Hamilton quarterback part of Vanier Cup victory

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Published December 6, 2021 at 5:38 pm

Hamilton native Evan Hillock helped the Western Mustangs win the Canadian university football championship on Dec. 4. (Ontario University Athletics)

Hamilton native Evan Hillock put himself in impressive Canadian quarterback company last weekend.

The ice that Hillock had his veins was apparently the only thing cooler than the air at the Vanier Cup in Ste-Foy, Que., where his Western Mustangs defeated the Saskatchewan Huskies 27-21 to win the Canadian university football championship. Hillock, a true freshman out of St. Thomas More high school in Hamilton, won the Ted Morris Memorial Trophy as the game’s offensive MVP.

Playing on an ice-covered field, Hillock was 18-of-29 passing for 274 yards and two touchdowns. His two scoring passes in the third quarter helped Western turn a two-point halftime deficit into a 13-point lead that held up through a late Saskatchewan surge. Hillock also thrived despite the absence of all-Canadian slotback and fellow St. Thomas More grad Savaughn Magnaye-Jones, who missed the game with a foot injury.

The last first-year quarterback to be the Vanier Cup’s offensive MVP was Michael O’Connor with the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in 2015. O’Connor has spent two seasons in the Canadian Football League as a quarterback with the Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders.

Western went 8-0 after the 20-year-old Hillock took over behind centre in the fourth game of the season. His regular-season play led to him winning the Norm Marshall Trophy as Ontario University Athletics’ football rookie of the year.

The victory on Saturday enabled Western running back Trey Humes, an Ajax native, to go on top in his final university football game. The Mustangs’ nucleus also included two all-Canadian defensive linemen, rush end Deionte Knight, of Ajax, and tackle Marshall Hinds, of Brampton.

Western has won two of the last four Vanier Cup titles, also winning in 2017 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton. Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall was previously the head coach of the McMaster Marauders (1997-2003) and Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2004-06).

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