Watch Ottawa Redblacks runningback, Devonte “The Matrix” Williams’ best plays from his rookie of the year 2022 CFL season in the capital.
Over the season Williams carried the rock for 454 yards on just 90 carries, averaging over 5 yards a carry while adding 27 catches for 159 yards to the totals, giving him 613 yards of offence on the season, ironically, in the 613 (613 being Ottawa’s primary area code).
Williams season was short, only suiting up for 8 of the Redblacks 18 games in 2022, but with a rookie of the year award won within the organization, and the numbers he put up, without a doubt his name is one to keep eyes on for the future of this Redblacks team.
On Thursday night the University of Memphis’ women’s soccer team was on the road in Orlando playing against the University of Central Florida in a big AAC semi-final game. Going into the game, UCF was the favourite to win. On paper they seemed so much better than Memphis. Having not lost a conference game, and going 9-2-5 on the season, the Knights were expected to come up on top and move onto the championship game, but the Memphis Tigers, being the defending champions that they are had different plans.
The Tigers played neck and neck with the Knights the entire game and after 110 minutes of action both teams were tied at 1-1, bringing on some penalty shots to close out the game. Going all the way into the seventh round of penalty kicks, it was the University of Memphis’ Zoë May that closed out the game with a game winning goal.
May, from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada is one of many Canadians on the University of Memphis women’s soccer team, and has shown a lot of glimpses of what she’s capable of in her freshman season. On the season, according to the University’s athletic website, she recorded 523 minutes played, scoring one goal with 11 shots, 7 of which being put on goal. Her and the Tigers closed out the regular season strong, and have had a great playoff run thus far, making it an exciting game to watch this Sunday as the Memphis Tigers will take on Southern Methodist University.
The game will be played at 12:00 central time/1:00 eastern in Orlando, Florida, and will be televised on ESPN.
Prior to watching Sunday’s big game, tune into a JZ Media interview with University of Memphis’ Zoë May from Ottawa. In the interview she explains a bit about her journey to the 901 from Ottawa and what her first season of division one soccer has been like. The interview can be seen on YouTube using the link above, or on Instagram at @jzmedia.ca.
Going into the 2022 CFL season, there was a lot of talk around the Ottawa Redblacks. Yes, the previous two seasons were not great, and going into 2022 they were 6-26 since their 2018 Grey Cup appearance, but with Shawn Burke in charge of the front office, and the pieces he had brought in, things looks very promising in the nation’s capital. The team looked like legitimate Grey Cup contenders entering week one, and we can very honestly say that they opened up the season very strong, playing two very good football games against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, a defending Grey Cup Champion team, but it was the Redblacks’ week four game against the B.C Lions where things began to go downhill and worries started to surface the fan base. It was a close game, a 34-31 final score and it was certainly a game that the Redblacks could have won, but it was also a game that showed a lot of weaknesses within the Redblacks team.
After two strong outings against Winnipeg, the Redblacks’ offence wasn’t able to get the job done whatsoever, and was limited to 253 total yards, going up against the Lions’ 509 total yards, more than double Ottawa’s totals. Two big plays that won the Lions the game offensively would have been a long Nathan Rourke rushing touchdown and a Rourke to Keon Hatcher connection down the middle of the field late in the third quarter. Those two plays, alongside the mistakes on Ottawa’s offence were just signs to what was to come for the remainder of the 2022 CFL season for the Redblacks.
The following week the Redblacks traveled to Saskatchewan where starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli suffered which led to be a season ending injury on an ugly late hit by Roughriders lineman Garrett Marino. Masoli’s injury was a big blow to what was Paul LaPolice’s offence at the time. It led Caleb Evans to start a chunk of the team’s games and with the acquisition of Nick Arbuckle, Arbuckle had a lot of playing time as well, but neither of the two quarterbacks were able to get the Redblacks to where they’d like to be, in Grey Cup playoff contention.
Ottawa finished the season at 4-14, not winning a single game at home, and finishing the season with an interim head coach in Bob Dyce following the firing of Paul LaPolice after a 3-11 start to the season.
When the team wasn’t performing well throughout the season, as they do a lot of the time, the fingers were pointed towards that head coaching position, which at the time was filled by LaPolice. It wasn’t fair for all of the blame to go on him at times, but as the head football coach of a non successful franchise two seasons in a row, it was expected, and what was also expected was the change that was made. The firing of Paul LaPolice gave experienced special teams coordinator Bob Dyce the opportunity to prove himself to the Redblacks franchise past being just a coordinator.
