With the year coming to a close, it’s time to reflect on the incredible 2016 OUA season. In 2016, fans saw a new Yates Cup champion crowned. Football programs flourished, leaving a couple new surprises along the way, while others made substantial progress in their return to contender status. A perennial powerhouse was upset, rivalries were renewed, while others were created. Ranging from huge blowouts to games boiling down to the wire, 2016 saw many defining moments for each football program in Ontario. Here are LastWordOnUSportsFootball‘s top five 2016 OUA football season moments.
The Top Five 2016 OUA Season Moments
5. York’s 2-1 Start
The York Lions were the surprise of the year to everyone in the OUA. For the longest time the Lions were trying to get a single win in any given year after a long rough patch. In 2016, the Lions got everyone’s attention with the sibling receiver combination of Brett and Colton Hunchak. After demolishing the Waterloo Warriors to start the year and a tough loss to the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks, York was able to pull out a big win against Windsor with their second scoring more than 55-points. Hunchak finished the season passing for 2,085-yards and 12 touchdowns.
4. Windsor beats Guelph
Guelph went all the way to the Mitchell Bowl in 2015 while Windsor was coming off of a disappointing campaign, going 2-6. The week two match-up was one for the ages as Windsor came back to beat the Guelph Gryphons in the Lancers’ most memorable victory of 2016, Beating the #6 ranked defending Yates Cup Champs by a score of 33-29.
3. Carleton upsets Western
The Carleton Ravens arrival to the OUA was finally made official when they knocked off Western at the beginning of the regular season. After a surprise appearance in the OUA playoffs in their third season, the Ravens outlasted perennial contender Western Mustangs in their first victory over the purple ponies, 38-31.
2. Panda bowl Sellout
23,000 fans were in attendance this year at the Panda Bowl. About 16,000 more than the national championship Vanier Cup in Hamilton. Ottawa was a hot bed this year for football, with the Ottawa Redblacks earning a Grey Cup victory and both Ottawa and Carleton nationally-ranked coming into the revived annual game made for an instant classic. Carleton emerged victorious over the Gee-Gees for the nation’s capital bragging rights. #10 Carleton came away with the win by score of 43-23 against undefeated and #7 ranked Ottawa.
1. Laurier’s Yates cup comeback
It was a rough year for Western. Despite holding a 40-19 lead in the fourth quarter of the Yates Cup and another national semifinal appearance on the line, the Mustangs fell apart in the game’s final minutes. Laurier quarterback Michael Knevel threw three touch down passes in the final quarter to tie the game before setting up a game winning field goal. The craziness wasn’t just the Golden Hawks late game passing. Up 7-points late Western fumbled the ball trying to execute a double reverse. The ball was recovered by Laurier, setting up the game tying score. With one second remaining on the clock, Nathan Mesher kicked a 25-yard field goal to win the game as time expired.