Written by Griffin Porter
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA, Ontario – Coming off of last week’s Panda Game loss to the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees, the Ravens final home game of the season may not have had the high stakes that any team hopes late season games are accompanied by, but it did come with more than its fair share of drama. Going up against a powerful McMaster Marauders team, the Ravens turned in one of their strongest performances of the season, as they bounced back from last week with a 35-30 win.
On a day honouring many graduating Ravens, including WR Quinton Soares, LB Jack Cassar, OL Jesse Lawson and more, it was Carleton legend Phil Iloki who stepped up to the plate in his last ever game at MNP Park. Iloki had a massive game, securing 8 catches for 137 yards and 2 hugely important touchdowns for the Ravens. During the game Phil the Thrill, as he has come to be known by Ravens fans, moved into 3rd all time on the Ravens receiving yards list, surpassing 2,000 receiving yards for his career. With his big game, he also moved into 8th all time on the Ravens total touchdowns list.
The other star of the game for the Ravens offence was RB Josh Ferguson, who ran the ball 32 times for 187 yards, also picking up 2 touchdowns and making his impact felt the entire game long. For a Ravens offence that had struggled heavily coming into this week, and facing a difficult test against a strong McMaster defensive unit, the standout play from Iloki and Ferguson, as well as QB Tanner DeJong played a massive role in securing the upset victory.
Although the Ravens lea the game from start to finish, the talented Marauders team certainly did not roll over and die. The key difference in the game was the Ravens defence and their ability to hold strong in the red zone. The Ravens held the Marauders to a close field goal from the red zone three different times over the game, bending at times but rarely giving up their own goal line, while the Carleton offence was able to score in the red zone with more success. The Ravens defence also came away with 3 fumble recoveries and an interception over the course of the game, further limiting the potent McMaster attack.
The Marauders made the game close late, as they scored a touchdown and recovered an onside kick to give themselves the ball back down by 5 points with less than 90 seconds to go. However, the Ravens defence put the game on ice in the clutch, with a massive team sack that forced a desperation pass on 3rd and 15. That pass was picked off by Cedric Lavigne for his 2nd interception in the last two games, and the upset was secured.
Iloki’s huge game was more than appropriate for his last ever game at MNP Park, a field where he has dominated over the course of his U SPORTS career. As the Ravens head to Waterloo to take on Wilfred Laurier University in the regular season finale next week, the game will mean much more than an average regular season finale. The school and the Carleton football community will watch one last time as Phil Iloki, a WR who set records, wore his love for Carleton on his sleeve, and made countless memories for Carleton football fans, suits up for his school. As he prepares to move on to breaking into the CFL next year after being drafted by the Toronto Argonauts last summer, Iloki will always be a Raven For Life.