As the interim head coach, Dyce finished the season with a 1-3 record going into the off-season, and is starting the off-season as quite the candidate for the Redblacks’ next head coach.
When asked about the upcoming off-season and his plans though Shawn Burke mentioned that it will be a “search” and they will interview other candidates. He told the media, “we’re doing a head coaching search, so that will be the focus this month. We’ve had exit meetings with our players, exit medicals, a part of my management style is definitely to get feedback. Its a relationship business and although myself and coach Dyce are lead with the blue print leading the organization, we’re all colleagues at the end of the day and we require a lot out of our players and to not get the proper feedback from them is just a waste of time for us.”
When it comes to players feedback, all looks good for in house candidate Bob Dyce. Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli said, “coach (Dyce) has shown us a lot for sure in the short time, I don’t have as much experience with him as a lot of the other guys, but he gets all 5 star recommendations from all of the guys here that you would trust, that have been here, veterans that have won before, they all love him, played on special teams for him, I see him as a high quality, high character guy and you can trust what he says and on top of that he knows his CFL football from roster building to managing different egos within the room, the schemes and working with his coordinators so I’ve seen him behind the scenes, massaging some positions and it was a good look, I love coach Dyce as a head coach, I hope we get him back.”
As for Bob Dyce now though, he is still going to have to go through the interview process with the Redblacks, and will have to be hired to be able to move forward, and there is no question he wants to get hired as the head coach in Ottawa. When asked, he said, “certainly.” explaining, “I’m not going to sit here and lie. So yes, I want to be the head coach of the Ottawa REDBLACKS.” When he talked about the players, it was clear there is mutual love, and Dyce will be the best candidate for the Ottawa REDBLACKS kicking off the 2022-23 off-season.
To start the month of October, a change was made in Ottawa, and at TD Place. The Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group and the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks made it public that the organization would be parting ways with head coach Paul LaPolice.
LaPolice was hired by the Ottawa Redblacks following the 2019 CFL season, just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. He coached the entirety of the 2021 CFL season, and the first 14 games of the 2022 season as well. In the 28 games he coached with the Redblacks he had a 6-22 record. In football, and all sports, as much of a business it is, nobody wishes for someone to lose their job, especially fellow coaches, which makes the situation a bit awkward for Redblacks coach Bob Dyce as he took on the interim head coaching role to close out this 2022 CFL season.
“I remember telling myself before that I would never take over a team in the middle of a season again.” Dyce told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “I did it in 2015 with Saskatchewan, but being here as long as I have (since 2016), I have a lot of ties to these players, a lot of relationships with these guys and I really felt like I owed it to them. Any success that I’ve had in Ottawa as a coach has been based on having great players and since the time I got here I’ve worked with some phenomenal guys and certainly know I wouldn’t step away from an opportunity to help lead them going forward.”
Dyce has been the special teams co-ordinator in Ottawa since the 2016 CFL season. When he refers to the players, and the success within the Redblacks special teams unit, there has really been no shortage of it. From a 55 yard field goal from Chris Milo to go into O.T, opening up the 2016 Grey Cup season, to Brett Maher kicking his way back into the NFL, to Diontae Spencer, Lewis Ward, and DeVonte Dedmon breaking pro football records, not even mentioning the success of L.P Bourassa, Richie Leone, and so many others, Dyce has, year after year, coached if not the best special teams unit in the CFL. It may not be under the circumstances that he had hoped, but this opportunity to close out the 2022 CFL season as the head coach for the Redblacks is well deserved, something the players recognize as well. “Its been great to play for him.” defensive back Sherrod Baltimore said, “we love coach Dyce. He’s more than just a coach to us. He’s fixed my scooter breaks before, he’s given us life lessons, he’s like an uncle, father and a coach. I’ve got nothing but love for him. He’s a very smart coach, he knows what he’s doing, and he knows exactly what’s going on on the field, great attention to details and he has high expectations for us. I’m happy for him and his family, and I hope we can go out and win this last game for him.”
That love shown from Sherrod Baltimore, who has been with the Redblacks since the 2017 season, and has been on special teams units, coached by Bob Dyce is something shown across the locker room. Baltimore is just an example of a player at TD Place, playing this last regular season game, a home afternoon game to be exact, playing for coach Dyce.
