The evolution of the CJFL has a rich history in Canada dating back to 1887. The first dated games that year where part of the Quebec Rugby Football Union junior series and featured teams from McGill University, Lincoln College, Bishop College and Montreal AAA.
The Canadian championship trophy has also evolved from the Leader Post trophy in 1908 to the Armadale Cup in 1976 to now today’s Canadian Bowl.
Without a CJFL season here in 2020, we will turn back the clock each week and look back at some classic Canadian Bowl games ever played.
When asking some of the longest standing members of the CJFL for classics, one game that most can agree on is the 1999 Canadian Bowl when the Windsor AKO Fratmen defeated the Okanagan Sun 32-29 in Windsor. The game was back and forth with plenty of excitement in front of roughly 3500 fans.
After a scoreless first quarter the Fratmen opened up a three point lead once both teams had scored a touchdown. Kicker Alex Stajic booted a 24 yard field goal and the Fratmen held a three point lead going into the half.
In the second half the teams traded score for score. In the third frame they each tallied 15 points, and then they traded touchdowns in the fourth. That second quarter 24 yard field goal from Stajic turned out to be the winner as the Fratmen held on for the championship win.
Quarterback Dan Gray was named the offensive player of the game completing just eight passes for 162 yards and threw a pair of touchdown passes Jerry Marchand.
The Fratmen offence controlled the game on the ground racking up 270 yards led by Craig Carter who carried 21 times for 149 yards and had a major. Terrance Spina also got into the end zone on 10 carries and 86 yards.
Defensively the Frat forced four turnovers and held the Sun running attack to just 59 yards. Perhaps more impressive is that they only gave up one rushing yard in the second half.
Since the running game struggled quarterback Zack Silverman went to the air and completed 25 passes for 392 yards and connected for three touchdowns to Adam Eckert, Trevor Bourne and Jeremy White. Eckert led all receivers with nine receptions for 156 yards.
Coming into the game the Fratmen were the top ranked team in the country after finishing the regular season 8-0 while the Sun were ranked at #3 following an 8-1-1 regular campaign. The Fratmen offence was outstanding averaging a CJFL high 44 points a game while giving up just 11.1. Meanwhile the Sun offence was also extremely talented playing two extra regular season games averaging 29.4 points a contest and allowed 15.5.
The win by the Fratmen ended a 45 year drought behind head coach John Bloomfield. His receivers coach at that time was Mike LaChance, who eventually would take over from Bloomfield and is still the Frat head coach today. That win also marks the last time a team from the Ontario Conference hoisted the national championship.