Segin brothers get their kicks from Mac-Laurier rivalry

Photo: Kha Vo

Christine Rivet
Waterloo Region Record

WATERLOO, ON — Family loyalty will have to wait for the Segin brothers.

Darcy (Wilfrid Laurier) and Dana Segin (McMaster) are the opposing kicking coaches for the combatants in an Ontario University Athletics football semifinal on Saturday.

They haven’t compared notes this week. They haven’t placed any side bets. They actually haven’t even spoken to each other.

It’s nothing personal, the brothers say.

“With what’s on the line, family is family, but this is work,” said Darcy, a former kicker for the Northern Football Conference’s Oakville Longhorns, in his second season directing the Golden Hawk kickers.

“Life gets in the way,” shrugged Dana, the Marauders’ longtime kicking coach and a former kicker for both the CFL’s Hamilton Ticats and Toronto Argos.

Life and football. They are pretty much the same commodity for the brothers who grew up launching balls into the stratosphere from the field behind their Oakville high school.

Both men are keenly aware that when two evenly-matched opponents like Laurier and Mac square off to contest an elimination football game, things quite often are decided by a decisive game-winning kick.

Darcy, 56 and a decade older than Dana, includes himself on the long list of students to have learned the craft of putting a rounded foot on an oval ball with accuracy and distance from his brother.

For years, the Brothers Segin worked together at kicking clinics on McMaster’s campus and even coached together with junior football’s Hamilton Hurricanes.

Elite football is a small community in these parts and so it’s not surprising the Segins have been reunited on the gridiron. Well, sort of.

The battle lines sometimes get a little blurry in football. Heck, even McMaster’s head coach Greg Knox is a Laurier grad who helped the Hawks win a Vanier Cup in 1991.

When Darcy, a sales rep in the safety industry who lives in Scotland, Ont., applied for the vacant kicking coach’s job at Laurier, his references were the Marauders’ football coaches.

“It’s a cool connection,” said Dana, a Mississauga-based account executive for an industrial supplier. “I’m happy Darcy got an opportunity at Laurier. During the football season, we didn’t get much of a chance to chat — probably not a lot to read into there.”

Darcy said Laurier plans to deploy The Two Nathans on Saturday.

Hawk place-kickers Nathan Mesher (Waterloo Sir John A. Macdonald) and Nathan McLean (Kitchener St. Mary’s) will divide the kicking duties on Saturday.

Mesher, who led the conference with 17 field goals in his sophomore season in 2015, is coming back from a leg injury suffered in a loss to Western earlier this year. He will look after punting and place-kicking Saturday.

McLean, Laurier’s insurance policy, will handle Saturday’s kickoffs.

“I feel confident. If it comes down to a field goal late in the game, Mesh is the guy,” said Darcy. “Mesh loves the spotlight. He tells me every practice that’s what he is hoping for. When the game is on the line, he wants the opportunity to show what he can do.”

McMaster counters with its sensational freshman place-kicker and punter.

Burlington native Adam Preocanin set a school record with 24 field goals this season and was second in conference scoring with 99 points. He also nailed a clutch 50-yard field goal against Western on Oct. 22.

“Adam is a special kicker, his whole demeanour,” said Dana, who coached former Canadian university record holder Tyler Crapigna at Mac, now a standout with the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders.

“Adam is so focused. He tries to get better every practice. He works so hard at developing good habits.”

Once things are decided, the Segins said they will likely share an on-field hug during the postgame handshakes. But don’t count on much more at least until well after the season.

“Win or lose, he’s still my brother,” said Dana. I’m not sure what is going to happen after the game. Hopefully, it’s us having a game-prep meeting for the Yates Cup with our coaching staff.

“We aren’t playing,” added the Mac coach. “We are just working with our kids. It’s all about them. I’m sure Darcy feels the same way.”

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