May 11, 2013, London, Ont. (CIS) – Tyler Crapigna, an all-Canadian kicker from McMaster University, booted a 42-yard field goal with a minute and six seconds remaining in regulation to lift the West team to an 18-17 win in the 11th East West Bowl, presented by Under Armour, at TD Waterhouse Stadium on the campus of Western University, on Saturday.
With the victory, the West ended a three-year winning streak for the East at the annual CIS football prospects game and now leads the all-time series 7-4.
Crapigna, a senior from Nepean, Ont., handled kicking duties for both teams on the day and was good on three of four field goal attempts for the West, while going one-for-two for the East. Unfortunately for the East, he missed a 45-yard attempt with three seconds left which would have changed the outcome.
“It was good kicking field goals for both teams. I found out early in the week that it would be the case. It gave me a chance to showcase my talent on the field even more than expected so I really didn’t have any complaints,” said Crapigna, who kicked the game-winning field goal in overtime in the 2011 Vanier Cup against Laval to lead the Marauders to their first-ever national title. “This was a great experience overall. Those are the best players in the country and to be able to play with and against them and to showcase your talent for professional scouts, it’s just great.”
The score was tied at 3-3 at the end of the first quarter following a pair of Crapigna field goals, including a 32-yarder for the East at 9:56 and a 22-yarder for the West at 13:30.
The West went into the locker room at halftime with an 8-3 lead thanks to another successful kick by Crapigna, this one from 19 yards out at 6:00, and a safety touch conceded by the East at 9:35.
In the second half, the East dominated the third quarter 14-0 to take a 17-8 advantage after 45 minutes of play but the West responded with 10 unanswered points in the final frame to steal the victory.
Adam Thibault of the reigning Vanier Cup champion Laval Rouge et Or provided the highlight of the day on the first play of the second half when he returned Crapigna’s kickoff on 101 yards for the game’s first touchdown.
“I called it yesterday. I said if I could do only one thing today it would be to take one back, and I did it,” said the Quebec City native.
Thibault, who stars as a receiver for Laval, was asked to play defensive back this week. He finished the contest with 2.5 tackles and an interception at the East 25-yard line with three minutes left in the game.
“It was definitely a different experience, especially going against such good players, but the coaches did a great job this week at teaching me all the different techniques. They also told me to rely on my athleticism, and I guess it turned out ok.”
Five minutes after Thibault’s spectacular score, Bishop’s Alexander Fox caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Queen’s Billy McPhee to make it 17-8 for the East.
Ten seconds into the fourth quarter, UBC running back Brandon Deschamps brought the West back to within two points on a one-yard run.
The score remained 17-15 for the East until Crapigna’s game-winning kick with 66 seconds left on the clock.
“We tried to keep the game plan pretty generic. This game is not about coaches trying to outcoach each other, it’s about letting the players showcase their talent so we keep it basic and let the guys play,” said winning head coach Stefan Ptaszek, the 2012 CIS coach of the year from McMaster. “I thought that kickoff return at the start of the second half was pretty cool, even though it went against us. To our guys’ credit, they weathered the storm and battled back to get the win.”
“The kick return really energized our guys, after we played a little bit sloppy in the first half,” said Mount Allison’s Kelly Jeffrey, who called the plays for the East even though Laval’s Glen Constantin was officially the team’s sideline boss. “Towards the end there we just needed a couple more first downs but we couldn’t get them, and the West took advantage.”
Statistically, McPhee was the game’s most productive quarterback with 14 completions on 23 attempts for 114 yards, one major and one interception. His East teammate Ben Rossong from Saint Mary’s was 2-of-4 for 42 yards and was sacked three times.
On the West side, McMaster’s Marshall Ferguson went 10-of-22 for 99 yards with a pair of interceptions, while Windsor’s Austin Kennedy completed five of 12 passes for 71 yards. Kennedy was also the game’s leading rusher with 56 yards on 10 carries.
Windsor’s Evan Pszczonak and York’s Zack Davis caught three balls apiece for the winners and finished with 57 and 46 receiving yards, respectively.
Laval’s Pascal Lochard was the top rusher for the East with 28 yards on five carries and added 13 yards on three catches. Fox ended up with 46 yards on a match-high five receptions.
Defensively, McMaster linebacker Aram Eisho led the West with six tackles, while Western lineman Dylan Ainsworth was dominant with four total tackles, including three for a loss and two sacks.
“Once you put the pads on, you don’t really think about this being a prospects game, scouts and that kind of things. You can ask any football players and they’ll probably say the same thing. You just want to go out there and give it all you got,” said Ainsworth, who hails from Delta, B.C. “I think I did pretty well this week. The combine went well, so did practices. It’s such a short week, you just have to be a sponge and take in as much info as possible.”
For the East, Concordia linebacker Max Caron, a former Presidents’ Trophy winner as CIS defensive player of the year, led the way with 6.5 tackles.
Overall, the West had the edge in first downs (18-14), rushing yards (119-79), passing yards (170-156) and total offensive yards (276-205).
GAME NOTES: The East West Bowl showcases – for the most part – CIS players who will be eligible for the following year’s CFL Canadian draft… The East side is comprised of student-athletes representing schools from the Atlantic and Quebec conferences, as well as Queen’s, Ottawa and Toronto. The West contingent is made up of standouts from Canada West and the remaining OUA universities.
EAST 3-0-14-0: 17
WEST 3-5-0-10: 18
EAST – FG Tyler Crapigna 32 9:56
WEST – FG Tyler Crapigna 22 13:30
WEST – FG Tyler Crapigna 19 6:00
WEST – Safety Touch 9:35
EAST – TD Adam Thibault 101 kickoff return (Tyler Crapigna kick) 0:15
EAST – TD Alexander Fox 8 pass from Billy McPhee (Tyler Crapigna kick) 5:37
WEST – TD Brandon Deschamps 1 run (Tyler Crapigna kick) 0:10
WEST – FG Tyler Crapigna 42 13:54
ALL-TIME EAST WEST BOWL RESULTS:
2013 (at Western): West 18, East 17
2012 (at Western): East 24, West 16
2011 (at Western): East 34, West 27 (OT)
2010 (at Western): East 12, West 9
2009 (at Western): West 16, East 7
2008 (at McMaster): East 25, West 12
2007 (at Laval): West 22, East 19 (OT)
2006 (at Laval): West 34, East 26 (OT)
2005 (at Laurier): West 34, East 16
2004 (at Laurier): West 21, East 12
2003 (at Laurier): West 10, East 5