MVP Accolades for Samuel Caron
On this day, the eve of the clash that will determine the Dunsmore Cup Champions that the RSEQ (Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec) announced its award winners for the 2016 RSEQ university football season. The press conference was held on the campus of the University of Montreal which is hosing this year’s title game, pitting the Carabins and the Laval University Rouge et Or. Kick-off is at 2:00 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted on TVA Sport.
Quarterback Samuel Caron accepted the torch for from Gabriel Cousineau and ran with it. In his first season under centre as a starter for the Carabins, the Civil Engineering major from the Polytechnique Montréal rose to the occasion, earning RSEQ Most Valuable Player honours. In his first start this season, the former pivot for the Cégep de Lévis-Lauzon Faucons showed the poise of a veteran in passing for 320 yards with one TD pass in a huge 24-21 road win over Laval.
Caron never looked back, leading the RSEQ and ranking third nationwide by completing 68.5% of his passes (155 of 222) for 1,863 yards. On his way to tossing nine touchdown passes on the season, the 23-year-old student athlete also made good decisions, throwing a league-low four interceptions on the year.
He also got the job done with his legs, piling up 300 rushing yards on 46 carries, good enough to sit third on the Carabins and ninth in the RSEQ. He also scored four touchdowns along the ground.
Defensive back Adam Auclair followed in the footsteps of his Rouge et Or teammates Hugo Richard and Mathieu Betts by winning RSEQ Rookie of the year honours, giving Laval the last three winners of the award dating back to 2014. A starter in each of his team’s eight games, Auclair led the team and finished 11th in the league with 35.5 tackles, including 27 solo tackles. The Notre-Dame-des-Pins, QC native also picked up a sack, an interception which he returned 32 yards and knocked down two passes.
For the second consecutive year, Jonathan Boissonneault-Glaou was named RSEQ Defensive player of the year. The Mechanical Engineering major (Polytechnique) had six sacks on the season to help the Carabins lead the league in that department. A defensive lineman known for this versatility, Boissonneault-Glaou piled up 35 tackles including 29 solos while also forcing two fumbles, recovering one and knocking down one pass on the year.
Named RSEQ rookie of the year a season ago, defensive lineman Mathieu Betts was watched closely by opponents this season. That being said, the Montreal native still led the league in sacks with nine, good enough for the second rank in the nation. In addition to terrorizing quarterbacks, the defensive all-star also made 21 tackles (15 solo) and 10.5 tackles for loss and broke up five passes. Betts becomes the third-straight Rouge et Or player to be named RSEQ Lineman of the year joining Charles Vaillancourt (2015) and Vincent Desloges (2014).
Shayne Cowan-Cholette is the winner of the 2016 RSEQ Leadership and community Award after entering the season as one of the Gaiters to watch. The Ottawa native was without a doubt the emotional leader of the team. The linebacker returned for his fifth and final season in purple and will not only led the defence but be a key player on special teams as well. Although the education and drama student’s numbers don’t jump off the page, his leadership was unparallelled.
Among a plethora of volunteer activities, one a highlight was the Purple Canada Tour that he and former Gaiter Richard Lavoie embarked on this summer. It was an initiative the friends brought forward to show that there is good in the world. They performed random acts of kindness as they crossed the nation and highlighted various community superstars. Excited by the opportunity, the campus’s recruitment department got on board to fund part of the trip. Through social media, the pair, along with videographer Ben Tracy, ran a Go Fund Me campaign as well as solicited other sponsors to make the trip possible.
“The Purple Canada Tour taught me that this world runs on good people,” said Cowan-Cholette. “There are no words that can describe the amount of generosity that we received across Canada.
For the first time since he took over head coaching duties with the University of Montréal Carabins six years ago, Danny Maciocia has been named RSEQ coach of the year. With a 7-1 record, Maciocia led the Carabins to its second regular-season title in team history and the school’s first since 2004. He also led his squad to a conference-high in points and yards on offence as well as yards allowed on defence. The Carabins program is now one of the standards nationwide as they look to add their third-ever Dunsmore Cup championship.
Vince Alessandrini led the RSEQ with 52 receptions in eight games. He also rolled up 554 yards of offence and scored one touchdown. The freshman out of Vanier College ranked fifth in the U Sports statistics for receptions. He is the top rookie receiver in the country and wins the RSEQ Offensive rookie of the year award. The Laval, Quebec native also carved out a place in the Concordia football record book. In 2015, veteran receiver Daniel Skube caught 60 passes to set the Stingers’ record for receptions. Alessandrini now sits in second place for most catches in a season, tied with Cory Watson, now with the Edmonton Eskimos, who hauled in 52 passes in 2009. Alessandrini continued his strong play in the RSEQ semifinal game on Saturday after catching another six passes for 62 yards.
Andrew Seinet-Spaulding of the McGill Redmen is the RSEQ football Defensive rookie of the year. The 6'0'', 303-pound lineman started in all eight games at left defensive tackle and had 19 total tackles, including 14 solos. A 20-year-old native of Montreal who is studying Health and Social services Management, Seinet-Spaulding was also credited with five tackles for loss, 2.5 quarterback sacks and one fumble recovery.
Thanks to his remarkable consistency, kicker Félix Ménard-Brière was named RSEQ Special teams player of the year. The fourth-year player earned Special teams Player of the Week honours on three occasions while maintaining a 42.4 yard punting average over his 57 attempts which was both a conference and Canadian best this year. The landscape architecture major also shattered a RSEQ record with a 93-yard punt. Menard-Brière also booted 17 field goals on his way to posting 86 points to lead the RSEQ, 19 points ahead of his closest rival.
RSEQ University Football Individual Awards - 2016
Most Valuable Player – Jeff Russell Trophy
(Candidate for the Hec Crighton Trophy – U Sports)
Samuel Caron - University of Montreal Carabins
Rookie of the Year
(Candidate for the Peter Gorman Trophy – U Sports)
Adam Auclair - Laval University Rouge et Or
Defensive player of the year
(Candidate for the Presidents Trophy – U Sports)
Jonathan Boissonneault-Glaou - University of Montreal Carabins
Lineman of the year
(Candidate for the J.P. Metras Trophy – U Sports)
Mathieu Betts - Laval University Rouge et Or
Leadership and Social involvement Award
(Candidate for the Russ Jackson Trophy – U Sports)
Shayne Cowan-Cholette - Bishop’s University Gaiters
Coach of the Year
(Candidate for the Frank Tindall Trophy – U Sports)
Danny Maciocia - University of Montreal Carabins
RSEQ Offensive rookie of the year
Vince Alessandrini - Concordia University Stingers
RSEQ Defensive rookie of the year
Andrew Seinet-Spaulding - McGill University Redmen
RSEQ Special teams player of the year
Félix Ménard-Brière - University of Montreal Carabins