HAMILTON — After having the start of his pro football career put on hold, Felix Faubert-Lussier’s season has come full circle.
Faubert-Lussier started the year with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but the receiver and kicker tweaked his hip flexor during training camp while attempting a field goal. He decided that his best option would be to go back to Universite Laval for his fifth and final year of eligibility.
The decision has worked out and the 25-year-old now finds himself back in Hamilton for a different reason, as the Rouge et Or try for a ninth Vanier Cup title when they face the Calgary Dinos on Saturday afternoon at Tim Hortons Field.
“It’s been kind of up and down for sure,” Faubert-Lussier said Thursday. “Being drafted was a big highlight of my football career but to get hurt and not being able to play a CFL game, a CFL down in a game, was kind of tough.
“But I think I made the right choice of going back to Quebec and I told myself that … the most important thing is playing in games so I was just happy to go back and have the opportunity to play football in 2016.”
Saturday will be first time the Rouge et Or play in a Vanier Cup title game since 2013, when they beat Calgary in Quebec City.
Laval has continued its powerhouse ways in 2016 and carried the country’s No. 1 ranking for three weeks. The Rouge et Or breezed past the Laurier Golden Hawks 36-6 last Saturday on their home field to capture the Uteck Bowl and earn a 10th appearance at the Vanier Cup.
Faubert-Lussier had four receptions in the win over Laurier for 86 yards and a touchdown. He added two field goals to earn the game’s MVP honours.
It was the first time the Montreal native had kicked since July and first time he’d kicked in a game since a pre-season matchup against the Dinos in 2014.
With regular kicker Dominic Levesque struggling in the conference final against Montreal, Laval head coach Glen Constantin turned to Faubert-Lussier against Laurier. Faubert-Lussier says that he’s accustomed to playing two roles after doing it through both high school and CEGEP. He also occasionally filled in for now-Montreal Alouettes kicker Boris Bede when he played for the Rouge et Or.
“I started playing soccer at three-years-old, so kicking is kind of natural for me,” Faubert-Lussier said. “It wasn’t really a big deal.”
Faubert-Lussier is just one of many assets that Laval has at its disposal as it tries to improve to 5-0 all-time against Calgary. Quarterback Hugo Richard was 16-of-24 for 191 yards and two touchdowns in the Uteck Bowl while also running in a TD on seven carries.
Constantin says that he has no trouble in letting his quarterback scramble against the Dinos, who were one of the top defences in both the Canada West and U Sports.
“He is a very mobile, very competitive quarterback so now there’s no more Saturday, this is the last Saturday so we’re going to let it all hang out this week more than we usually do,” Constantin said.
While the 52nd Vanier Cup will be Richard’s first, Faubert-Lussier is playing in his third for the Rough et Or after winning in 2012 and 2013.
Faubert-Lussier, who’s committed to attending Tiger-Cats training camp again in 2017, isn’t a player that will deliver a big speech, but hopes that he’s been able to lead his Laval teammates by example.
“It’s going to be a great matchup, I don’t really need a whole lot of motivation for this game,” he said.
“It’s at home for me in front of a great city of football.”