If the University of Calgary Dinos manage to hoist the Vanier Cup later this month, the fingerprints of three players and one coach with Kelowna ties will be all over it.
Josiah Joseph, Brennan Van Nistelrooy and Matt Carson have all played a role this season in the Dinos’ quest for the 2016 CIS football championship.
This Saturday at MacMahon Stadium in Calgary, the Dinos will host the St. Francis Xavier X-men in the Mitchell Bowl.
The winner will advance to the Vanier Cup championship Nov. 26 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.
Joseph, a Mt. Boucherie grad, and Van Nistelrooy are both in their first seasons with the Dinos after playing for the Okanagan Sun in 2015.
Carson, who played three seasons with the KSS Owls high school program, is in his fourth season on the Dinos’ D-line.
Carson is the son of Paul Carson, the former Okanagan Sun president, who took over coaching the Dinos’ offensive line in mid-season.
Paul also coached with the Dinos from 1990 to 2000, winning a Canadian title in 1995.
Joseph, who played two seasons with the Sun, has been the backup to Adam Sinagra and has been used often in short yardage situations.
In the Canada West semifinal two weeks ago against Saskatchewan, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound quarterback rushed six times for 23 yards and scored a touchdown, while also completing two passes for 21 yards.
For Joseph, the step up to university ball has been everything—and a little bit more—that the Boucherie grad had envisioned.
“It’s been great,” said Joseph, 20, who is enrolled in the kinesiology program at U of C.
“We’ve had a crazy year, a lot of really close games, but we’ve found a way to win them. We’re a team that’s had to fight and scrap for everything.”
“It’s a great team to be a part of, a blessing, it’s all about family and working together,” he added.
“For me personally, it’s been a great learning experience, on and off the field.
Van Nistelrooy, who was an all-Canadian last season with the Sun, was an immediate fit for the Dinos. When healthy, he was their starting safety.
The 23-year-old from Lethbridge picked off two passes, scored a touchdown and made 18 tackles before being injured.
He also punted 30 times for a 35.4-yard average.
Van Nistelrooy has been sidelined for the playoffs, but hopes to be ready for Saturday’s game.
Carson has been both a starter and part of the defensive line rotation throughout the 2016 season.
The 6-foot-4, 250 lb Kelowna product recorded eight solo tackles, seven assisted tackles and a pair of quarterback sacks.