50TH VANIER CUP INTERVIEW SERIES: 1984
A conversation with…
Parri Ceci, wide receiver, University of Guelph Gryphons
In Vanier Cup XX, the Guelph Gryphons scored 15 unanswered points in the final seven minutes of the game to beat the Mount Allison Mounties 22-13 at Varsity Stadium in Toronto. It remains the lone appearance in the national championship match for the Gryphons, making them the only program with an unblemished Vanier Cup record (1-0). Wide receiver Parri Ceci, who was voted game MVP, had only two catches in the win but made the most of them as they were good for 89- and 38-yard touchdowns.
What is your major memory of the Vanier Cup weekand the overall experience?
The whole experience was surreal, from the minute we got on the bus heading to Toronto until we arrived back in Guelph. There were so many great things happening all week and winning it in the end was the greatest feeling.
Does the win feel even more special today considering no Guelph team has reached the Vanier Cup since?
The win alone is special. It is unfortunate that Guelph has not made it back to experience Vanier Cup week. Hopefully they will get to experience it soon.
What is your one major lasting memory of the actual game?
Standing on the podium with my teammates and raising the Vanier Cup!!!
What do you remember as the key play of the game?
Our defence was the key to us winning that game. The “D” made several key stops and the offence made a couple of huge plays.
(Note: The Gryphons held Mount Allison to 161 net yards of offence on the day, a Vanier Cup record that held until 2010, when Laval limited Calgary to 140 net yards)
What was your personal greatest play or greatest moment?
The 38-yard TD catch that I was fortunate enough to make late in the game.
(Note: Ceci’s second TD reception of the day tied the game at 13-13 with 6:20 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Gryphons added a field goal with 2:50 left and a touchdown as time expired to run away with the victory. Ceci had opened the scoring 12:33 into the contest on an 89-yard pass from Randy Walters, which still ranks as the third-longest passing play in Vanier Cup history. He also amassed 86 yards on five punt and kickoff returns to finish the game with 213 all-purpose yards)
Did anything unusual or out of the ordinary happen during the game or during Vanier week?
After the game, my sister somehow made it through the crowd to come give me a big congratulatory hug.
Did the coaches do anything different from normal routine in the preparation for the game?
They mostly tried to keep us loose and focused on the game.
How did you or the team react to the stadium, the crowd, the weather?
The weather was absolutely perfect for the day and our fans, who followed us throughout the playoff run, were truly amazing.
(Note: A mostly pro-Guelph crowd of 19,842 attended the game at Varsity Stadium. En route to their Vanier Cup triumph, the Gryphons had defeated perennial powerhouse Western Ontario 31-26 in the Yates Cup, in London, and defending national champion Calgary 12-7 in the Central Bowl, in Guelph)
What are your memories of the post-game celebrations on the field and/or in the dressing room?
Drinking out of the cup!
What are your memories of the trip back home?
Just the feeling that we had just won the Vanier Cup and the celebrations.
What was the reaction on campus when the team returned?
Tremendous! As I said, our fans were absolutely the best!
At the time, how did winning the Vanier Cup change your everyday life?
The team was very recognizable on campus. It was a pretty proud year for all of us around the Guelph campus.
MORE ABOUT PARRI CECI:
Ceci was selected in the third round, 26th overall, by the Calgary Stampeders in the 1984 CFL draft. He then played one more season with the University of Guelph in the fall of 1984, earning a spot on the all-Canadian team, before spending two years with the Stampeders in 1985 and 1986. His professional career was cut short due to a knee injury.