Western dominates individual honours ahead of Yates Cup tilt

Western dominated the Ontario university football season again.

It makes sense the No. 1 team in the country ruled the major awards and all-star selections, too.

Mustangs coach Greg Marshall captured his sixth career Ontario coach of the year award, linebacker Fraser Sopik was named most outstanding stand-up defensive player and defensive back Mackenzie Ferguson is the league’s nominee for the prestigious Russ Jackson Award. Thirteen Western players landed on the all-star team ahead of Saturday’s Yates Cup clash with Guelph.

Marshall, Canadian university’s top coach last season, has won four of his Dave (Tuffy) Knight Awards in the 12 years since he returned to coach Western and boasts a career 102-25 record.

Sopik led a defence that ranked first in all major categories, registering 38 tackles to go with one sack, one interception and 2.5 tackles for a loss.

Ferguson excelled on the field, in the classroom and in the community. The Master’s student in clinical anatomy is serving as a teaching assistant in the school’s physiotherapy program and also has participated in a number of mentorship and charitable initiatives.

Seven Mustangs landed on the first-team all-star roster, including running back Cedric Joseph, offensive linemen David Brown and Dylan Giffen, Sopik, free safety Daniel Valente, Jr., cornerback Bleska Kambamba and punter Marc Liegghio.

Reigning Vanier Cup MVP Chris Merchant led the second-team squad at quarterback and he was joined by teammates Gregoire Bouchard (guard), receiver Harry McMaster, defensive tackle Mitchell Stadnyk, end Andrew Thurston, linebacker Philippe Dion and Liegghio again as the kicker.

London natives Ben Koczwara and Kyle Boismier, both Waterloo linemen, Laurier’s Scott Hutter and McMaster’s Noah Hallett were also all-star selections.

Waterloo quarterback Tre Ford was selected the Ontario University Athletic’s top player and teammate Jack Hinsperger was top rookie while Carleton’s Kene Onyeka was lineman of the year, Ottawa’s Mike White earned volunteer coach of the year and Kevin Baird received the Ken Green Football Officials award of merit.

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