Canadian Football League

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Canadian Football League trade after Grey Cup for Maas

It looks as though Sunday's Grey Cup contest will be quarterback Jason Maas' last with the Edmonton Eskimos.

Edmonton QB Jason Maas will be traded to Hamilton after Sunday's Grey Cup game, accoriding to reports.An anonymous league source told the Canadian Press Friday night that Maas will be traded to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats after the 93rd Grey Cup game (CBC, 5:30 p.m. ET) for veteran quarterback Danny McManus and offensive lineman Tim Bakker.
Both McManus and Bakker are former Eskimos
A Vancouver radio station was also reporting the trade.
The trade had been rumoured ever since Hamilton dealt running back Troy Davis and offensive lineman Dan Comiskey to Edmonton on Oct. 5 for receiver Brock Ralph, defensive back Tad Cody and a 2006 first-round draft pick.
The 30-year-old Maas spent the majority of the 2005 season on the sidelines backing up Edmonton starter Ricky Ray, but he come off the bench in both of the Eskimos' playoff games to lead his team to come-from-behind victories and a berth in the Grey Cup.
He will back up Ray again on Sunday against the Montreal Alouettes.
Maas passed for over 5,270 yards with Edmonton in 2004 as a starter but resumed his role as backup when Ray returned to the Eskimos this season after failing to catch on with the NFL's New York Jets.
Maas would join a Hamilton team that stumbled to a 5-13 record in 2005 and had four different starting quarterbacks: McManus, Khari Jones, Marcus Brady and rookie Kevin Eakin.
Offensively, the Ticats were ranked last in total yards (315 per game) and scoring (17.9 points) in the nine-team CFL.
The 40-year-old McManus has accumulated some of the best QB numbers in CFL history and is one of only three to amass 50,000 career yards passing. The others are Damon Allen and Ron Lancaster, Hamilton's former coach who now works in the team's front office.
Danny Mac, as he is often called, led Hamilton to its last Grey Cup title in 1999. He was great in 2004, throwing for more than 5,000 yards (5,034) for just the second time in his career as the Ticats rebounded from a disastrous 1-17 season in 2004. They finished 9-8-1 and secured an East Division playoff berth.
This year has been a different story. McManus threw for 2,544 yards this season, but he had 18 interceptions against just 11 touchdown passes.
The Ticats picked up the option on McManus' contract late in the season and the 16-year veteran publicly stated after the club's final game he intended to play somewhere in 2006.
McManus played for Edmonton from 1996-97 before heading to Hamilton alongside head coach Lancaster and receiver Darren Flutie.

Canadian Football League looking at other options

Commissioner Tom Wright on Friday said the league is considering holding a pre-season game next summer in one of three cities – Quebec City, Moncton, N.B., and Halifax.
All three are considered possible destinations when the CFL decides to add a 10th franchise, which could happen by the end of 2010.
Problem is, none of the three cities has a viable stadium. A 25,000-seat facility seems to be the minimum requirement.
On June 11, Toronto and Hamilton staged a pre-season game at Huskies Stadium in Halifax before an enthusiastic crowd of more than 11,000 that ended in a 16-16 deadlock.
The game, dubbed "Touchdown Atlantic," was part of the CFL testing possibility of expanding into the Maritimes.
When the Halifax event was announced last November, Wright said the game would help the league determine whether there's enough fan interest to warrant the league expanding into the region.
The CFL last expanded three years ago when the league returned to Ottawa following a five-year absence

Friday, November 25, 2005

Former Canadian Football League player arrested

A former member of the CFL’s B.C. Lions has been remanded to Dec. 6 for a bail hearing on eight charges, including sexual assault with a weapon. Keith Franklin appeared Tuesday in Vancouver provincial court on charges related to an incident last week at a Coal Harbour condo. The 35-year-old retired linebacker was captain of the Lions’ defence before being released following an injury-marred season in 2000. Franklin was signed by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats the next season but lasted just one exhibition game because of a neck injury. Vancouver police say a 25-year-old woman was attacked in her apartment on Friday afternoon, before escaping to another unit in the building. Ten officers were called to arrest the suspect when he was met at the lobby doors.

