St.Mary’s and Laval are preparing to fight it out in the 38th edition of the Vanier Cup.

The 38th edition of the Vanier Cup has some familiar faces in it, as the St. Mary’s Huskies prepare to face the Laval Rouge et Or this Saturday, Nov. 22. The meeting is a rematch of the 1999 Vanier Cup in which Laval won 14-10.

For the Huskies, coming to the championship is no big deal. This will be their third Vanier appearance in four years, not to mention that they are back-to-back defending champions.

St. Mary’s is one win away from accomplishing what no team has ever done in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) history-to win three consecutive championships. Last November, the Huskies became only the third team in history to repeat as CIS champions.

Key for St. Mary’s will be the play of quarterback Steve Panella and linebacker Joe Bonaventura. Both are veterans who will be counted upon to provide senior leadership for this very young team.

Laval returns to the Vanier Cup for the second time in the school’s history. Laval has an impressive veteran squad that led the country in both scoring (481 points) and defense (86 points).

Quarterback Mathieu Bertrand will once again lead the Rouge et Or offense. Bertrand established a new CIS record with a 178.11 QB efficiency. He also passed for 2,395 yards and 17 TD passes.

Overall, Laval presents a well-balanced offence, with their running game equally effective as their passing game.

This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for St. Mary’s, so head coach Blake Nill is just “happy to be in the big game.” He also added that with 11 starters graduating, “it leaves the door open for the young kids to play and to continue to build the foundation year-in and year-out.”

Laval head coach Glenn Constantin was excited to be in the Vanier Cup once again, adding “that we have great maturity on this team, and not enough can be said about the play of quarterback Mathieu Bertrand.”

The 38th Vanier Cup will be the second time this season Laval and St. Mary’s will play. In that meeting, Laval crushed St. Mary’s 49-8, giving the Huskies their only loss of the season.

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