Written by Taylor Prichard
Photo by Tim Austen
OTTAWA, Ontario – Ravens Football is back beginning Saturday, September 18, 2021, when Carleton hosts the Queen’s Gaels at the Ravens’ Perch. The kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.
2019 regular season record: 4-4
2019 regular season standings: 6th in OUA
2019 playoff record: 0-1, OUA QF loss to Guelph
Head coach Steve Sumarah enters his ninth season at the helm of the Carleton football program in 2021, where he will look to get the Ravens into the postseason for a third consecutive season. Quarterback Tanner DeJong will start the season as the Ravens’ QB1, a role he has held since the 2019 season. Several key offensive cogs, including receivers Phil Iloki and Quinton Soares, have moved on, but leading rusher Nathan Carter and rising junior Josh Ferguson form a solid 1-2 punch at the running back position.
After losing OUA Outstanding Stand-Up Defensive Player award winner Jack Cassar and all-conference selection Trevor Hoyte to the CFL, Carleton’s defence will see seven players return behind the ball. Louis Cavanagh and Alex Laberge-Chung will be important contributors as part of the linebacking corps while defensive lineman Sandor Mod will aim to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks all season long.
As a result of the ongoing pandemic, the OUA has altered its traditional 11-team conference to form a two-division league for 2021. Carleton will compete exclusively against teams from the OUA East division during the regular season, including top rival uOttawa, Eastern Ontario foe Queen’s along with York and U of T. With a conference re-alignment taking place this season, the Ravens will benefit from a reduction in the number of lengthy road trips to Southwestern Ontario. Additionally, Carleton will bolster local rivalries with multiple contests scheduled against the Gee-Gees and Gaels. The OUA’s East division winner will take on the West division winner in the conference championship.
“We’ve faced plenty of adversity over the past 18 months, but we are well prepared ahead of the new season,” said Ravens head coach Steve Sumarah. “We have a talented group of experienced players back and some exciting young players who we expect to contribute immediately. Our team is excited to be back on the field and to compete in front of our fans once again.”
Number of returning starters: 6
Key returning players:
QB Tanner DeJong will lead a Ravens passing attack that ranked 6th in the OUA in 2019. DeJong, a senior, completed 64.6% of his passes (148 of 229) for 2125 yards in his first full season as starter.
Experienced running backs Nathan Carter and Joshua Ferguson will be key figures in the backfield where they can expect to see plenty of touches. Carter finished the 2019 campaign with 489 yards on 103 attempts while Ferguson rushed for 448 yards on 78 touches for three touchdowns in 2019 and was named to the 2021 East-West Bowl roster.
OL Charles Lavallee returns for his third season and will be the anchor of an offensive line alongside sophomore Patrick Lavoie, a 2019 OUA All-Rookies team selection. Also expected to take on leadership roles on offense this season is OL Angus O’Mara, who will see time at centre.
Experienced REC Keaton Bruggeling will attempt to take his game to the next level as he will be a primary target downfield for DeJong.
Key recruits or transfers: Kaseem Ferdinand (REC), Freud Cesar (RB)
Key losses: Phil Iloki (REC), Quinton Soares (REC, PR)
Number of Returning starters: 7
Key returning players:
LB Louis Cavanagh will lead a Carleton defence that ranked 3rd in yards allowed per game (362.0) in 2019. The junior, who finished third on the team with 36 tackles (29 solo, 7 ast), will look to fill the void left by talented all-conference selections Jack Cassar and Trevor Hoyte.
Sophomore LB Alex Laberge-Chung, who returns to the sport after missing significant action in 2019, has shown he is ready to take on a bigger role this year.
DL Sandor Mod will be a big presence on the Ravens D-line this season after racking up three sacks and 14 solo tackles (7.0 tfl) in 2019.
Key recruits or transfers: Nathan Clark (DL), Schneider Cave (DB)
Key losses: Jack Cassar (LB), Trevor Hoyte (LB), Tevin Bowen (DL)
Key returning players:
K/P Vincent Plouffe returns for his second season with the Ravens. As a freshman in 2019, Plouffe went 9-for-9 on extra points and 6-of-10 on field goals. He ranked second in the OUA with eight punts of 50+ yards.
There will be a few new faces on the Ravens’ sideline this season with experienced coach Nadia Doucoure joining the team as an Offensive Assistant – Receivers Coach. Doucoure becomes the first female coach in team history. Also joining Sumarah’s staff is former CFL All-Star Eddie “Downtown” Brown, who will work with receivers.
The Ravens’ Perch will have a capacity of 750. Fans must wear masks at all times while in the stands and seating is limited to 6 people in a row same household.
All individuals who are coming on to campus and/or participating in an in-person Carleton activity must attest to their vaccination status and have received their first dose by September 8, 2021, in cuScreen. All visitors to campus, including all fans, family and media attending games are strongly encouraged to complete their cuScreen account setup, attestation of vaccination and pre-screening before coming to the stadium. Setting up your cuScreen guest account can take approximately 15-20 minutes.