Coming into Saturday’s 37th annual Red and Blue Bowl, the forecast didn’t look good for the Varsity Blues football team. It had been 13 years since they defeated their cross-town rival, the York Lions, and laid claim to the Argo Cup. And while the sky remained grey throughout the game, the Varsity Centre field was nothing but blue as Toronto reclaimed the Cup with a 58-7 win against the Lions.
“It feels so good to finally play four quarters of football like this and beat York,” said Blues receiver Mark Stinson. “We finally have this one blowout and that’s what we needed. We needed this for our confidence and for the program.”
Stinson, who shared the Player of the Game honour with Blues quarterback David Hamilton, began the blowout by scoring two touchdowns on Toronto’s first two possessions, including a 79-yard reception.
“Oh, it’s all Dave [Hamilton],” Stinson humbly stated. “I didn’t do anything. He just put [the ball] where it had to be and he did a great job.”
Hamilton shone by throwing four touchdowns and completing 22 of 32 passes for 465 yards.
Head coach Greg DeLaval commended his two star players: “[Hamilton and Stinson] have been here a long time and they impressed today. We needed our senior players to step up and they did the job for sure. And they gave the young guys an opportunity to play today.”
One of those “young guys” was Blues rookie Andrew Lomasney—the kicker who scored the winning field goal in Toronto’s season opener. Lomasney continued to impress on Saturday, scoring three field goals, including a 35-yarder, against the Lions. Yet Lomasney was unaffected by all the attention he has received, and focused more on his team’s future success: “I’m just happy we’re at 2-1 right now and hopefully we can get in the playoffs this year.”
With a 2-1 record, it’s conceivable that the Blues will make the OUA playoffs. If they continue to dominate the field as they did against York, wins against slumping Guelph (1-2) and McMaster (0-3) are possibilities and may be enough for playoff qualification.
While Coach DeLaval is excited about his team’s prospects, he also recognizes the need to improve. “Our philosophy still remains the same,” he explains. “We’re not talking about wins and losses, we’re just talking about getting better […] in every aspect of the game.”
Coach DeLaval is likely looking to the Sept 20 home game against Queen’s. As good as Toronto was against York, they’ll have to improve to contend against the undefeated Gaels. While the Blues passing game on Saturday was exceptional with 499 yards, their rushing game was not up to standards. “We didn’t run the ball very well and we turned the ball over a whole bunch of times,” said Coach DeLaval. “[When] we play Queen’s next week, if we [don’t improve our rushing game], the score will not be the same, we will not win that game.”
Hamilton also acknowledges Queen’s on-field prowess. However, he remains positive about the Blues’ chances against the Gaels. “Coming with momentum from this [win against York] will definitely help us out,” Hamilton said.
And you could definitely feel the momentum as the team, coaches, and fans poured onto the field after the 58-7 win. The celebrations commenced with the Blues hoisting the Argo Cup towards an increasingly graying sky. In that moment, the rain began to fall, soaking the Cup and the team, washing away years of heartbreak and embarrassment, and beginning Toronto’s new reign as Red and Blue Bowl champions.