On the biggest stage in Canadian university football, some former St. Andrew’s College Saints played a pivotal role in Western University Mustangs' incredible performance.
On Saturday, Nov. 25 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, the Mustangs faced the Laval Rouge et Or in the Vanier Cup.
Western defeated Laval 39-17 to cap one of the most dominant seasons in U Sports history. The Mustangs ended the year with an overall record of 12-0, outscoring their opponents by a total of nearly 500 points. It was also Western’s first national championship since 1994.
Western quarterback and former Saints’ captain and star, Chris Merchant ’14, won the Ted Morris Memorial Trophy as the Vanier Cup MVP, throwing for 276 yards and one touchdown through the air, and rushing for another 89 yards and two TDs. Saturday’s performance was vintage Chris, as #12 took over the game with his athleticism, toughness, and pinpoint throwing accuracy. This served as a tremendous end to an outstanding season for Merchant, who is also a First-Team OUA all-star.
Another former Saints’ captain and star was dominant in the Vanier Cup as well. Linebacker Fraser Sopik ’15 won the Bruce Coulter Award as defensive MVP of the game, tallying 11 total tackles—including 10 solo—one sack and a pass breakup. Simply put, he was all over the field and wreaked havoc against the Laval offence. Fraser is also a first-team OUA all-star.
A third former Saints captain and star, running back Yannick Harou ’12, played a key role for the Mustangs and ended his decorated five-year U Sports career with a Vanier Cup championship. Harou contributed on special teams, particularly as a primary punt returner against the Rouge et Or. During his tenure at Western, Yannick won OUA Rookie of the Year, and was named a First-Team OUA all-star. Saturday’s national championship is a fitting end to his Mustangs’ career.
In addition to Chris, Fraser, and Yannick, former Saints stars WR Zach Marcus ’14, CB Josh Carter ’16, and QB Ben Schmidt ’17 were also on the Western roster. Collectively, these boys can take great pride in being part of one of the most remarkable teams in the history of Canadian university football.
Story by Len Gurr
Varsity Football Head Coach