Canadian Football League Award Winners

It was a long time coming for Damon Allen.
The quarterback who holds most of the CFL's career passing records over an illustrious 21-year career captured the league's outstanding player award for the first time Thursday night at the Vancouver Centre for Performing Arts.
''It's not a bad consolation prize for not being in the Grey Cup,'' Allen said. ''I'm humbled because there are so many great players in our league and yet there's just one award.
''But it's still nice to win it in your prime.''
Allen was a runaway winner in voting conducted by the Football Reporters of Canada, claiming 59 of 62 ballots.

The finalist was versatile Corey Holmes of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who saw action this season returning kicks and punts as well as in the backfield. Holmes did earn the John Agro award as the CFL's top special teams player for the second time.
''Just to have my name mentioned with Damon's is a tremendous honour,'' Holmes said. ''The right man was chosen.
''I think he should've won it long before this.''
Allen also received the Rogers fan choice award.
The other award recipients were B.C. Lions defensive end Brent Johnson (top Canadian), Calgary Stampeders linebacker John Grace (defensive player), Saskatchewan tackle Gene Makowsky (lineman), Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive end Gavin Walls (rookie) and Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Danny McManus (Tom Pate award for community service).
CFL commissioner Tom Wright presented the commissioner's award to The Water Boys, a Vancouver-based group founded in 2003 to promote both the B.C. Lions and CFL in the community.
Allen, 42, was the CFL's feel-good story this season.
At an age when most pro athletes have retired, Allen was instrumental in leading Toronto (11-7) atop the East Division for the first time since 1997. The six-foot-one, 195-pound quarterback threw for a career-high 5,082 yards and his 33 touchdown passes were second only to Montreal's Anthony Calvillo (34), who attempted 112 more passes.
But Montreal ended Allen's dream season, downing Toronto 33-17 in the East Division final. The Alouettes meet the Edmonton Eskimos in the Grey Cup on Sunday (CBC, 6 p.m. ET).
Allen says he will play at least one more season after Toronto picked up the option on his contract.
''I'm just thankful I didn't retire last year, otherwise I wouldn't be standing here,'' Allen said. ''I'm thankful I went to an organization that believes I can play beyond my 20th year, or possibly 25 years.
''Who knows?''
What made Allen so dangerous this season was his ability to feel the rush. Allen, the CFL's top-rushing quarterback with over 11,000 yards, still showed plenty of zip in his legs, running for 461 yards and averaging over five yards per carry.
But Allen often showed the patience of a poised veteran, running laterally to buy his receivers more time to either break off their routes or get open downfield.
Johnson, of Kingston, Ont., narrowly claimed the top Canadian award 37-35 over Toronto linebacker Kevin Eiben, of Delta, B.C., a finalist for the second straight year. Johnson had a breakout season, posting a CFL-high 16 sacks. He displayed the power to beat his block head-on, or use his speed to run around the tackle, then reel the quarterback in.
''I don't know how you make a choice here,'' Johnson said modestly. ''Kevin Eiben could be holding this trophy and should be and I'm sure will one day.
''It's great to be acknowledged but there's also pressure now. The guys before me who won this set a standard and now I have to live up to that.''
The second time was the charm for Grace, who claimed the defensive player award over Toronto linebacker Michael Fletcher with 39 votes. Grace was a finalist last year to Montreal's Anwar Stewart.
Grace finished as Calgary's No. 2 tackler with 76 (George White had 113) but is regarded as the spiritual leader of the Stampeders' defence. He added eight sacks, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
But Grace said the award doesn't eliminate the disappointment he's still feeling after Edmonton's 33-26 win over Calgary in the West semifinal.
''Awards are wonderful, heck I'm still shaking,'' he said. ''But it's all about winning games and championships and that disappointment is still with me and is what's going to push me in the off-season.''
Makowsky earned his second straight lineman award by a narrow 33-29 verdict over Montreal Alouettes guard Scott Flory, a former University of Saskatchewan teammate.
Makowsky helped Saskatchewan lead the CFL in rushing, averaging 135.5 yards per game. The Roughriders also allowed five less sacks than they did in 2004.
''It's unexpected but a great honour because there are many great linemen in this league,'' Makowsky said. ''You've got to be big and strong to be a good lineman and also be very smart.
''It's not your stereotype of the big, dumb football player. It's a very cerebral position.''
Holmes captured the special-teams honour over Toronto punter-kicker Noel Prefontaine with 55 votes. Holmes finished first in all-purpose yards (3,455) and was second in both punt returns (55 for 835 yards, two touchdowns) and kickoff returns (43 for 1,157 yards, one TD).
Walls was the top rookie by a 56-6 margin over Montreal defensive back Matthieu Proulx. Walls finished tied for second in the CFL with 12 sacks and might have contended for the defensive player award if not for a late-season injury.
''I was star-stuck there for a minute but this is a great honour,'' said Walls. ''The CFL is bigger than a lot of people think.''

