to Churchill Bowl most valuable player Doug Rozon 19 times.

Saskatchewan head coach, Brian Towriss said the speed of the Stinger defence is something which will have to be contained. Towriss also noted the Stinger offence, not as highly regarded as their defence, can be dangerous.

"They have run some very big plays over the last couple of games," Towriss said. "Their offence runs a mixed bag whether it be the option or the spread. They're tough to defend."

On offence, Towriss said his game plan would depend on early developments in the game. "We are just going to go with what works," he said.

Current ticket sales were unavailable, but Vanier Cup event director Sandra Taylor said figures are currently higher than the 8,184 patrons which watched last year's game between the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds and the Ottawa Gee Gees.

"The Vanier Cup is normally one of the SkyDome's biggest walk-up crowds," Taylor said. "The only event at the Dome which brings out more buyers on game day is Wrestlemania."

According to Taylor, organizers are attempting to promote the national title tilt as part of a whole weekend of events, similar to the way the Canadian Football League showcases the Grey Cup. A high-school combine will be taking place tonight while the Metro Bowl, the Toronto high school championship, will be played tomorrow morning before the national title clash.

Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m..

To Contact The Sports Department: gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998