2011 AUS football major awards announced

2011 AUS football major awards announced

Source: AUS Communication

HALIFAX, N.S. - Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2011 football major award winners as selected by the conference's four head coaches following regular season play.

The Acadia Axemen took home five of the conference's top awards announced today, including quarterback Kyle Graves who was named the AUS outstanding player of the year.

OUSTANDING PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Kyle Graves, Acadia (Chris Flynn Trophy)

Quarterback Kyle Graves of the CIS No. 9-ranked Acadia Axemen is the 2011 Atlantic University Sport most outstanding player.

Graves, a fourth-year student from Barrie, Ont., who was named an AUS all-star this week at both quarterback and punter, led the league in passing yards (1,856), completions (121), passing TD's (17) and punting average (36.7 yards per punt).

Kyle threw for over 300 passing yards on three occasions this year and added another 179 yards rushing on 32 attempts including a major on the ground. He also had a 29-yard touchdown reception in a week three win over the StFX X-Men.

His 17 passing touchdowns in 2011 were one shy of the Acadia school record of 18, set by former Axemen QB Larry Jusdanis in 1995.

"Kyle has matured into a leader and is one of the best of quarterbacks we have had the pleasure to coach," says Acadia head coach Jeff Cummins. "He has become a complete and selfless player who does what is best for the team. He has developed the ability to know when to throw and when to run and has become not only a great athlete but also a great football player."

Ivan Birungi (2005, '06) and Blaine Scatcherd (1999) are the most recent Axemen to be named the conference's player of the year.

Former Saint Mary's QB Erik Glavic and former Mount Allison star Eric Lapointe are the most recent Atlantic conference players to take home the Hec Crighton Trophy as the outstanding player in CIS. Lapointe won the award both in 1996 and 1998 while Glavic was the 2007 recipient.

OUTSTANDING DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Tom Labenski, Acadia (Tony Proudfoot Trophy)

Acadia linebacker Tom Labenski has been selected as the 2011 AUS outstanding defensive player of the year.

Tom, a native of Oakville, Ont., is a fifth-year linebacker and a three-time conference all-star. The 6-foot-0, 225-pound senior led the Axemen with 44.0 tackles in 2011 and wraps up his university career with 178.0 tackles, the third highest career total in conference history.

Labenski also had three sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries this season for the 7-1 Axemen, and added one interception, which he returned 37 yards for a score in a week two victory over the McGill Redmen.

Selected to participate in the 2009 CIS East-West Bowl hosted by McMaster University, Tom also holds the Acadia record for most tackles in a single season with 66.0, a mark he established in 2010.

"A brilliant person on and off the field, Tom has come into his own and has taken a large leadership role on the defensive side of the ball," says Acadia head coach Jeff Cummins. "His experience playing in the IFAF Senior World Championship has helped him grow as a player and a person. He discovered what it is like to be professional and a leader. He will be sorely missed this season as he moves on to study in the field of medicine."

Labenski will represent the conference as the AUS nominee for the Presidents’ Trophy. Acadia's Steve Faoro (2005, '06) and Eric Nielson (2004) are the most recent Acadia players to be named the AUS Defensive Player of the Year. Former StFX star is Henoc Muamba is the most recent Atlantic conference winner of Presidents Trophy, which he was awarded in last season.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Jacob LeBlanc, Mount Allison

Defensive lineman Jacob LeBlanc of the Mount Allison Mounties is the 2011 Atlantic University Sport football rookie of the year.

A first-year Arts student from Halifax, N.S., Jacob has had an immediate impact with the Mounties defence, picking up 30.5 tackles, 9.0 of which were for a loss and finishing fourth in the league with 5.0 sacks.

Named a 2011 AUS all-star at defensive tackle earlier this week, LeBlanc also recovered two fumbles and was credited with a pass break-up.

Prior to joining the Mounties, Jacob was selected as an all-star at the 2010 Canada Cup and is a product of J.L. Ilsley High School in Halifax, where he was named the athlete of the year in his senior year.

Mounties' head coach Kelly Jeffrey was happy with his performance in 2011.

"Jacob has improved every single week in our program," says Jeffrey. "His drive and desire to get better every practice are unmatched. Jacob has the intangible gifts that you want to go along with a dominating physical presence. With his athletic talents and coachability, he has the skill set to be a dominant player year in and year out."

