Recap: Bombers’ names went to CFL Awards


HAMILTON – On the heels of an 11-3 season that has separated them from the rest of the field, it’s no surprise that the Winnipeg Blue Bombers also topped the 2021 CFL Awards.

Quarterback Zach Collaros was named the league’s MVP, while Stanley Bryant was named the MVP. Linebacker Adam Bighill took home the honors for best defensive player and Mike O’Shea took home his first-ever Coach of the Year award. The Bombers got a perfect 4-4 record in their nominations and award wins Friday night at the Hamilton Convention Center.

“It was an incredible race,” Collaros said after winning the award.

“The process is not over. We won awards tonight… but all that matters is Sunday. We have our eyes on it. “

Two BC Lion linebackers, Bo Lokombo and Jordan Williams, were named Most Outstanding Canadian and Most Outstanding Rookie, respectively.

Ottawa REDBLACKS sensational returner DeVonte Dedmon has been named the league’s special teams MVP.

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TSN’s Kate Beirness hosted and brought in a ballroom full of players and their families, as well as fans broadcast live on CFL.ca all night long, with frontline workers from Hamilton helping out with the awards show.

“You always envision the best and it’s pretty darn close,” Bighill said of where he and the Bombers are.

“I knew there was a good thing going on in Winnipeg before I left the CFL for the NFL. When it came time to return, Winnipeg was at the top of the list for a number of reasons. Former teammates and a big one was Mike O’Shea. It’s going pretty well.

In his 10th CFL season, Collaros led the league with 20 touchdown passes this year, with an efficiency rating of 111, while hitting 3,185 yards and setting a career-high 70.2% of his attempts. His passing efficiency is second of all time among the Bombers’ starting quarterbacks. Collaros is the first bomber since Milt Stegall (2002) to win the MOP. Collaros received 43 first place votes.

Bighill became the sixth player in league history to win three best defensive player awards. He had 70 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, a pair of fumble recoveries and a touchdown this year to lead the Bombers’ fierce defensive offense.

“It’s the most fun I’ve had to play professional football,” said Bighill, thanking the organization for the care they give to their players.

“Then the locker room, the guys you play with every day, the guys you put your body in danger with. Our locker room has always been so tight. That’s what makes it fun, the memories you make with the guys you play with.

The Bombers’ defense had the fewest points allowed (12.9 per game), the fewest offensive touchdowns (15), the lowest net attack (281.3), the lowest efficiency on the second down (40.3% ), the most forced turnovers (38) and the least number of opposing passes. efficiency (71.3). The Bombers allowed 13.4 points per game, which is the ninth lowest points per game in CFL history and the lowest a team has recorded since 1970.

Bryant became the first Blue Bomber to be named the three-time MVP. He started 13 of the team’s 14 games in 2021 and helped anchor an o-line that allowed 16 sacks at the league’s lowest and allowed a trio of 100-yard rushing performances from Andrew Harris, Brady Oliveira and Johnny Augustine.

Winnipeg’s o-line led an offense that finished first in rushing touchdowns (14) and second in rushing yards per game (119.7) and yards per attempt (5.3). The team was at the peak of efficiency in passing (101.5) and completed passes over 30 yards (26) and even tied Hamilton for the fewest turnovers (20).

Bryant is the ninth offensive lineman in Bombers history to win the award, winning 50 first-place votes.

As the Bombers hit the 11-3 mark this season, O’Shea led a Winnipeg team that posted their best winning percentage (0.786) since 1961.

The Bombers had double-digit wins for the fifth consecutive season, making him the second coach in team history to accomplish the feat, following Bud Grant’s six-game winning streak from 1957 to 1962. O ‘Shea got 47 first-place votes in the process, as he became the first Bombers coach to win the award in 20 years.

For Williams, the rookie’s exceptional nod was recognition of extraordinary patience. The South Carolina native wore the Ottawa REDBLACKS uniform in 2019 for a pre-season game when the organization learned his mother was a Canadian citizen. He left the team, obtained his citizenship and returned in 2020, ready to make the CFL Draft. He was able to participate in the Eastern Regional Combine before the world stopped with the start of the pandemic. He went first in the overall draft, but had to wait another year to play.

Even at training camp this year, he had to take his first steps with his team when wildfires near their camp in Kamloops made conditions unplayable. When he took the field, he led the Lions with 92 tackles, finishing second in the league and breaking a Canadian rookie record held by Mike O’Shea who had held up for nearly three decades.

“Here I am now. It’s beautiful, ”said Williams, standing on the stage after winning the award.

“To be a top athlete you have to have something crazy about you. Every day I acted like today would be my day to shine.

Despite the 14-game season, Lokombo lost just five tackles less than his career record of 71. The 66 he had placed 10th in the league and was his third consecutive season surpassing the 50 tackle mark. He clocked a career-high four sacks and set a new personal best with three interceptions. He found the end zone in Week 6 this season, giving him his first career touchdown.

Lokombo received 50 votes for the first place.

Dedmon’s selection as an outstanding special teams player should come as no surprise. He led the league in touchdowns on kickoff return (three), yards on kickoff return (737), average on kickoff return (15.4), distance on kickoff return (1,223 ) and the average on kick-off return (25.0). He racked up 2,063 yards on the combined returns while recording 10 big plays on the returns.

Dedmon has had two punt return touchdowns and one kickoff return touchdown this year. He received 46 votes for the first place.

Other winners of the evening included Sara May, a Hamilton nurse who served as a frontline worker during the pandemic, winning the commissioner’s award. The award recognizes an individual or group for their outstanding contributions to the league.

CFL Chief Medical Officers of Health, Drs McCormack and Naidu, received the Hugh Campbell Distinguished Leadership Award for their leadership and contribution to the league. The duo have been instrumental in establishing and maintaining the league’s health and safety protocols this season.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats offensive lineman Chris Van Zeyl won the Jake Gaudaur Veterans’ Award, which is presented annually to a Canadian player who demonstrates the attributes of Canadian veterans: strength, perseverance, courage, camaraderie and contribution to Canadian communities.

Another Ticat, defensive back Mike Daly, has been named the winner of the Tom Pate Award on behalf of the CFLPA. The award is given to a player who displays qualities that set him apart from his peers both off and on the pitch. The recipient embodies the qualities that distinguish Tom Pate; qualities that recognize a player with exceptional sportsmanship, who has made a contribution to his team and to his community, as well as to his Association.

Over the past year, Daly developed community relationships at McMaster University and participated in the McMaster Athletes Care program. Daly is also a spokesperson for the TELUS #EndBullying All-Stars and Be More Than a Bystander programs.

Carol Longmuir, long-time British Columbia Lions’ director of finance and administration, received the Jane Mawby Tribute Award, which recognizes a highly regarded, but too often overlooked, current employee at the club or community level. league.

The CFL award winners were chosen by a panel of voters, including representatives from Football Reports of Canada (FRC) from the nine markets, members of the FRC national chapter and CFL head coaches. A total of 54 ballots were completed.

About Elaine Morales

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