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Bishop's QB Heather named Hec Crighton winner

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The Canadian Press
11/21/2013 11:00:00 PM
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QUEBEC -- Quarterback Jordan Heather helped turn Bishop's University football around this season and he was rewarded on Thursday night with the Hec Crighton Trophy as Canadian university player of the year.

Heather, the first Gaiter to win the award, set a Canadian Inter-university Sport record with 3,132 passing yards in eight league games, an average of 391.5 yards per game.

That beat the mark of 3,047 set only one week earlier by Western's Will Finch, a Hec Crighton finalist. The previous record of 3,033 was set by Michael Faulds of Western in 2009.

"I always knew I could play at a high level and this year was kind of the culmination of my career," said Heather. "I always told my coaches that I don't care if I throw for 200 yards or 50 yards as long as we win the game.

"I trade all this if I could play in the (Vanier Cup) game on Saturday."

Other Crighton finalists were running backs Mercer Timmis of Calgary and Jordan Botel of Mount Allison. It was the seventh straight year it was won by a quarterback. Kyle Quinlan of McMaster won last year.

Heather's heroics helped the Gaiters (6-2) to second place in the Quebec conference -- after going winless the year before -- and gave the Lennoxville, Que., institution its first home playoff game since 1994.

He set a conference record with 20 touchdown passes and a team record with 199 completions. His totals included throwing for 538 yards in a 46-38 loss to the Laval Rouge et Or, a record against the defending Vanier Cup champions who had the best defence in Canada.

Heather ended his career with Bishop's records for completions (565), attempts (998), yards (7,983) and touchdown passes (50).

Kevin Mackey of Bishop's took home the Frank Tindall Trophy as CIS coach of the year. The 34-year-old engineered a remarkable turnaround for a team that had not won six games in a season since 1993.

He had high praise for Heather.

"He typified the season we had," said Mackey. "I told him at the beginning of the season that we'll probably go as far as he takes us.

"The expectations were high because we knew what type of player we had, but he surpassed everybody's expectations."

Mackey grew up not far from Bishop's in Ascot Corner, Que., and became the university's third Tindall winner after Bruce Coulter and Ian Breck.

Other finalists were Kelly Jeffrey of Mount Allison, Greg Marshall of Western and Blake Nill of Calgary.

Linebacker Pawel Kruba of No. 1-ranked Western won the President's Trophy as defensive player of the year.

The fifth-year Mustang averaged 4.8 tackles per game and had three interceptions.

"It was a special year and a special team," said Kruba.

Other nominees were Doctor Cassama of Calgary, Ron Omara of St. Francis Xavier and Antoine Pruneau of Montreal.

Laurent Duvernay-Tardif of McGill got the J.P. Metras Trophy as lineman of the year. The six-foot-five 305-pound senior is the top-ranked player for the 2014 CFL draft. The Redmen line helped Luis Guimont-Mota lead the Quebec conference in rushing yards.

Other finalists were Jesse St. James of Acadia, Ettore Lattanzio of Ottawa and Donovan Dale of UBC.

"Last year I was first team all-Canadian and this is like taking another step," said Duvernay-Tardif, who is hoping to be invited to the Shrine Bowl to perhaps attract interest from NFL clubs. "My long term goal is medicine, but mid-term is football and I'd like to play in the best league in the world."

McMaster wide receiver Daniel Vandervoort won the Peter Gorman Trophy as rookie of the year. The Barrie, Ont., native was third in the Ontario conference with 31 catches for 594 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games.

He beat out Alex Cormier-Emond of Montreal, Adam Melanson of Acadia and Rashaun Simonise of Calgary.

"Coming in this year I never thought I'd win this award," said Vandervoort, who may have got more playing time because of a rash of injuries on the Marauders this season. "We had huge losses.

"But we tried to battle through it. We had to bring up first and second year players like myself to step up in big games."

Calgary quarterback Andrew Buckley took the Russ Jackson Award for football, academics and citizenship. Buckley took over from injured starter Eric Dzwilewski and led the Dinos to an 8-0 record. He is also a two-time academic all-Canadian who hopes to follow his parents into a career in medicine.

Duvernay-Tardif, Stu Moore of Mount Allison and Aaaron Gazendam of Queen's were finalists.

Buckley was the only player from the Dinos or the Rouge et Or, who will meet Saturday in the Vanier Cup game, to win an award.

However, the Dinos, the Rouge et Or and Western -- the three top-ranked teams -- each placed four players on the all-star team.

Jordan Heather (Photo: Canadian Press)

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(Photo: Canadian Press)
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