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Canadian Football League Coach says do what it takes

Edmonton Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia is letting his players score off the football field this week.
Maciocia said Wednesday he won't ask his players to refrain from having sex this week for fear that it might diminish their performance on the football field. The Eskimos face the Montreal Alouettes in the Grey Cup on Sunday (6 p.m. ET) at B.C. Place.
"My answer would be whatever they've done to get here, keep it up," Maciocia said when asked if he'd allow his players to get physical this week. "I haven't had my share so I won't have a problem with that this week.
"Hey, don't change your ways."

Canadian Football League player of the week awards

Montreal Alouettes running back Eric Lapointe has been named the CFL's offensive player of the week and Edmonton Eskimos defensive back Steven Marsh earned the nod for top defensive player.
Edmonton's Charles Alston was chosen best lineman and Alouettes kicker Damon Duval was picked for the special teams award.
Edmonton and Montreal meet in the Grey Cup Sunday in Vancouver (CBC, 6 p.m. ET).
Lapointe carried the ball 15 times for 112 yards and three touchdowns in 33-17 win Sunday in the East final against the Toronto Argonauts.
Related Info
Edmonton quarterback Jason Maas and Argos slotback Robert Baker were also considered for the offensive award.

Marsh had two individual tackles and one interception in the fourth quarter which led to Edmonton's game-winning touchdown Sunday in a 28-23 win over B.C. in the West final.
Esks teammate Keyuo Craver and Montreal defensive back Reggie Durden were also in the running for defensive honours.
Alston, a defensive lineman, contributed seven tackles, one sack and one pass knockdown to Edmonton's victory. He was chosen ahead of Montreal offensive lineman Bryan Chiu and Edmonton defensive lineman Joe Montford.
Duval kicked four field goals from 27, 20, 48, and 40 yards on five attempts for Montreal and kicked three converts for a total of 15 points. He added 545 yards on eight kickoffs and 222 yards on six punts.
Edmonton kicker Sean Fleming and Argonauts wide receiver Arland Bruce received consideration for the award.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Stamps say Higgins is the man to lead them to the Canadian Football League Championship

