2012 regular season record: 5-3
2012 regular season standings: 4th in OUA
2012 playoff record: 1-1
2012 playoff finish: Lost 42-28 to McMaster in OUA semi-finals
The Western Mustangs are back for the 2013 campaign and are looking to build on a 2012 season that saw the Mustangs fail to qualify for the Yates Cup final for the first time in six years, after falling to McMaster 42-28 in the OUA Semi-Finals.
“I think we’ve got a good team with a good solid nucleus,” said Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall when asked about this year’s squad. “We’re deep on the defensive line, we’ve got some good experience at linebacker, we’re young at defensive-back but we’ve got some good quality players.
“We’re excited, we’ve got a good team,” said Marshall. “Generally I’m pretty optimistic anyways at the start of the season but I really believe this is a good football team and that we’re going to be competitive this year.”
Offensively, the Mustangs are led by second-year quarterback Will Finch, who is once again behind centre after stepping in for Donnie Marshall following an injury to the senior pivot midway through the season.
Finch, the nation’s top quarterback recruit in 2011, completed 49 of 89 passes for 818 yards and five touchdowns in the seven regular season games that he appeared in. He went on to put up even more impressive numbers in Western’s two playoff games throwing for 634 yards and six touchdowns on 44 of 66 passes.
“We are going to have a little bit of change on the offensive line,” Marshall admitted. “But our receivers are all back, our running-backs are back, our fullbacks, and Will at quarterback. The good thing is that we’ve got some good experienced offensive linemen, they just haven’t played a lot here.”
In the backfield, First Team All-Canadian Garret Sanvido returns for another year after he emerged as one of the nation’s best backs in the 2012 season. Sanvido rushed for over 100 yards in all but one of his seven regular season games and ran for 1,001 yards, the only rusher in the CIS to eclipse the 1 000 yard mark last season. The Vancouver native not only racked up the yards but the points as well, recording 13 touchdowns in his seven regular season appearances.
On the defensive side of the ball, the majority of the Mustangs front seven will be back and looking to continue their success from last season where the Mustang defence racked up 34 sacks as a unit, the second most in the country. Third-year defensive end Dylan Ainsworth will be returning and looking to dominate after coming off of a successful 2012 season where he recorded 17 solo tackles and set a Western record for sacks in a single season with 9.5 on the year.
Also returning to the Mustang defensive line is First Team All-Canadian Daryl Waud, who was second on the team in tackles in 2012, recoding 30 stops while also adding two sacks and an interception.
Along with the key returning players the Mustangs present another strong recruiting class, including local CCH standout Nick Vanin who was named to London’s All-Star team and a key component of the London Junior Mustangs undefeated championship season in 2012, a team coached by Mustang offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Chris Bertoia.
In addition, Eddie Meredith will be transferring to Western from the NCAA’s Boston College to suit up for the purple and white. The offensive lineman played high school football at St. Andrew’s College, and in 2010 CFC had Meredith rated as one of the top 5 high school ‘big men.’
“We really think that we’ve got a good class,” said Marshall. “We’ve got some good depth, we addressed some of the concerns. We certainly wish we would have gotten some more offensive linemen but we’ll just have to recruit harder at that position next year.”
With a number of key retuning athletes on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, along with a strong group of new recruits, the 2013 Mustang football team will be tough OUA competitors once again.
- Number of seasons as head coach with team (including 2013): 7
- Number of seasons as head coach in CIS (including 2013): 14
- Career regular season record with team: 36-12
- Career regular season record in CIS: 78-24-2
- Career overall record with team (reg. season & playoffs only): 44-14
- Career overall record in CIS (reg. season & playoffs only): 103-36-2
Number of returning starters: 8
Key returning players:
QB Will Finch will be returning for his second season behind center and looking to build on his debut 2012 season where he stepped in for Donnie Marshall after an injury. As the nation`s top quarterback recruit in 2011, experience from the 2012 season, and some experience from the Toronto Argonauts 2013 training camp, finch will surely continue to showcase his skills as the starting quarterback for the Mustangs this season.
RB Garret Sanvido will be gearing up for his third year of eligibility and aiming to have another successful season as Mustang running back. In the 2012 season Sanvido earned First-Year All-Canadian honours and became one of the nation’s best back’s last season. Sanvido also rushed for 1,001 yards, and was the only rusher to eclipse the 1 000 yard mark last season.