Former Mount Allison linebacker Sebastien Roy is the most recent Mounties player to be named the Atlantic conference rookie of the year (1999).

Roy and former StFX defensive back Jeremy Steeves (2001) are the most recent Atlantic conference winners of the Peter Gorman Trophy as the top Rookie in CIS football.


The Atlantic University Sport outstanding lineman of the year is fourth-year Acadia defensive lineman Jake Thomas.

Thomas, a 6-foot-2, 275-pound native of Douglas, N.B., was named a 2010 and 2011 AUS all-star at defensive tackle, and wraps up his fourth season with the Axemen program with 17.5 career sacks, the second most in conference history.

The 2011 season saw Jake register 29.5 tackles, a forced fumble, a career-high 9.0 sacks and his 14.0 tackles for a loss led the Atlantic conference.

Thomas, who's brother Josh was the 1998 recipient of this same award, started the 2011 season in July by winning a silver medal as a member of Team Canada at the IFAF World Senior Football Championships in Austria. He also participated in the CIS East-West Bowl hosted by Western in May.

"I consider Jake to be the best defensive lineman I have coached in the 11 years I have been at Acadia," says Axemen head coach Jeff Cummins. "He is tenacious, athletic, aggressive and the strongest player I have coached at that position and he is only 20 years old. He's willing to do what is needed and is not scared of doing what's needed. Jake has built an impressive resume at a young age and is a great representative for the J.P. Metras Trophy."

Thomas will represent the conference as the nominee for the J.P. Metras Trophy which was last brought back to the AUFC in 1997 when StFX's Mike Kushnir was named the CIS's top lineman. The last Acadia player to be named AUS Lineman of the Year was offensive lineman Adrian Saturley, who took home the award last season.

COACH OF THE YEAR: Jeff Cummins, Acadia (Larry Uteck Trophy)

Acadia head coach Jeff Cummins guided the CIS No. 9-ranked Axemen to a 7-1 regular season record and a first place finish for the first time since 2006, and been chosen by his peers as the Atlantic conference Coach of the Year.

Cummins, now in his ninth year at the helm of the Axemen program, is being recognized as the AUS coach of the year for the third time. He was previously named the AUS coach of the year in both 2004 and 2005.

The seven wins in regular season play are the most by an Acadia head coach since the 1986 season when Sonny Wolfe led the Axemen to a perfect 7-0 record.

This year, his Acadia squad led the conference in passing offense with 1,982 yards and 18 passing TD's, while allowing a league-low 108 points against. The 108 points against are the fewest points allowed by an Axemen team since the 1988 season, when Acadia held their opponents to just 95 points in seven regular season games.

"There is no one more deserving of this award than Jeff Cummins," says Acadia Director of Athletics Kevin Dickie. "He is not only passionate about the game of football but also about Acadia Athletics. He wears his passion for Acadia on his sleeve every day. Jeff is focused on the development of his student-athletes in the classroom and on the field, and as a senior coach in our department, he has be absolutely invaluable to me as a new Director at Acadia University."

Since becoming head coach of the Axemen seven seasons ago, Jeff has posted a career record of 41 wins and 43 losses (regular season and post-season play) heading into this weekend's Loney Bowl.

As a defensive lineman, Cummins played in the Canadian Football League on various teams including: Las Vegas, Ottawa, Toronto and finishing with the 1999 Grey Cup champion Hamilton Tiger Cats. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 1992.

A native of Torrance, California, Jeff lives in Wolfville with his wife Karen, son Joshua and daughter Sydney.

The most recent AUS coach to receive the CIS coach of the year award was Saint Mary’s Huskies head coach Steve Sumarah who won the award in 2009.


Andrew Frazer (Mississauga, Ont.) of the Acadia Axemen is the 2011 Atlantic University Sport Student-Athlete Community Service Award recipient and will be the conference nominee for the prestigious Russ Jackson Award.

Named after CFL quarterback Russ Jackson, this award recognizes a Canadian university football player who excels on the field, in academics, and in community service.

Frazer, a 5-foot-11, 275-pound defensive lineman is a two-time academic all-Canadian with a cumulative GPA of 3.5. He is a team captain with the Axemen and has been the starting nose tackle for the past two seasons. In seven regular season games in 2011, he recorded 16.0 tackles and forced two fumbles.

