By Tommy Osborne, September 10 2016 —
The University of Calgary Dinos faced off against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds on September 9, coming out with a decisive 35–8 victory. While the entire team had a stellar performance, here are our top five players who really stood out.
1.Kicker Niko DiFonte
First-year student Niko DiFonte made his home debut against the Thunderbirds at Kickoff. If he was nervous, he definitely didn’t let it show. DiFonte had four kick-offs, three going four yards deep in the endzone and the other resulting in a B.C pin on their own six yard line. He also converted on each of his four conversions and made two of three field goals — not bad for his very first home game!
2. Wide receiver Austen Hartley
Austen Hartley put on a receiving clinic tonight, as he constantly managed to find ways to make big plays. He was a constant threat to convert crucial first downs or burn B.C. for big gains. His early touchdown catch in the first quarter set the pace for what would go on to be a dominant 35-8 performance. He was quarterback Jimmy Underdahl’s go-to man all game — and when targeted, he produced.
3. Wide receiver Denzel Radford
Denzel Radford had a huge 97-yard kickoff return, running the ball to the Thunderbirds 6-yard line. His return set up a touchdown run for Quentin Chown on the very next play, and it also gave the Dinos a huge momentum burst, as they would go on a 21–0 run following the return. The play also came at a critical time, as the Thunderbirds had just scored a touchdown and were looking to try to get back into the game.
4. Running back Quentin Chown
Chown was a constant threat in the backfield and would continue to crank out yards even after initial contact. Chown was able to turn plays that would appear to result in nothing into positive plays, and would often punish the Thunderbirds when only one defender tried to take him down. His strong running boosted the entire team.
5. Defensive back Adam Laurensse
Adam Laurensse, like Radford, made a huge play when his team needed it. After the offence drove down the field and was poised to score a touchdown, the Thunderbirds intercepted the ball. However, the very first Thunderbirds play of the possession following the turnover was intercepted by Laurensse. He made a beautiful play, undercutting the route to intercept the ball and give the Dinos offence possession again. The interception resulted in a DiFonte field goal and stifled any chance the Thunderbirds would have to try and get back in the game.