By: Lauren Breadner
It may not have been the season the Lancers Football team was hoping for, but the graduating players of the Lancers football team are pleased with their journey.
On Saturday, October 21, the Lancers Football program had their final football game of the 2017 season against York University Lions. Head Coach Joe D’Amore honoured seven graduating players before the game; Brett Broersma, Darby Bradley, Matt Gayer, Lekan Idowu, Kevin Limbombe, Jake Lindley, and Marcel Ugoh.
“I love seeing the kids graduate after their four or five years in the program,” Coach D’Amore says to each of his athletes. “We get these athletes as 17 or 18 year-olds and it’s great to see them grow up, mature, and become men.”
Most of the graduating athletes were part of the Lancers Football program when the team appeared in four straight playoffs starting in 2011. Matt Gayer, Lancers graduating defensive back, is among them.
“My favourite moment as a Lancer would have to be my first start,” Gayer reflected. “My first start ever was in our playoff game at Guelph in a position I was new too. I had a good game and it is a great memory with my teammates.”
Gayer has been a huge asset for the Lancers Football team since his rookie year. This season, Gayer is ranked first in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) for solo tackles and fourth in the OUA for tackles per game.
“I think I am going to miss the life the most,” Gayer said. “[Football] has been such a part of my life and everything I have done has revolved around being an athlete here.”
Similarly, senior Jake Lindley, Lancers graduating defensive back, will miss being a part of a brotherhood but is looking forward to a new chapter of his life.
“Definitely the locker room with all of the guys,” Lindley stating what he will miss most about being a Lancer. “The relationships that you make, the family you make. I will miss the comradery the most.”
The Lancers went 1-7 during their 2017 season, but the graduating players are not worried about the future of the Lancers Football program.
“I think the program is really good,” Lindley said. “They are going to have a big recruiting class coming in next year so it will be exciting to see what the young players can do. I believe in coach D’Amore.”
As for the future of the Lancers graduating players, they have set their goals high.
“My first goal is to play in the CFL [Canadian Football League],” Gayer says. “It has always been my dream and something that I am actively pursuing.”
Coach D’Amore clearly had an impact on his athletes as well. Gayer and Lindley both want to become high school or varsity football coaches one day.
“[Coach D’Amore] has helped me along the way with pointers and experience that will help me become a coach later in my life,” Lindley explained about the impact coach D’Amore has had on his future career aspirations.
With the 2017 season wrapped up and the graduating players ready for their next steps, coach D’Amore looks forward to what the next few seasons have in store for his football program. He is sad to see them go, but he hopes his athletes will keep in touch because “once a Lancer, always a Lancer.”
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