Andrew, the football team representative on the Acadia Players Association since the fall of 2009, is also a co-facilitator, founder and director of the "Breakthrough Athletics" mentorship program at Acadia where varsity athletes are connected with local youth interested in sport, with a focus on those youth who may be underprivileged.

Andrew coordinated all fundraising efforts on behalf of the Acadia football team for the CIBC Run for the Cure this past October, and participated in the event on the day after a game. He has also volunteered as a team leader for the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life, a group leader with the Acadia Axemen Alzheimer's Drive and volunteers with the Acadia S.M.I.L.E. (Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience) Program.

The past summer, Frazer also gave back to the local football community, serving as the co-defensive line coach and defensive coordinator with the Valley Minor Wardogs JV program.

"Andrew is one of the most selfless players on the team both on the field and off. As a player he takes care of his job sinking double teams and taking on double blocks for the benefit of his teammates. Off the field, he thinks of others before he thinks of himself and is involved in many groups and initiatives on and off campus," said Acadia head coach Jeff Cummins. "A well rounded, community orientated individual, Andrew maintains not only a great academic standing at Acadia but he is also involved with various charitable and football team initiatives while holding an on-campus job during the academic year and off-season."

VOLUNTEER COACH OF THE YEAR: Don Davis, StFX (Phil Hughes Award)

Don Davis of the StFX X-Men is the 2011 recipient of the Phil Hughes Award as the Atlantic University Sport Volunteer Coach of the Year.

Davis, a native of Montreal, Que., has been coaching with the X-Men football team for the past five seasons. Listed as the team's assistant head coach and receivers coach, he also contributes a large amount of time to the motivational aspect of the sport, distributing motivational materials, holding goal setting sessions with both the offence and defence, conducting visualization exercises, and often delivers the X-Men's pre-game speeches - always a strong message that gets the players ready to play.

As a player, Don was the quarterback of the UNB Red Bombers for four years, leading them to two Atlantic Bowl appearances. He was instrumental in bringing football to Fredericton High School in 1985 and served as head coach from 1985 to 1993 and again in 1996. In that ten year period his teams won eight New Brunswick provincial championships.

In addition to coaching quarterbacks and receivers at both StFX and UNB over the years, Don has volunteered his expertise at many football camps and clinics, and has coached football at many levels in the province of New Brunswick. He has coaching experience in the sports of hockey, field hockey and baseball and is a member of the Fredericton Sports Wall of Fame.

Don has coached numerous high school athletes who went on to play CIS football, and has coached several CIS athletes who have moved on to the CFL.

"Don Davis is a fixture at the StFX athletic complex, and serves as a great example to our players," comments StFX head coach Gary Waterman. "He can often be found in the gym himself, on the treadmill or lifting weights, and it does well for our players to see a retired man dedicate so much time to his physical fitness."

"Don is on call at all times during the day to throw with any of our quarterbacks or receivers, and many of our players take him up on this offer on a regular basis. He is also an individual that many of our players (and coaches) will go to when they need advice, not only regarding football but in any aspect of their lives; his wisdom is certainly a resource for the StFX football program."


All Atlantic University Sport major award winners automatically become finalists for the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) awards to be handed out during Vanier Cup week in Vancouver, B.C.

The 2011 Subway AUS Loney Bowl takes place this Saturday at Raymond Field on the campus of Acadia University in Wolfville, Halifax, N.S. The Acadia Axemen (7-1) host the Saint Mary's Huskies (6-2, 1-0 playoffs) to battle for the Jewett Trophy, Saturday afternoon at 1:00pm live on EastLink Television. The game will also be available live on the internet via webcast at www.sportstream.ca.

The winner will advance to the Uteck Bowl, hosted this year in Moncton, N.B., to take on the 2011 OUA champions (Either the Western Mustangs or the McMaster Marauders), Friday, November 18th at 7:30pm.

Tickets for the 2011 Subway AUS Loney Bowl are on sale now at the Acadia University Box Office at 902-542-5500 or by visiting http://sports.acadiau.ca/subway-loney-bowl-2011.html.

Uteck Bowl tickets are also on sale and are available by contacting the Moncton Coliseum Box Office at 506-857-4100 or by visiting www.tickets.moncton.ca.