2014 CIS Football Team Preview: York Lions

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Source: York Sports Info

2013 regular season record: 2-6
2013 regular season standings: 8th in OUA
2013 playoff record: N/A

In 2013 the Lions finished with the same record they puttogether in 2012 while playing through a tough schedule that sawthem face off against the top five teams in the OUA. Among thevictories was the team’s first over Laurier since 2002 and awin over Carleton in which they put up 50 points, their most since2004.

The core of this year’s team is older – head coachWarren Craney’s first recruiting class with the program isnow in its fourth season – but the squad is in many waysyounger than last year, particularly at a number of key positionsin quarterback and running back. This year’s squad is lookingto take the next step in the conference and finish among the topsix to qualify for the playoffs. The offence will continue to bethe focus of the team.

The returning players will be complemented in the line-up by astrong new group of recruits, many of them who will see action fromDay 1 as the coaches look to fill the holes left by key playerssuch as quarterback Myles Gibbon (who graduated) and defensive endJames Tuck (who is now with the CFL’s MontrealAlouettes).

Quote from head coach:

“This will be a big year for many of our young players asthey grow into leadership roles on the team. We will be adjustingto life post-Myles [Gibbon] and counting on some of our newerplayers to step up both on and off the field. We are looking forour offence to pick up where it left off last year and continue toput points on the board, and we also expect our defence to bestronger and more aggressive. The roster is now made up entirely ofkids we recruited and I’m looking forward to leading the teamon the gridiron once again.”
– Warren Craney, Head Football Coach

Head Coach: Warren Craney

– Number of seasons as head coach with team (including 2014):5
– Number of seasons as head coach in CIS (including 2014): 5
– Career regular season record with team: 5-27
– Career regular season record in CIS: 5-27
– Career overall record with team (reg. season & playoffsonly): 5-27
– Career overall record in CIS (reg. season & playoffs only):5-27

OFFENCE

Number of returning starters: 8

Key returning players:

RB Connor Anderson (Newmarket, Ont.) returns for his secondseason with the Lions. He appeared in six games last year aftermissing time with an injury sustained in training camp. He rushedfor 141 yards on 31 carries (4.5 average) and scored two rushingtouchdowns.

WR Jarrett Carson (Montreal) is back for his second season withthe Lions and will see an increased role this year after atremendous spring camp. He appeared in six games and recorded fivereceptions for 107 yards, all in the final two games of lastyear.

OL Trevor King (Regina) started all eight games at left tacklelast year in his debut season with the Lions. He was slowed by aninjury and, now healthy, will be expected to provide strongcoverage for the quarterback on the line.

OL Jordyn Moore (Whitby, Ont.) is the veteran of the offensiveline entering his fourth season with the Lions. He has appeared inall 24 games over his three-year career at York and last yearearned the team’s lineman of the year award. He alsoparticipated in the 2014 East West Bowl.

Key recruits or transfers:

RB Jon Howard (Burlington, Ont.)

FB Anthony Mandalfino (Burlington, Ont.)

WR Mahlique Marks (Toronto)

Key losses:

WR William Austin, RB Errol Brooks, QB Myles Gibbon

DEFENCE

Number of returning starters: 7

Key returning players:

DL Cole Austen (Barrie, Ont.) started four games as a rookiedefensive lineman last year after an injury sidelined him for theother half of the season. He will take on an expanded role in hissecond season.

LB Hussein Hazime (Toronto) returns for his fourth season withthe Lions. He started seven games at middle linebacker last yearand ranked second on the team with 28 tackles, as well as two passbreak-ups. He is the team’s active leader with 116.5 careertackles, the third-best career total at York since 2002. He alsoparticipated in the 2014 East West Bowl.

LB Michael Runowski (Burlington, Ont.) is back for his thirdseason. He started all eight games at outside linebacker and ranked10th on the team with 21.5 tackles. He earned the team’sprestigious Gridiron Scholar Award for Academic Excellence for hissuccess on the field and in the classroom, where he is studying inthe Schulich School of Business.

DB Josh Small (Pickering, Ont.) is entering his third seasonwith the Lions. He started all eight games at cornerback last yearand ranked second in the OUA with seven pass break-ups. He was alsoseventh on the team with 23.5 tackles and had one interception andone fumble recovery.

Key recruits or transfers:

DE Trey Cordle (Waterloo, Ont.)

DE Broderick Martin (North York, Ont.)

LB Andrew Masson-Wong (Quebec City)

DB Rees Paterson (Sherwood Park, Alta.)

LB Kobena Toku (Brampton, Ont.)

Key losses:

DE James Tuck

SPECIAL TEAMS

Key returning players:

P/K Nick Naylor (Abbotsford, B.C.) returns for his second seasonwith the Lions. He was the starting placekicker and punter lastyear and earned the team’s special teams MVP award. He rankedfourth in the OUA in field goal percentage (71%, making 10 of 14),was 11th in scoring with 51 points, fifth in the OUA in kick-offs(33) and kick-off yards (1745) and was sixth in the OUA in punts(62) and punting yards (2278), including a long of 55 yards.

RET Damone Williams (Mississauga, Ont.) will play his first fullseason with the Lions this year after appearing in five games lastseason. He ranked 11th in the OUA with 266 kick return yards on 12returns, and was 12th in punt return yards with 163 on 20attempts.

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