Waterloo Region Record
WATERLOO — When the Laurier Golden Hawks knock helmets with the Laval Rouge et Or in Saturday’s national football semifinal, they will play for more than a berth in the Vanier Cup.
They are also playing for the chance to bring a piece of school history home.
The Uteck Bowl is named for Laurier’s former all-star defensive back Larry Uteck, who helped his team capture a second straight Ontario conference title in 1973.
Uteck went on to play for the Canadian Football League’s Toronto Argos before he became one of the most successful coaches in Atlantic conference history.
He led the Saint Mary’s Huskies to three Vanier Cup appearances and seven conference titles during his 15-year run with the Halifax school.
Uteck also served as SMU’s athletic director, was a Halifax city councillor, deputy mayor and led a campaign to clean up the city’s harbour.
The Order of Canada recipient died of Lou Gehrig’s disease in 2002.
The following season, the Churchill Bowl was renamed in Uteck’s honour.
Laurier has its name etched on the Uteck Bowl once, having captured the trophy in 2005 with a 31-10 decision over Acadia en route to the national title.
Saturday’s Uteck Bowl, a 12:30 p.m. start from Quebec City, will be televised live by Sportsnet360.
•Grid Hawks dominate weekly awards
It was a clean sweep for the Laurier Golden Hawks of the conference’s weekly football player awards.
Hawks quarterback Michael Knevel, linebacker Nakas Onyeka and kicker Nathan Mesher were named the Ontario University Athletics conference’s offensive, defensive and special-teams players of the week, respectively.
The trio was instrumental in leading the Hawks to an epic last-second 43-40 comeback victory over the homefield Western Mustangs in Saturday’s Yates Cup.
Knevel engineered the biggest fourth-quarter rally in Yates history, throwing three touchdown passes in the final eight minutes as Laurier stunned the Mustangs who led 40-19 with 11:23 in the conference championship.
Onyeka recorded 8.5 tackles, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble to set up Laurier’s game-tying drive.
In addition to the winning field goal with no time left on the clock, Mesher, a Sir John A. Macdonald grad from Waterloo, kicked five field goals Saturday to tie a team record.