Earlier this week, Erik Glavic fumbled through an interview in French.
The Calgary Dinos’ star quarterback will get plenty of practice this week in Quebec City.
Glavic and his Dinos teammates booked a ticket to the Vanier Cup with a 35-8 victory over the Atlantic champion Saint Mary’s Huskies in Saturday’s Mitchell Bowl at McMahon Stadium.
“My French is starting to come along. It’s a little broken, but I’m sure I’ll be able to figure it out,” Glavic said with a grin. “Why I play CIS football is for this chance, for the opportunity to get to the Vanier Cup. I’m just really happy and really excited.”
The Dinos will battle the host Laval Rouge et Or, who advanced to the CIS championship football game with a 13-11 win over the Western Mustangs in Saturday’s other national semifinal.
To refresh your memory, the Rouge et Or rolled to a 59-10 rout of an inexperienced Dinos squad in their last meeting at the 2008 Uteck Bowl. The Dinos advanced to the Vanier Cup in Quebec City last fall, gassing an 18-point halftime lead and losing a 33-31 heartbreaker to the Queen’s Gaels.
It’s the first time in school history the football squad has advanced to the national championship contest in back-to-back seasons.
“We’ve been waiting the last 365 days for this next chance,” said Dinos linebacker Andrea Bonaventura. “Laval is a tough opponent, but I think we match up well against them. Our defence is playing really well right now. Our offence is playing well. And most of these guys played on that ’08 team and they took it to us, and I think we wanted to get back there. We want Laval.”
After Saturday’s convincing semifinal win, they’ve got ’em.
The Dinos offence needed some time to warm up in the Mitchell Bowl, with Calgary’s only first-half points coming courtesy Glavic’s 23-yard touchdown strike to slotback Nathan Coehoorn and a single after a missed field-goal.
The Huskies couldn’t even manage that much.
Rookie cornerback Doctor Cassama had a sack, a fumble recovery and an interception, while fellow defensive talent Michael Lau had a pair of picks. Halfback Tye Noble also registered an interception, helping the Dinos pitch a shutout heading into the intermission.
Fifteen minutes in the cozy locker-room at halftime seemed to light a fire under Glavic and the offence.
Operating in the wildcat formation, Dinos’ jack-of-all-trades Steven Lumbala left his feet to get his fingertips on a high snap and then made something out of nothing, spotting a hole and scampering for a 33-yard score early in the third quarter.
Seven minutes later, Coehoorn motored past Huskies defensive back Neil King and watched a perfect spiral from Glavic drop right into his mitts for a 78-yard major.
Speedster Anthony Parker piggybacked a pair of Huskies defenders and snagged a 31-yard offering from Glavic in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.
Kicker Aaron Ifield also booted a couple of field-goals for the Dinos, making amends for two misses in the first half.
The bulk of the credit for this win, though, should go to Calgary’s stingy defensive unit.
There was less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter when the Huskies finally eclipsed the 100-yard mark in total offence. They finished with 257 yards of offence, while the Dinos racked up 406 total yards in the frigid conditions.
“They played amazing,” Coehoorn said of the Dinos defence. “That’s what we’re going to need in the Vanier.”