Jamie Lalonde was a much heralded recruit that had an extremely successful high school career at Sir Allan MacNab in Hamilton.  After spending his freshman year at another OUA school, Lalonde played and started at center for Laurier from 2014 to 2016.  He was part of an underrated offensive line that lead the way for Dillon Campbell to lead the nation in rushing in 2014 and 2015.  As well, he anchored the group that lead the nation in team rushing yards in 2016.  During that season, he was selected a 2nd team OUA All Star. Most importantly, he won a Yates Cup. Since 2017, Lalonde has been the Offensive Coordinator at Clarkson Football North.

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     Kojo Millington played defensive end for Laurier from 1997 to 2000. In 1999, he was the OUA Lineman of the Year, a 1st Team OUA All Star, and a 1st Team All Canadian. He was also the Team MVP.  In 2000, he was a 1st Team OUA All Star and a 2nd Team All Canadian. He was a Laurier HOF inductee in 2007, and in 2011 he was selected as part of the Laurier Team of the Century.

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The Alexanders were a couple of local guys who had distinguished careers at Laurier. Josh played D-Line from 2000 to 2003 and was a 2nd team OUA All star once and a 1st team OUA All Star twice. Later on, he coached O-Line and special teams at WLU. Jesse played from 2002 to 2006. He was a two time OUA champion and a key member of the 2005 Vanier Cup squad. In 2004, he was a 1st team OUA All Star and a 2nd team All Canadian. In 2006, he was a 1st team OUA and 1st team All Canadian. During that year, he was also selected the Team MVP, the WLU Athlete of the Year, and the OUA Defensive MVP. In 2011, he was inducted into the Laurier Hall of Fame. As if that wasn’t enough, he was selected to the Laurier Team of the Century as well. Jesse is currently in his 2nd stint coaching at WLU after brief stops at York and Windsor. I met  them in 2011 and I consider them both to be good friends. When Jesse left WLU after the 2016 Yates Cup win, I threw a goodbye party for him at the Huether Hotel. Access to the party room was delayed by, of all things, a Nerd Convention! Yes, you read that right!  You can’t make that kind of stuff up! It literally was an event with that specific title.

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In 2011, I started to do some recruiting/scouting for Laurier Football. Driving around the GTA watching football games became a part of my life. A good friend and long- time football teammate of mine Brad Matwijec was coaching football up at King City. He told me I should come out and check out his team. He listed about a half dozen key players who he felt I should come look at. So, that year I probably went to see 3 or 4 of their games and there was some undeniable talent on that team. Sam Montazeri was a punishing linebacker, Darian Waite was a stud tailback who was easily won of the top running backs in the province, Taylor Caverley was a hard-hitting ballhawk at safety and a 2 time York Region Athlete of the Year, and Marcus Arkarakas was a pass catching machine.  Montazeri and Waite started at Laurier in 2012 while Caverley and Arkarakas began their careers at WLU in 2013.  All 4 of them played key roles for the Hawks in helping WLU win a provincial championship in 2016.

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One of the best things about being part of such a large group as a football team is the number of diverse individuals that come together united in a common goal.  Sukhneet Kahlon would be one of the first to admit that you don’t find a lot of guys with his background on the gridiron, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing his dreams.  As a rookie who didn’t get to dress in 2016, he was a part of a Yates Cup Championship team.  Working harder as a sophmore, he got to dress twice, and in his final two years, he became a starter on the offensive line for the Golden Hawks.  Recently, I was lucky to have the chance to talk to him about his playing days at Laurier, his faith, his experiences with racism, and his favourite football team (the Philadelphia Eagles).

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     Hired by legendary Laurier football coach David ‘Tuffy’ Knight, Tom Arnott started his coaching career at WLU in 1983 as the offensive line coach. He later became responsible for recruiting and he was the offensive coordinator for one of the greatest Golden Hawk teams of all time, the 1987 Yates Cup Championship team. He later went on to become the Head Coach at York for ten years and the Head Coach at Guelph for five years. Twice he was honoured as the OUA Coach of the Year. I have known Tom for 14 years. I first met Tom in 2006 when he took my job, but more about that later.

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Shamawd Chambers played Wide Receiver for Laurier from 2008 to 2011. He caught 123 passes for 15 touchdowns during the regular season. He was three time OUA All Star.  After that, he played 6 seasons in the CFL catching 169 passes and another 8 touchdowns.  In 2015, he missed most of the season due to injury, but he recovered in time to play a key role in Edmonton’s Grey Cup victory that year.  Another injury unexpectedly cut his career short just prior to the 2018 season.  2011 was his last year at Laurier, but it was my first year assisting with the team, so I really didn’t get much of a chance to know him. Happily, 9 years later I got the chance to learn more about him.

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Andre Talbot starred at Wide Receiver for Laurier from 1997 to 2000.  In his final two seasons, he was a 1st Team All Canadian & OUA All Star.  In 2000, he was also the team MVP.  Six years later, he was inducted in to the Laurier Hall of Fame.   In 2001, Talbot was drafted in the 5th round by the Toronto Argos.  Early in his career, he persevered through serious injuries and ultimately played ten seasons in the CFL with 288 career receptions and 18 touchdowns He was also a Grey Cup Champion in 2004.  I had met Andre at a Laurier training camp a couple of years ago.  Last summer, I asked him if he could work with my high school team for one day in July and he graciously agreed to come out to Mississauga to work with a group of very raw players.  Andre is a deep, thoughtful, inspirational individual and it was a pleasure to talk to him.  Among other things, it turns out we both have a ‘thing’ for waterfalls.

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In 2011, the top 3 rushers at WLU combined for less than 800 yards during the entire season.  In 2012, the top rusher for Laurier was QB Travis Eman with 228 yards.  Including him, the top 4 rushers combined for less than 700 yards during the entire season.  Those two years were Dillon Campbell’s first two years at Laurier.  He didn’t play much as a freshman and he had some injury problems in his 2nd year.  After two seasons, he only had a total of 30 carries for 128 yards.  In 2013, it was Coach Faulds’ first season at Laurier.  In the next three regular seasons, Campbell ran for 867, 1458 and 1115 yards to become the leading rusher in Laurier history.  Just recently, Campbell was announced as a 2020 Laurier Athletics Hall of Fame inductee in his first year of eligibility.  In fact, the day the announcement was made public, I just so happened to be scheduled to interview him. 

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