The Calgary Stampeders rewarded Tom Higgins with a multi-year contract extension Tuesday after the head coach guided the CFL club to its first playoff berth in four years.
Higgins, who also serves as the vice-president of football operations, led the Stampeders to an 11-7 record — a seven-win increase from 2004 — before they dropped a 33-26 decision to the Edmonton Eskimos in the West Division semifinal Nov. 13.
It was Calgary's first post-season action since winning the 2001 Grey Cup in Montreal.
"We are very pleased that Tom has chosen to extend his relationship with the Stampeders football club," team owner Ted Hellard said in a statement. "Tom, his coordinators and their assistant coaches have had a significant impact on a successful 2005 season."
The extension was a no-brainer for Higgins, who won coach of the year in 2003 with the Edmonton Eskimos.
"I'm extremely excited and thrilled to have the opportunity to be on the sidelines in the future," said Higgins, who spent four years as head coach of the Eskimos before joining the Stampeders prior to the start of the 2005 season. "I look forward to the 2006 season and building on all of the good things we were able to accomplish this past year."

Monday, November 21, 2005

Eskimos are Canadian Football League West Champs

Backup quarterback Jason Maas vented his anger on the B.C. Lions Sunday, coming off the bench to throw the go-ahead touchdown in a 28-23 victory in the CFL West final that led the Edmonton Eskimos to next week's Grey Cup.
Maas hit wide receiver Trevor Gaylor with a 15-yard touchdown strike with 5:23 remaining in the game as the Eskimos teetered near disaster after blowing an 18-point lead. It was the second consecutive week Maas had to replace starter Ricky Ray to keep the Eskimo's season alive.
He started the second half in last week's 33-26 come-from-behind win over Calgary in the West semifinal.
"I told the guys when I went in I'm tired of doing this but we have to get it done," said Maas, yelling to be heard in a jubilant Eskimos dressing room. "I'm thankful we did."
Maas, who celebrated his 30th birthday Saturday, said he was angry with coach Danny Maciocia's decision to replace Ray. He also was frustrated the Lions had stormed back from a 21-3 deficit to tie the game 21-21.
"I play well when I'm in a rage," said Maas, who completed four of six passes for 47 yards and the touchdown.
"I told everyone on the offensive line they had to give me enough time to throw. I looked at every one of the receivers and said they had to make plays for me. After (the touchdown) I told the defence, 'it's your time to shine."'
The Eskimos will play the Montreal Alouettes in next week's Grey Cup game in Vancouver. Montreal defeated the Toronto Argonauts 33-17 in the East Division final.
Maciocia didn't waste any time saying Ray will start against Montreal. That didn't bother Maas.
"We won two playoff games with me coming off the bench," he said. "If we win a third one I'll be just as happy."
The winning drive was set up when Edmonton linebacker Steven Marsh intercepted a Dave Dickenson pass on the B.C. 49-yard line. It was only the sixth interception Dickenson has thrown all year and it sent a loud crowd of 37,337 at B.C. Place Stadium home disappointed.
"I wasn't as sharp as I've been in other games," said Dickenson, who completed 18 of 31 passes for 256 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
"It wasn't my best game. In big games you want to play your best. I didn't do it."
It was a miserable end for a season that saw the Lions win their first 11 games then lose seven of their last eight.
"When it was done we came up short," said Wally Buono, the Lions coach and general manager. "There were opportunities there. We missed a few opportunities, dropped a few balls. Those are very critical things in big games."
Lions backup quarterback Casey Printers mounted a last-gasp rally but his final pass into the end zone sailed over wide receiver Geroy Simon's head.
Printers walked off the field with tears in his eyes.
Edmonton will return to the Grey Cup for the first time since 2003, when they defeated Montreal 34-22.
The Eskimos used a pair of one-yard touchdown runs by Ray to build a 21-3 lead.
The Lions stormed back to tie the game. B.C. scored 10 points off turnovers, including an interception when a Ray pass bounced off Gaylor's shoulder pads and a recovery of a Ray fumble.
While Maas fielded reporters' questions Ray sat quietly at his locker.
"It was tough," he said about being pulled with the game tied.
"I wanted to be in there. Danny made the decision and once again Jason came in and got a big win for us. I felt like I could have been in there and won it (but) Jason did another great job. We're going to the Grey Cup."
Ray finished the night completing 17 of 28 passes for 207 yards. He hasn't thrown a touchdown pass in the last seven games.
Dickenson made some Lions history, throwing a 90-yard touchdown pass to Simon. It was the longest scoring play in B.C. playoff history.
Printers, replacing Dickenson on short-yardage situations, also scored on a one-yard run.
Sean Fleming kicked field goals of 45 and 25 yards and added a 44-yard single for Edmonton.
Mark McLoughlin, who was questionable for the game because of a partially torn hamstring in his right kicking leg, kicked field goals of 42 and 28 yards for the Lions.
Punter Duncan O'Mahony added a 50-yard single.
Derrell Mitchell also conceded a safety.
Some first half penalties hurt the Lions. Edmonton's first touchdown came after the Lions were twice called for pass interference on the same drive.
"The pass interference calls were really hurtful," said Buono. "We haven't been called for pass interference all year."
The Eskimos finished the regular season 11-7. They had a chance to clinch first in the West in the final game of the season but lost 43-23 loss to Calgary.
"Everyone doubted us," said defensive end Joe Montford, who had one of Edmonton's three sacks.
"Now we have one game to go."
Notes: The last time the Lions hosted a West final with a chance to advance to a Grey Cup in Vancouver, they lost 31-7 to the Eskimos in 1987 ... The Lions and Eskimos have met 12 times in the playoffs with Edmonton winning nine times, including three games in Vancouver ... The Lions had won three of the last five playoff games with Edmonton after going 34 years without a victory over the Eskimos.

