The University of Toronto Varsity Blues entered the 2012 season hoping to prove that they are a fresh, competitive team and they did just so by shutting out the visiting Laurier Golden Hawks 19–0 in their home opener at Varsity Stadium. An enthusiastic crowd of close to 5,000 fans watched Toronto’s first victory over Laurier since 1996.
In his first game as the starter, sophomore quarterback Richard Quittenton (who talked to The Varsity about his hopes for the season over the summer) led the Blues to two rushing touchdowns en route to completing 16 of 25 passes for 157 yards. “I was nervous before the game, said Quittenton, “I wasn’t thinking about my first pass or getting a touchdown, I just wanted to win.”
The quarterback’s first completion came on the Blues second possession when he found third year wide receiver Alex Pierzchalski for a gain of eight yards. Pierzchalski proved to be Quittenton’s primary target on the day, ending the game leading the team with seven receptions for 72 yards. Freshman running back Ashton Nelson from Brampton also left his mark, rushing for a hard fought 121 yards between the tackles in his first OUA start.
The defense, which lost starting linebacker Wilkerson DeSouza and defensive back Willie Sharpe in the offseason, refused to bend under the Laurier pressure. The unit held the Golden Hawks to 83 rushing yards and allowed Laurier quarterback Travis Eman only eight completions in 27 attempts. The Blues’ defensive effort was led by John Connors and Spenser Stewart, who each had five tackles.
The Blues looked especially impressive on special teams, pressuring the Golden Hawks all game and forcing a muffed punt and a field goal, which was blocked by Toronto’s Kevin Kinahan.
It’s only the first game in a tough schedule, but starting the season with such a decisive victory offers hope that the Blues will be competitive this year. “We see this as just another football game in our 2012 season and we have seven more to go,” notes U of T coach Greg Gary.
At the moment, anything seems possible for this team. “It’s a nice start to the season,” Quittenton admits.