While Baltimore and the players are excited to close out this 2022 CFL season at home, hopefully with a win in front of the home crowd, so is coach Bob Dyce. This game will mark a closure to what wasn’t a great season in the nation’s capital, but with so much potential still remaining within the organization, this game could preview some things for the future of the Redblacks. “I’d love to see the players end the season on a positive note.” Dyce explained, “we said we’d work hard in these last four games and said we would see where we’d end up at the end of it. Obviously we didn’t end up in the playoffs like we may have hoped, but this is still a great opportunity against a very good team. Its been a challenging year, and I would like these guys to go home after this game knowing they’ve started the foundation of getting the Redblacks back to where they were like in 2016 when I came here. Making it to 2 Grey Cups in three seasons, winning one of them, and thats where this team should be.” He closed out stating, “if we all can work together, it’ll be a fantastic way to end the season, we will have great pride going into the off-season and will come back with a real dogged attitude to get back where we should be.”
This week’s game will be played at TD Place on Saturday at 5:00 against the Hamilton Tiger Cats and although it may be the last game of the season, it could very well be a kickstart to something great in the capital. With Bob Dyce on the sideline for the Redblacks, coaching such a talented unit that general manager Shawn Burke put together for this 2022 CFL season, as seen with the competitiveness over the last 3 games, R-Nation should not be disappointed with this performance going into the off-season.
In the NCAA, every Saturday this season there are thousands of players that suit up to play college football. The vast majority are American, and each have somewhat similar stories and have taken similar paths to the NCAA, but then there are also a good chunk of internationals, and recently, some Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Last weekend it was Akheem Mesidor, defensive lineman from Ottawa at the University of Miami that stole the spotlight. Making 8 total tackles and recording 3.5 sacks he was nationally recognized as the defensive player of the week, named by Walter Camp, and the ACC defensive lineman of the week. He isn’t the only Ottawa native balling on the division one stage though. Wesley Bailey and Rene Konga are each making their presence felt on the Rutgers defensive line while Jonathan Sutherland does more of the same with the Penn State Nittany Lions secondary, coming off of a 7 tackle game and Fabrice Mukendi, Shakespeare Louis and some other smaller school guys are getting increased roles in their respective places. One other player that isn’t talked enough from Ottawa, yet is still putting on for the city in good ways would be University of South Alabama Jaguars linebacker D.K Bonhomme.
It was his high school days in Ottawa, getting serious within the game of football in the capital which really got him to where he is today as a division one football player, but his story goes beyond just Ottawa.
Bonhomme was born in Haiti, and raised in Montreal before making the move with his family to Ottawa at the age of 14 where he first attended College Catholique Samuel Genest. While at Samuel Genest he played NCAFA club football, and had the opportunity to meet Coach Jean Guillaume in the city, and it was the day he met Guillaume that his football career took a turn in the right direction. He still remembers the day he met him, and why he wanted to be a part of what was being built within the city, and at St Matthew High School.
The first meeting between Bonhomme and Guillaume was one of Bonhomme’s track and field meets when he was at Samuel Genest. “It was at the Terry Fox track in Ottawa in 2016, we went there, I ran my races, and then I had seen a coach with a bunch of kids walking around and he had all of this nice gear on, he had on a black nike track suit and he had this cap on, I was like ‘thats kind of nice.’ So then me and a couple of my friends came over to see him, and he was telling me about what he was wanting to do with football in Ottawa and at St Matt’s and thats how it all started, thats how we met and it all took off from there.”
Anyone that knows coach Jean, knows about his swagger, about his drip, so for Bonhomme to talk about how it was the drip that got his attention in Guillaume, is a perfect story, especially now considering what happened over the following years.
After meeting coach Jean Guillaume, Bonhomme got a text from him about a week after that track meeting. “He texted me about a training he had. He said something like, ‘I’m doing a training this Sunday at the field, bring the guys.’ So I ended up going, and at that time I hadn’t really trained before, so that was my first time going through a training, and it took me a week to get back to normal.” he told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic in an interview, “it was really those trainings that we did though that prepared me, and helped me get to where I am today, at the time its also what helped me decide on going to St Matt’s.”
