The York University Lions will have one last opportunity for their first win of the season as they travel to Waterloo to take on the Warriors this Saturday [1 p.m. ET].
Since defeating the University of Toronto Varsity Blues in the 38th edition of the Red and Blue Bowl on Sept. 29, 2007, the Lions [0-7] have lost 18 consecutive games.
Despite their most recent defeat, a 54-31 loss to the No. 9 Ottawa Gee-Gees this past Saturday at home, York head coach Mike McLean is optimistic with the progress his team has made in its final few games.
“We’re finally putting it all together with a young team, with as many injuries as we’ve had, I’m pretty proud,” he said.
But there is also no doubting the frustration on the Lions end, as a second straight season without a win looms.
McLean acknowledges the road to rebuilding the university’s football program was never going to be an easy one for him and his staff.
“At the end of the day, we’re preaching to the team [that] we’re building,” the coach said.
“They know we’re building, we know we’re building. We know the future is real strong and bright.
“But at the end of the day, getting beaten and losing, those things should rip a competitor’s heart out and it has.”
Starting quarterback Nick Coutu says slow starts have resulted in the some of the team’s losses.
“We always seem to spot them a few points in the first quarter and then we have to work our way back,” the sophomore signal caller said.
“We get excited and we’re right there and it was good to have that atmosphere but we’re dying to actually win these games.”
Despite another discouraging campaign, it does not mean the Lions are ready to throw in the towel on this year.
“In no way shape or form are the coaches or the players losing faith or losing focus,” McLean said.
“Battling and winning, those are the things we’re focusing on and those are the things we’re beginning to do.”
This weekend, York will take on a Waterloo team (2-5) coming off a 30-7 win against the Varsity Blues after losing five of their first six games.
McLean said after his club’s battle with the Gee-Gees, a victory could be forthcoming due to the similarities between the two squads.
“They’re a different team than all of the rest of the teams we’ve played. They match up with us offensively and defensively,” he said. “If we put in an effort like today, anything can happen.”
Even after coming off his club’s decisive victory last week, Warriors head coach Dennis McPhee knows his squad cannot take the Lions lightly.
“I do expect our kids to come out of the gate hard and I know it’s been preached to them all week and all season that we respect everybody,” he said. “We’re not good enough to disrespect anybody.”
This is the first game between the two teams since 2007, when Waterloo won 18-15 at home. But York has won four of the past seven meetings overall dating back to 2000.