Waterloo Warriors quarterback Tre Ford named winner of Hec Crighton Trophy

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QUEBEC — Waterloo Warriors quarterback Tre Ford was named the top player in Canadian university football Thursday night.

Ford captured the Hec Crighton Trophy, given annually to the outstanding player in U Sports football. The six-foot-one, 192-pound native of Niagara Falls, Ont., completed 118-of-186 passes (63.4 per cent) for 1,465 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Ford was a dual threat, finishing fourth among U Sports rushers with 629 yards in six games with three TD. He average 10.7 yards per carry, the top average in Canadian university football and twice was OUA's most valuable player.

"Winning the Hec Crighton award cements Tre's legacy in Warriors football history as arguably the greatest of all-time," said Waterloo head coach Chris Bertoia. "With this award he is the first Waterloo Warrior to ever win it, and he is the first Black quarterback to ever win it.

"It's been an honour to have the opportunity to coach Tre. He is a tremendous person, quarterback, and teammate. He can and will be successful in whatever he puts his mind to. Our team, coaching staff, and football alumni can't wait to see what is next for Tre."

The other award winners were Alberta linebacker Josiah Schakel (President's Trophy, top defensive player), Western defensive end Deionte Knight (J.P. Metras, top down lineman), Concordia receiver Jaylan Greaves (Peter Gorman Trophy, top rookie), Queen's coach Steve Snuder (Fox 40 coach of the year), Guelph's Michael MacDonald (Gino Fracas Awards, top volunteer coach) and Ottawa defensive lineman Francis Perron (Russ Jackson Award for excellence in football, academics and citizenship) who died earlier this year.

Knight had a U Sports-leading 7.5 sacks this season with 19 tackles. He also returned a fumble recovery 12 yards for a touchdown in Western's regular-season finale versus Windsor.

"Deionte deserves this award, " said Western head coach Greg Marshall. "He's had a great work ethic here and he is a leader on our team.

"He's gotten better every single week this year and I am proud of what Deionte has accomplished this year."

Schakel registered a Canada West-high 51.5 tackles in six games with Alberta, adding four sacks eight tackles for a loss, and three forced fumbles. Schakel is a two-time Academic All-Canadian studying at the highly competitive Alberta School of Business and was his conference's nominee for the Russ Jackson Award.

"Even more impressive than Josiah's presence on the field however is his impact on our team as a leader and his impact on our community through his service. Josiah is a team captain and has been a tremendous source of leadership in our program since his arrival," said Alberta head coach Chris Morris. "The integrity, hard work, and dedication he displays daily give him profound credibility and effectiveness as a leader on our team."

The six-foot-two, 170-pound Greaves had 27 catches for 605 yards and five TDs in eight games for Concordia. He finished fifth in U Sports in total receiving yards, fifth in touchdowns and first in average yards per catch (22.4).

“Jaylan is competitive. That’s the biggest thing when describing him,” said Concordia head coach Brad Collinson. “His accomplishments in his first year of university football are remarkable. Every game he made a big play. He had a lot of clutch plays when we needed them and he was consistent all season long.”

Perron was a three-time academic All-Canadian and died following Ottawa's first game versus Toronto in September. He was posthumously granted his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering (co-op) by the University of Ottawa this fall.

“Francis was an outstanding person, teammate, and veteran leader that made us better in every way possible. Francis was the ultimate leader,” said Gee-Gees head coach Marcel Bellefeuille. “He did everything by example. He was excellent in every area of his life and we’re all better for having known him.”

In 2019, Perron had 14 tackles (2.5 for a loss), a sack, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Snyder led Queen's to 6-0 record in the OUA Eastern Division. The Gaels allowed just 7.3 points against per game and three touchdowns in the regular season.

"I've worked with some great assistant coaches in my time as a coach at this level, some really special ones, including our current staff. I'd like to thank you guys all for everything you do because the 2021 coaching staff of the year award goes to Queen's Football. A group that takes pride in the process of football, working together, and enjoying every moment. What a special group,” said Snyder.

"Our players, the true award winners here. Just a tremendous group of young men from across the country. Truly high-character individuals who care deeply about the tradition of our program and are working hard to cement their legacy. It's an honour to serve in a leadership role here at Queen's Football for you guys."

MacDonald completed his 11th season with the Gryphon and is a retired member of the RCMP. He has helped nine Guelph offensive linemen reach the CFL during his tenure.

“Coach MacDonald is one of the classiest coaches I have ever had the privilege to work with. He is truly deserving of this award, and myself and the entire Gryphon football family are thrilled that he is being recognized with the Gino Fracas Award as Volunteer Coach of the Year,” said Guelph head coach Ryan Sheahan. “Mike is somebody who works very hard to make sure his players are always at their best and his professionalism is surpassed only by his passion for his student-athletes.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 2, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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