In High School, Bonhomme and his family lived very close to Samuel Genest. It just made sense that he went to school there, “it was right next door.” he explained, “when I told my parents they were confused why I wanted to take two buses to get to St Matt’s just to go to school, but I explained them a few things, and I even brought Coach Jean over to talk to them too and then not only was I sold on what Coach was building at St Matt’s but my family liked the ideas too, and liked what he wanted to do beyond just football.”
“For those that know coach Jean, know he’s more than just a coach, and know he wants to do things for his players outside of just football.”
Coach Jean Guillaume went on to coach Bonhomme for one season at St. Matthew’s prior to Bonhomme’s departure for America, something that was talked about in that time leading up to transferring to St Matthew High School. His first time playing across the border was with Canada Prep where he played an all American schedule, and it led into an opportunity at Clearwater Academy International, a school now known for great international talent, but a school which he was the first international at during the time he was there.
The time he spent there really helped him blow up.
He’s always naturally been a good football player, but when his talent hit a bigger stage in Florida, coaches at the next level were all over him, including Tom Allen and his staff at Indiana who coached Bonhomme from 2019 through 2021. Over that time he was living out his dream of playing power 5, Big 10 football, making an impact mainly in 2020 with 15 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, one sack and one safety prior to making a move to the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama alongside Kane Wommack who went from defensive co-ordinator at Indiana to head coach for the South Alabama Jaguars.
At South Alabama Bonhomme is comfortable, and on to doing big things, making 6 tackles in his first three games with the Jaguars and starting up something special for his career there.
For more on Bonhomme, stay tuned on JZ Media for a more in depth story on him, and his background.
On November 10th when Tulsa visits the University of Memphis for a Thursday night football matchup, the Tigers will be honouring former Tiger Glenn Rogers Sr. Rogers Sr will be a guest captain, out on the field during the coin toss, honoured at half time and will have his name and number on the field. He played with the University of Memphis for three seasons from 1969 through 1971, at the time called “Memphis State University” and was the first African American football player to play for the Tigers.
The defensive back was a student at the University and when he watched Memphis State University take on the Florida State Seminoles he took a good look at the team that was playing and thought to himself ‘I can play for them.’
He then went on to walk on for the Tigers becoming the first African American to suit up in blue, and 53 years later he will be recognized by the University for his mark on the school’s history. Nathaniel Brown, on the coaching staff at the University of Memphis and in charge of the alumni engagement told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “being a former player myself I take a lot of pride in this job. My outlook, and my vision (with his job) was how would I want to be treated currently because I’ve had some bad experiences myself and if I can have some kind of control over this then I don’t want anyone to feel how I felt.” He states, that a lot of the time for athletes, “when the team is done with you, the team is done with you and thats the one thing I want to make sure that the alumni doesn’t feel that way here.”
After hearing about Glenn Rogers Sr, Brown took responsibility to make him feel at home at the University of Memphis still. After reaching out to himself, and speaking with those at the University to make things happen, Rogers Sr is thrilled for the November 10th game between Tulsa and Memphis. In an interview held at the football facility, conducted by current Memphis Tigers defensive lineman Cormontae Hamilton, from Memphis, Tennessee, Rogers said, “what the University of Memphis is doing for me right now gives me a more inward fulfilment in my heart for the university itself as well as the city of Memphis.”
“The last couple of weeks have given me a good sense of pride in saying I’m a Memphis State graduate and former football player.” he explained, “I feel more comfortable today (being on campus) than I have ever felt in over 50 years… I get a lot of love here that I should have had years ago and I am happy to be honoured the way I’m being honoured today by the University.”
In 2022 it is a common theme for Canadian athletes to cross the Canada-USA border to pursue a career in their sport. From hockey, to track and field and all of the sports in between, the United States of America, as corny as it sounds is looked at to be the land of opportunity for athletes. Within the sport of football, a lot of Canadians tend to go to prep schools or boarding schools in America to further their careers in football.
These schools typically provide better coaching, development, exposure and opportunities than any places in Canada. Schools like IMG Academy have become more and more popular because of the success they have had with international student athletes, and the opportunities they have given athletes from around the world, but there are also a number of athletes that have crossed the border without going to a boarding school the traditional way. Two players that fit that exact description, and attend Mobile Christian School in Mobile, Alabama are both Miguel and Diego Camboia.
