Heading back to the CISAA, the SportsEh Team visited the Upper Canada College Blues in downtown Toronto. The Blues have been gaining momentum in the CISAA these past few years and have established themselves as a team that can challenge for the title, year in and year out.
The 2012 season ended in heartbreak for the UCC Blues, as they lost in the CISAA Finals to their rivals St. Andrew’s College 21-14 in a thriller. That loss marked the second year in a row that the Blues would lose to SAC in the CISAA Finals by a touchdown or less. The Blues are the last team to win the CISAA championship, other than SAC, as they defeated their rivals in 2010 to claim the crown. It was clear that the players at UCC were itching to get the season started and get another crack at St. Andrew’s. The message was clear – beat SAC.
The Blues look to have the tools on both offence and defence to once again make a run at the CISAA title. To start, running back Chris Amoah may be all the offence needs to be a threat this season. He is a very talented running back who showcased his skills last year, before suffering a knee injury that cut his season short. Now that he is healthy and can once again be the full-time #1 running back, defences around the CISAA should begin to prepare for what Amoah will bring to the table. A rare combination of size, speed and agility has Amoah ranked fifth among Canadian football prospects by Top Prospects Canada.
Accompanying Amoah on offence will be senior receiver Manny Gomez and quarterback Liam Power. Gomez showed flashes of brilliance during training camp and will look to impress during his last season with the Blues. Gomez will make big plays downfield for the Blues with his great hands and will open running lanes to the outside for Amoah with his exceptional blocking skills. QB Power has shown growth throughout his time with the Blues. He began his career with the Blues as a receiver but made the switch to quarterback last year and impressed. He has a strong arm and is able to move very well on his feet. It is his speed and mobility outside of the pocket that will cause problems for every defence he goes up against this year. If you don’t believe me, Power is one of the fastest students at the school and is a member of the UCC 4x100m relay team – the kid can run.
On defence the Blues seemed to be a bit younger, although they do have some prominent seniors to lead the way. In the secondary, senior safety Nick Royer will lead the Blues. Royer, a native of Quebec, is a ball-hawk, so look for him to lead the Blues and maybe even the CISAA in interceptions this year. Playing in front of Royer at linebacker is senior Phil Martin, who also hails from Quebec. Their veteran presence on defence and experience playing in big games should translate to success for the Blues defence.
Head Coach Dave Shaw is optimistic about the season, and believes that if his team can stay healthy they have all the potential to make a run at the championship in 2013. Shaw is also looking forward to the Friday Night Lights game against St. Andrew’s College, specifically to the atmosphere the game will create throughout the community. He trusts in his assistant coaches and expects that his team will work hard going into the 2013 season to experience the most success possible in the CISAA.
It is shaping up to be another year of great rivalry matches in the CISAA with the Blues’ notable games being: October 4th at 7:30pm, at home against St. Andrew’s College and October 19th at St. Michael’s College.