Photo by Mariah Wilson

Dinos stomp T-Birds in record-setting Kickoff game

By Kristy Koehler, September 7 2018 —

The rivalry between the University of Calgary Dinos and the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds was on full display at Kickoff on Sept. 7. A rematch of last year’s Hardy Trophy final, this year’s edition of the annual home-opener provided the near-6,000-person crowd with plenty of excitement.

The Dinos took an early lead when quarterback Adam Sinagra connected with receiver Tyson Philpot for a 62-yard touchdown. The T-Birds got on the board in the second quarter but the Dinos held them to 7 points. Kicker Niko DiFonte, last year’s Hardy Trophy hero with his game-winning field goal, was good from 40 yards twice over, extending the Dinos lead to 247.

There was cautious optimism on the sidelines as players urged their teammates to keep fighting to widen the gap. In football, it takes a commanding lead to feel comfortable  fortunes can reverse quickly, perhaps more than in any other sport.

That commanding lead came as the Dinos continued to build momentum, connecting on pass after pass. Sinagra, named a U Sports Player of the Week after his triple-touchdown performance on the road against the Regina Rams last week, was a dominant presence on the field once again, throwing for 372 yards and five touchdowns. In the process of dominating the T-Birds, rookie receiver Tyson Philpot scored a 107-yard touchdown, the longest in U of C history.

Coming into the season, Canada West coaches ranked UBC as the top team in the conference. The Dinos and T-Birds have faced off in the last three Hardy Trophy battles, with the Dinos besting them in two out of three close-scoring games.

That wasn’t the case at Kickoff, as this year’s first meeting between the teams saw the Dinos absolutely obliterate the T-Birds, the game ending with a score of 577. Granted, two All-Canadian players — receiver Trivel Pinto and defensive lineman Connor Griffiths — did not suit up for the T-Birds, though it’s doubtful their presence would have made up the 50-point deficit.

Offensive lineman Carter Comeau says despite the resounding win tonight, the team won’t get complacent. He says they’ll practice as hard as they always do and look to focus on their next game, a Sept. 14 visit to the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, the only team other than the Dinos to remain undefeated in the Canada West conference. Comeau said there were a few standouts tonight, among them running back Jeshrun Antwi, who gained 76 rushing yards, record-setting receiver Tyson Philpot and his brother Jalen, as well as the entire defense.

“A huge, huge thumbs up for the defense. They were stellar tonight. They did really, really well,” he said.

The Dinos are set to meet the Thunderbirds one more time during the regular season, on the road in Vancouver on Sept. 22. What happens then remains to be seen, but after tonight, expect a Dino-sized shift in the Canada West power rankings.

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