CIS Football Report (Conference Finals)

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There are going to be a lot of familiar faces in the national playoffs this year as the CIS season has officially arrived at the bowl games.

The conference finals were interesting as the dominant performances were not there and every team had to fight their way into the national semi-finals.

That is the way it should be as the CIS continues to become a league where teams are only getting closer and better making it far more difficult for the old dominant teams.

This week there were a number of teams back in a position that they have become familiar with as many were back in the championship that they had already won before.

In the West the Calgary Dinos were back in the finals for another year, continuing their eight-year streak in the Hardy Trophy Finals.

They were hoping to see a different result than the last two years though as they had dropped both of the last two championship games.

They got the chance at some revenge this time around as they were set to face-off against the team that beat them a year ago in the UBC Thunderbirds.

It wasn’t an easy game as the Dinos got out to an early lead only to see the T-Birds climb back into the game in the second half.

UBC didn’t have enough though as they couldn’t find those last few points with the Dinos holding on to win the Hardy Trophy, their sixteenth, and getting back to the national playoffs.

They then looked to the east coast to see where they would be travelling for the Mitchell Bowl with a chance to see their tenth trip to the Vanier Cup.

The Loney Bowl wasn’t much of a mystery though as it was one of the least exciting games of the weekend.

The StFX X-Men had already separated themselves from the pack in the AUS rising to the top of the division easily.

They continued that pattern in the finals as the Mount Allison Mounties took an early lead but the X-Men never faltered slowly building a lead while keeping the Mounties at bay.

The X-Men took their second straight Jewett Trophy and will play host to the Dinos in the Mitchell Bowl next weekend with a chance to end the pattern of the AUS getting outplayed in the national playoffs every year.

The Mitchell Bowl will see familiar teams involved as a dominant western team faces the latest two-time AUS champion.

It is only half of the equation though as the old rivalry between Ontario and Quebec is set to face-off in the Uteck Bowl.

The RSEQ was going to send a usual suspect regardless of who won the Dunsmore Cup as the two-time champion, Montreal, was set to defend their title against the thirteen-time champion, Laval.

Over the last few years, Montreal had been able to take the title over their rivals and the most dominant program in the country.football-sidebar

The Rouge et Or were trying to get back on top after winning this game eleven times in a row before Montreal took over.

One way or another the team making it to the national playoffs has had plenty of experience on the national stage.

One of the biggest rivalries in the country did not disappoint either as Montreal came out early only to see Laval come back and take the lead by halftime.

The battle continued and the Carabins led their rivals into the fourth quarter until Laval kicked a field goal inside the last minute to take the lead for good and return to the national stage.

For the entire weekend, it seemed like a familiar group of teams was going to face-off in the national playoffs but then came the OUA final.

The Yates Cup had a chance to produce a familiar team as the Western Mustangs were back in the finals looking for their 31st title.

They were playing the Laurier Golden Hawks who were one of the biggest surprises this year and who hadn’t won an OUA title since 2005.

It looked like the experienced program was going to take over as they got ahead early but the Hawks weren’t giving up, tying it before the half then seeing the Mustangs take-off again.

Laurier once again fought back and eventually kicked a field goal on the last play of the game to take the win and become one of the few new teams in the national playoffs.

The Uteck and Mitchell Bowls are sure to be interesting as there are two programs who have been playing in these games for the better part of the last decade.

Meanwhile, the other two are not as familiar with these type of games but none of that really matters when the lights come on for the national playoffs.

Anything can happen in a league that has at the same time seemed familiar and brand new with four teams left to fight for the Vanier Cup.

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