The Camboia brothers were born and raised in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada. They were introduced to the game of football through their father, Chris, who played football at Toledo University (coached by Nick Saban at the time) and in the CFL, and it didn’t take long after their introduction to the sport for them both to get serious about it. Each of them saw the bigger picture within the game of football early on in their playing careers, starting up with the Woodstock Wolverines, and now continuing with the Mobile Christian Leopards, a jump not many would be able to make, but they’ have’ve made the jump, and have done so successfully. Miguel Camboia, a senior quarterback is in year three at Mobile Christian and has not only had a great time at the school, enjoying his time as a student, athlete and a citizen of the United States, but he’s also been playing the best football he’s ever played and he’s getting recognized for it. Being coached by coach Ronnie Cottrell for the Leopards, Miguel has been able to visit, and talk to a number of coaches at division one football programs across the country including Maryland where he has been offered a scholarship, a scholarship he once dreamed of getting, and something he had on his mind when he made the move to Mobile.
Making that move to Mobile, as easy as it may sound to some from the outside looking in, took a lot of sacrifices. It was a big leap of faith for Miguel during the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020, and he wouldn’t want to have made such a big leap of faith without getting what he wants out of it. What he wants would be a long playing career within the game of football, starting off with the opportunity to play high level college ball, leading towards a professional career in the NFL.
Some could say he’s already at that point considering his offer from the University of Maryland, but like his younger brother Diego who joined him at Mobile Christian, Miguel Camboia is focused on getting better, and getting the best opportunity possible. In interviews with Jordan Zlomislic of JZ Media, the brothers from Woodstock told their stories, and explained why they are both in Mobile, Alabama, pursuing careers in football.
The interviews can be seen through the YouTube link above, and will be available on JZ Media’s social media channels as well. For more regarding class of 2023, senior quarterback Miguel Camboia you can visit his twitter attached, and same with class of 2024 offensive lineman Diego Camboia here.
On Friday October 14th 2022 Siaosi Mariner, wide receiver of the CFL’s Ottawa RedBlacks will hit a milestone in his football career. He will be playing in his first ever CFL regular season game.
Coming all the way from Kansas City, Kansas to do so, Mariner has taken a long journey to get to this milestone in his playing career and he is only going to keep going on this journey, and the path he is on. His first football experience was in Orange County, California where he and his family lived for the majority of his childhood, and then his career continued at Tustin High School. At Tustin he played not only on the football team where he made a large impact, but the basketball team as well. As a high school football player he did indeed have some hype to his name, and he tore it up in his senior year, but he still wasn’t as highly recruited as he would have liked, or thought he could be. “Me personally, I felt like I was under recruited.” he said, “I should have had like 50 offers or something like that, but it didn’t go like that for me.”
Mariner kicked off his collegiate career at Utah where he caught passes for the Utes. In 2018, in what was his junior year with Utah, he caught 17 passes for 209 yards and a score. Following that season, in pursuit to make it into the NFL, he entered the transfer portal and joined the instate rivals, the Utah State Aggies. He finished his career with the Utes with 52 receptions for 785 yards and four touchdowns, with a goal to improve at state.
As a senior with the Aggies, catching passes from Jordan Love who is now seen wearing number 10 for the Green Bay Packers, Mariner had the best season yet, solidifying his spot into the pros heading into the draft in April. In that season with Love, he was just 13 yards short of 1,000 yards, gaining a whole 987 yards in the 13 games on 63 catches with 10 touchdowns. The performance alongside one of the most talked about quarterbacks in college football that season set up Mariner very well leading into the NFL Draft, but once the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, things started to go down hill for him and his chances at the NFL. Without an invite to a major bowl game, or a combine invite, his real test for the NFL was going to be at the Utah State pro day with Jordan Love, but that was all cancelled due to Covid-19, and that led coaches at the next level to judge Mariner strictly on game film.
The pandemic made things hard on Mariner and his shot at the NFL, but he was still able to crack a shot at it, getting a contract with the Raiders. Not only did he come out of the pandemic with an opportunity still, but he came out of it better mentally as well. He was able to shine light on his creative side during the shutdowns, and it all set him up for where he is now, a couple professional football opportunities later in Ottawa, with the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks, not only getting ready to play his first CFL game but in the mix of releasing his first ever custom clothing line as well in honour of the city of Ottawa, the capital of Canada.
Talking about that 2020 year, he told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic in an interview about his creative side, and how he began “The Sauce Team” alongside his brother, and what he has in motion for the city. To learn more you can watch the JZ Media interview above.