Als capture Canadian Football League East Title

Eric Lapointe and the Montreal Alouettes spoiled the party Sunday.
Toronto Argonauts Robert Baker is tackled by Montreal Alouettes Richard Karikari in Toronto, Sunday. (CP/Frank Gunn) Lapointe, replacing an injured Robert Edwards, scored three second-half touchdowns as Montreal rallied to stun the Toronto Argonauts and a rabid Rogers Centre crowd of 44,211 with a 33-17 victory in the East Division final.
"It feels good because the last year they kicked our ass on our field (26-18 in the '04 East final at Olympic Stadium)," said Lapointe. "This year we gave them something to think about in the off-season.
"But our job isn't finished just yet."
The gathering was just 460 fans short of a sellout at the reconfigured Rogers Centre. It was the biggest crowd to see a Toronto playoff game since 50,380 fans watched the Argos beat Winnipeg 42-3 in the '91 East Division final at SkyDome.
The fans saw Toronto start impressively, scoring twice in the first quarter for a 14-0 lead. In fact, after scoring on a 43-yard TD catch, Argos receiver R. Jay Sowards celebrated by going into the stands, grabbing a bag of popcorn and eating it on the sidelines with teammate Robert Baker.
But after that, it was all Montreal.
The club's offensive line began dominating the Argos' three-man front and created rushing lanes while the defence tweaked its coverages after the Argos second TD.
That forced Argos quarterback Damon Allen to hold the ball longer and sustain hits (he was sacked three times). Toronto also committed six turnovers (two interceptions, four fumbles), including three by Allen (two picks, fumble).
Montreal committed no turnovers to earn its third Grey Cup berth in four years. The only exception was last season when Toronto beat the Alouettes 26-18 in the East final before downing B.C. 27-19 in the CFL title game.
Montreal will face either the B.C. Lions or Edmonton Eskimos next weekend in Vancouver.
"In a game like that, every mistake is magnified," said Montreal head coach Don Matthews, looking for a record sixth Grey Cup title. "I've been to this dance before and realize it takes 60 minutes to win a football game.
"The thing was A.C. (Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo) played a very controlled game. We knew going in that had to be the case, that we had to be perfect on offence to not put our defence in peril a lot and we did that."
Calvillo was a workmanlike 19 of 33 passing for 190 yards as Montreal rushed for 181 yards. Toronto's defence gave up a league-high 127 yards rushing per game this season.
Matthews didn't see Soward's sideline antics and merely chuckled when told. Defensive tackle Ed Philion didn't see it, either, but said Soward can eat all popcorn he wants now.
"He's probably eating popcorn right now," Philion said. "I'm glad, I hope he puts butter on it."
Toronto head coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons shook his head in disbelief regarding his team's many mistakes.
"It is really unthinkable," he said. "If you have one or two, you might have a chance.
"But to have that many, it's too much."
Allen, who finished 18 of 28 passing for 273 yards, agreed.
"They gained rhythm and confidence with every turnover," he said. "Every game in which we lost the turnover battle, we lost."
The loss was a bitter one for Allen, a 42-year-old grandfather who had a career-best 5,082 yards passing this year and is the heavy favourite to win the CFL's outstanding player award. Instead of defending a Grey Cup title, Allen will be joined in Vancouver by teammates Kevin Eiben, Michael Fletcher and Noel Prefontaine - also league award finalists - before pondering his future in the off-season.
