Photo C/O David Moll
On Nov. 16, the University of Calgary Dinos crushed the Marauders’ Vanier Cup aspirations in a crushing 30-17 loss. However, all hope is not lost. This was quarterback Andreas Dueck’s first full year as a starter and the fact that he was able to lead the team this far is a promising sign for the future.
While the Marauders will lose some key pieces to their team next year, they may be able to tap into the skills of younger players to repeat their success of this season. For example, long-time starting running back Jordan Lyons will be graduating next year. However, the men’s team also has third-year running back Justice Allin, who averaged an astounding 7.2 yards per carry over the season on 48 attempts. Allin’s stats jump off the sheet, indicating that he may be more than capable if tasked with taking over Lyons’ lead-back duties.
“I feel like I’m ready for it, I just have to get back in the gym and build up the body for it. He’s [Lyons] taught me a lot since he’s been here. I’ve been here for three years, and he’s more of the inside runner kind of guy and I was less of that my first two years, but with him being the leader that he is he’s kind of showed me the ropes of it. He’s helped me create a better inside run game for myself, so I see myself definitely taking over that role hopefully,” said Allin.
Allin is a do-it-all type back. In the three games that Allin played in for the 2018-2019 season, he averaged four receptions per game. In the 2019-2020 season, Allin was also the kick returner on 17 out of the 22 kickoffs returned by the Marauders.
While these stats are important, they do not match the valuable relationships he has with his teammates, including the Marauders’ leading receiver Tommy Nield and quarterback Dueck, who Allin immediately suggested come along when we reached out to get an interview from Allin. Along with Allin, Dueck and Nield are, individually and collectively, key strengths of the Marauders’ team.
Along with Allin, Dueck and Nield are, individually and collectively, key strengths of the Marauders’ team.
“We all came in as strangers. We knew of each other coming in through social media and football out of school. Coming into first year we hit it off and since, we’ve been good buds and we spend a lot of time together outside of football which has definitely contributed to our success on the field, and I can see that continuing to grow throughout the years,” Allin said.
Dueck competed with another quarterback Jackson White for the starting position last year, but this year Dueck won the starting job. After he earned the starting role Dueck greatly improved, throwing for 15 touchdowns and 2431 yards compared to five touchdowns and 1458 yards last year.
“It’s definitely been really good for me, just having that trust from the coaches, knowing that they have your back and that they’re going to fight for you is big,” Dueck said.
Dueck has greatly improved this season, with the help of the Marauder’s coaching staff. Still, he acknowledges that there will always be ways that he can challenge himself to be better.
“I want to make better decisions every game, that’s something I want to improve. Eliminating those interceptions, with better decision-making that will come. I attribute a lot of success this year to the coaching staff. They got me prepared really well and we had a great team around us,” Dueck said.
Nield, the aforementioned top receiver and second-team Ontario University Athletics all-star, will be returning next year. This bodes well for the team’s future success. Nield has been Dueck’s favourite target on the field for the past two seasons. The connection that this duo has on the field will continue to threaten defences around the province.
“I mean [Nield] is a beast, he needs to get the ball straight up. When you’re that good you kind of attract the ball, he’s a great guy and I love hanging out with him,” said Dueck.
Even though the season didn’t end in the way the team hoped, getting to the Mitchell Bowl is still quite impressive and has left the team hungry for more. Going into next year, the team will have the confidence they need to be able to take the OUA by storm.
“There’s definitely going to be a lot of hype for it next year coming off a Yates and going to a Mitchell bowl but I feel like our team lives up to the hype and we are the hype. I’m excited for next year,” said Allin.