2014 CIS Football Team Preview: Windsor Lancers

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Source: Elisa Mitton, Windsor Sports Info / Photocredit Edwin Tam

2013 regular season record: 4-4
2013 regular season standings: 6th in OUA
2013 playoff record: 0-1
2013 playoff finish: 31-21 loss to Guelph inquarter-finals

The Lancers are coming off a 2013 season that saw them earntheir third straight OUA playoff appearance. Windsor finished theyear with a 4-4 record in a very competitive OUA conference,earning wins over Waterloo, Toronto, Carleton, and Wilfrid Laurier.In the post season, Windsor travelled to Guelph where they fell31-21 to the No.

5 ranked Gryphons.

With 21 of 24 starters returning for 2014, the Lancers will lookto make it past the first round of the post season for the firsttime since 2011. Offensively, quarterback Austin Kennedy and theLancers will look to move the ball in the air, with a strongreceiving core that includes OUA all-star Evan Pszczonak and fifthyear senior Dylan Whitfield. Both will look to build on strong 2013campaigns that saw them combine for 859 receiving yards and ninetouchdowns.

The Lancer offense also includes 2014 East-West Bowl participantrunning back Nathan O’Hollaran who, together with a strongcommittee of running backs, will look to fill the void left byMitch Dender, along with offensive lineman Randy Beardy and BrettBoersma, and receivers Scott McEwan and Kyle Tyo.

Defensively, the Lancers will depend heavily on a strong core ofveterans anchored by fifth years Tai Pham, Stephon Miller, and JoshBurns, third year linebacker Frank Renaud, and defensive backsAustin Crumb and Jordan Deneau.

Once again this year, head coach Joe D’Amore brought in asolid recruiting class that included a number of players from thelocal Windsor-Essex area. Combined with the return of a strong mixof veterans the Lancers enter the 2014 season with a sense ofoptimism and excitement.

Quote from head coach:

“This year our expectations are high. We have Austin Kennedyreturning for his final year and we bring back all but threestarters from last season’s team. Although we have been aplayoff team for three straight years now, we have not made it pastthe first round since 2011. Our goals this season is to host aplayoff game on Alumni Field, which has not been done since 2006,and make it to the Yates Cup. We have the talent and veteran teamto do it. We have some new comers who are going to contributeimmediately and if we can get out of the gate strong, we will be inthe position to have a great season. “

Head Coach:

– Number of seasons as head coach with team (including 2014):4
– Number of seasons as head coach in CIS (including 2014): 4
– Career regular season record with team: 12-12
– Career regular season record in CIS: 12-12
– Career overall record with team (reg. season & playoffsonly): 13-15
– Career overall record in CIS (reg. season & playoffs only):13-15

OFFENCE

Number of returning starters: 10

Key returning players:

QB Austin Kennedy enters his fifth and final season with theBlue & Gold. The two time OUA all-star (2011 & 2012)currently holds four Lancer passing records including mosttouchdown passes in a single game. In 2013, the Windsor, Ontarionative threw for 1,920 yards and 17 touchdowns in eight regularseason games.

WR Evan Pszczonak is also in his fifth year of eligibility withthe Lancers. In 2013, stepped up his game to become the Lancers topreceiver, and grabbed 42 receptions for 646 yards (92.3 yards pergame), and six touchdowns over seven regular season games, en routeto being named an OUA first team all-star for the first time in hiscareer.

WR Dylan Whitfield has been a consistent presence on the Lanceroffense for the past five seasons. In 2013, he finished third inreceiving with 213 yards and three touchdowns on 18 receptions.

LB Nathan O’Hollaran was named the Lancer Team MVP in2013. The Pickering, Ontario native played in a variety of rolesfor the Blue & Gold and picked up 163 all-purpose yards ineight regular season games played.

Key recruits or transfers:

RB Terrance Crawford (Windsor, ON) – third year transferfrom Simon Fraser University

WR Noah Akharoh (Brampton, ON) – 6’3, 13lbs fromNotre Dame High School

OL Devin Desjardins (Windsor, ON) – 6’1, 275lbs fromHerman Secondary School and OVFL’s Essex Ravens

OL Lucas Moore (Belle River, ON) – 6’3, 270lbs fromBelle River High School and OVFL’s Essex Ravens

Key losses: RB Mitch Dender, OL Nick Corrado

DEFENCE

Number of returning starters: 11

Key returning players:

DL Tai Pham was a second team OUA all-star in 2013 leading theBlue & Gold with 7.5 total sacks. The London, Ontario nativealso participated in the 2014 East-West Bowl this pastsummer.

LB Frank Renaud finished the 2013 season second in team defensewith 52 total tackles (43 solo, 18 assisted).

DB Josh Burns averaged 2.8 tackles per game in 2013 finishingthe season with 11 total tackles in four games played.

DL Stephon Miller finished the 2013 season fourth in teamdefense with 31 total tackles and six sacks.

Key recruits or transfers:

LB Joe Iatzko (Windsor, ON) – third year transfer fromSimon Fraser

LB Rik Van Espen (LaSalle, ON) – 6’1, 215lbs fromSandwich Secondary School & OVFL’s Essex Ravens

DL Courtney Ellis (Hamilton, ON) – 6’1, 240lbs fromSt. Thomas Moore Secondary School & OFC’s HamiltonHurricanes.

DL Nick Simone (LaSalle, ON) – 6’2, 260lbs fromVillanova Secondary School & OVFL’s Essex Ravens

Key losses: DL Taras Potopilnyj, DB AkeemWhonder

SPECIALTEAMS

Key recruits or transfers:

K Hugh Paulin – 6’0 175lbs from Vincent MasseySecondary School & OVFL’s Essex Ravens

Key losses: K Dan Cerino

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