WR Brian Marshall will be retuning for his fourth season as a Mustang and is coming off of a very successful 2012 season where he was one of the top receivers in CIS football. Marshall racked up 765 yards, 95.6 yards per game, 19.1 yards per catch, and six touchdowns. In addition, Marshall tied a Western record for touchdown receptions in one game when he caught four against Laurier in a 56-3 victory.
RB Yannick Harou returns for his second season as a Mustang. The Gatineau, Quebec native had an impressive 2012 year as a rookie, running for 493 yards and four touchdowns on only 73 touches, averaging a whopping 6.8 yards per carry. Harou was also named the OUA football Rookie of the Year last season for his outstanding performances.
Key recruits or transfers:
OL Eddie Meredith will be transferring to the Mustang team for the 2013 season, after spending a year playing with the NCAA Division One Boston College Eagles. The Toronto native played high school football as St. Andrew’s College where he earned CISSA all-star honours in his final two seasons as a left tackle, and was selected as a GTA All-Star as well.
WR David Mackie will be gearing up in purple and white for his first season with the Mustangs. The first-year Jackson’s Point native has a long list of athletic achievements already as he was named a 2011 & 2012 York Region All-Star, and a 2 time GTA All-Star during his time with the Newmarket Bucs in the Ontario Varsity Football League.
REC Brian Dowds will be joining the Mustang offence in the upcoming season with an impressive list of athletic achievements already tucked under his belt. The Victoria, BC native played for Team BC last season where he played opponents from Europe and the United States. In 2011, Dowds set a provincial record of 14 touchdown receptions in six games, competed in the Youth All-American Bowl, and was a BC AAA All-Star.
QB Donnie Marshall finished his intercollegiate football career last season after spending five years with the Western Mustangs. Marshall will be enrolling in Teacher`s College in the fall and will be assisting Jamie Bone with quarterback coaching for the upcoming season.
OL Shane Bergman turned a strong season in 2012 into a position with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders. The Teeterville, Ontario native joined the Stamps out of training camp after being selected in the sixth round, 48th overall, in this year’s CFL Draft.
Number of returning starters: 9
LB Beau Landry is back for another season and will be looking to build on the 2012 season where he was a dominant force in the Mustangs front seven. Landry recorded 23 solo tackles which placed him third on the team, and helped the Mustangs defence rack up 34 sacks, good for second in the nation.
DE Dylan Ainsworth will be back as a dominant force on the Mustang defensive line for the 2013 season. The British Columbia native had a successful 2012 season as set a new Western record with 9.5 sacks on the year, along with earning 17 solo tackles.
DB Jesse McNair will be joining the Mustang defence for his first intercollegiate season after spending his high school career with the St. Thomas Aquinas Flames. McNair played both sides of the ball with the Flames and led the team to their best season in school history defeating the rival CCH Crusaders in the city championship in 2012. McNair was also named London’s most outstanding player for his play last year. His versatile and instinctive abilities are expected to make an immediate impact to the team as he gears up in the secondary for the Mustangs
DB Nick Vanin joins the Mustangs for their 2013 campaign after a successful Ontario Varsity Football League Career where he played for London’s Catholic Central High School and the Junior Mustangs. Last season Vanin was named to London’s All-Star team and was a key player throughout the Junior Mustangs undefeated championship season.
DB Harold Mutobola finished his intercollegiate career with the Mustangs with a standout 2012 season where he recorded 21 tackles, one interception, and six pass breakups, while also being named a First Team OUA All-Star. During his five seasons as a Western Mustang, Mutobola compiled 39 defensive tackles, one interception, and eight pass breakups. This season, Mutobola began his Canadian Football League career with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, after being signed to a free agent contract earlier this year.
Key returning players: 1
K Lirim Hajrullahu will be returning to the Mustang gridiron for his fifth season and will be looking to continue off of a successful 2012 season that showcased his athletic abilities as he handled both the kicking and punting duties. Hajrullahu went 19-25 on field goals, putting him in sixth for the nation, while also scoring 98 points, averaging 12.2 per game, second in the CIS in both categories. Hajrullahu was also fourth in the country in punting average with 40.6 yards per attempt, earning a nod as the punter on the OUA First-Team All-Star Team.