Thursday, 21 November 2019

Huskies’ Lokombo named U Sports top defensive player

Nelson Lokombo (#25) is the U Sports defensive player of the year.
    Nelson Lokombo took home a U Sports honour no University of Saskatchewan Huskies football player had received in 21 years.
    On Thursday at the annual Vanier Cup gala held in Quebec City, Quebec, U Sports handed out its national awards and all-Canadian honours for football. Lokombo, who is a third year defensive back for the Huskies, was named the winner of the Presidents’ Trophy as the U Sports defensive player of the year.
    Lokombo topped the Huskies with four interceptions, and he returned two of those interceptions for touchdowns during the regular season.
    The Abbotsford, B.C., product posted 23.5 total tackles, 2.5 sacks and four pass breakups during the regular campaign as well.
    Lokombo was the first Huskies player to win the Presidents’ Trophy since current defensive coordinator Warren Muzika claimed that honour as a Huskies linebacker in 1998. Muzika was playing in his final season with the Huskies in 1998 and helped them win the Vanier Cup as U Sports national champions with a 24-17 victory over the Concordia University Stingers.
    On top of winning the Presidents’ Trophy, Lokombo was named a U Sports first team all-Canadian all-star. He was one of five Huskies players named first team all-Canadian all-stars.
    The Huskies first team all-Canadian all-stars included running back Adam Machart, left guard Mattland Riley, centre Connor Berglof and defensive tackle Evan Machibroda.
Nelson Lokombo, right, returns an interception for a touchdown.
    Running behind an offensive line that contained Riley and Berglof, Machart carried the ball 156 times for 1,330 yards and eight touchdowns during the regular season. He also hauled in 20 passes for 204 yards and three touchdowns through the air.
    His total of 1,330 yards rushing and 1,534 all-purpose yards are new Huskies team records for one regular season. Machart led U Sports in rushing.
    Machibroda, who was playing out his final season of U Sports eligibility, piled up 22 total tackles, five sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery during the regular season.
    The Huskies finished second in the regular season standings of the Canada West Conference with a 5-3 mark and fell to the University of Calgary Dinos 29-4 in the Canada West final – the Hardy Cup.
    Fifth-year quarterback and U Sports all-time great Chris Merchant of the University of Western Ontario Mustangs won the Hec Crighton Trophy as the most outstanding player in U Sports. Merchant beat out Machart for that honour.
    McGill University defensive tackle Andrew Seinet-Spaulding claimed the J.P. Metras Trophy as the most outstanding down lineman. Seinet-Spaulding beat out Machibroda for that award.
    Concordia University Stingers receiver Jeremy Murphy was named the winner of the Peter Gorman Trophy as the top rookie in U Sports. He beat out Huskies linebacker Ramsey Derbas for that honour.
Nelson Lokombo, right, secures one of his four interceptions this season.
    York University Lions free safety Jacob Janke captured the Russ Jackson Award for excellence in football, academics and citizenship in U Sports.
    Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall took the Frank Tindall Trophy as the U Sports coach of the year. Marshall beat out Huskies head coach Scott Flory for that award.
    Veteran University of Regina Rams defensive line coach Greg Nesbitt took the Gino Fracas Award as the volunteer coach of the year for U Sports. Nesbitt has been on the Rams staff for a lengthy stretch of time.
    The U Sports football season concludes on Saturday, when the Dinos (9-2 overall) face the University of Montreal Carabins (9-2 overall) in the Vanier Cup at the Universite Laval in Quebec City.

Hilltops’ “Sarge” still should have been CJFL coach of the year

Tom Sargeant was passed over for CJFL coach of the year.
    Saskatoon Hilltops head coach Tom Sargeant will take CJFL champions over individual honours any day.
    Last Saturday, the Hilltops won their sixth straight CJFL championship downing the host Langley Rams 11-6 in the CJFL title game – the Canadian Bowl. The Hilltops have won nine of the last 10 CJFL crowns and have been CJFL champions 22 times.
    While the Hilltops have piled up all these titles, Sargeant, who has been the team’s head coach since 1998, continually gets shutout in winning the CJFL coach of the year award.
    At the CJFL awards banquet last Friday in Langley, the CJFL coach of the year award was given to Rams head coach Howie Zaron. The Rams finished the 2019 campaign with a 12-1 overall record after falling to the Hilltops in the Canadian Bowl.
    Sargeant claimed CJFL coach of the year honours on two occasions in 2000 and 2003.
    It has to be noted the CJFL looks really bad not naming Sargeant the coach of the year on the national level even just once during the Hilltops current run of winning nine of the last 10 CJFL titles.
    Last year, there was a huge opportunity to correct that oversight as the Hilltops won the Canadian Bowl posting a perfect 11-0 record. They were so dominant in the 2018 campaign they trailed on the scoreboard for a total of just 81 seconds in all their games.
    This season, the Hilltops went through a huge amount of turnover in starters on both offence and defence. They needed fourth quarter comebacks to pull out victory in a couple of contest.
    Incredibly, the Hilltops put together another perfect season with a 12-0 record. Sargeant picked up his 200th career victory in Week 2 of the season, and he later became the all-time wins leader in Canadian amateur post-secondary football.
    Sargeant currently has a career 210-30-2 in the CJFL’s regular season and post-season.
    If Sargeant wasn’t have to claim CJFL coach of the year honours after either of those campaigns, one has to wonder if he will ever receive that honour again.

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