"It's up to me and God," he said. "It's my choice and I hope people will allow me to make it.
"When I retire, I'll let you know."
Montreal's plight didn't look good late in the first half when Edwards left with a rib injury. The former first-round pick of the NFL's New England Patriots was the CFL's No. 3 rusher with 1,199 yards and a big part of the Alouette's offence.
But with Montreal's offensive line taking control, the unit didn't skip a beat with Lapointe, who ran for 112 yards on 15 carries, all in the second half.
"The offensive line is why we're going to the Grey Cup," said Lapointe. "There was no pressure on Anthony in the passing game, they opened some big holes for me in the running game.
"I was up to the challenge (when Edwards was hurt), I couldn't wait to be on the field. You never know when you're going to have to step on to the field. I hope Robert plays next week because he carried us all the way."
Matthews said Lapointe could be a starter on any CFL team.
"He has been behind some unbelievable backs and is behind an unbelievable back here in Rob Edwards," Matthews said. "But when given the opportunity to be a player, he always stands out."
Prefontaine had two converts and a field goal for Toronto. Damon Duval booted four field goals and three converts for Montreal.
Notes: - Anwar Stewart was in uniform for Montreal. There was some doubt Saturday regarding Stewart's status due to a family situation in Miami but the veteran defensive end was with the Alouettes . . . Play was delayed briefly in the fourth when a fan ran on to the field, did two summersaults and some bad dance moves before being subdued.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Canadian Football League kicker living his dream

Jay SkurskiNiagara Gazette
All his life, Sandro DeAngelis wanted nothing more than to be a football player.As a child growing up in Niagara Falls, Ontario, he would play football in the yard with his two older brothers, Steve and Dan.“They were the guys that pushed me,” DeAngelis said.The fact that his brothers were 15 and 16 years older than him and playing high school football when Sandro was born meant he got used to playing against bigger competition at a young age.Knee problems would eventually end Steve’s playing career, while Dan suited up at the collegiate level for Buffalo State. The older DeAngelis brothers’ main goal, however, was to push Sandro. The long days of playing in the yard would eventually pay off.After a high school career at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute in which he earned Connolly Cup honors as Western New York’s best player, DeAngelis went on to have a tumultuous four-year career with the Nebraska Cornhuskers.“They were the best and worst years of my life,” he said of his time spent in the Midwest.DeAngelis recently completed his first year as place kicker for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. He finished second in the league in scoring as a rookie, connecting for 179 points.While his career as a professional is off to a good start, the road to get there was certainly a bumpy one.High schoolDeAngelis made the 40-minute daily commute from the Canadian side of the falls. Although the DeAngelis family isn’t wealthy, they found a way to pay Sandro’s $6,500 annual tuition in order to facilitate his dream of playing football.“That first year was a huge struggle, both physically and financially,” he said. “If it weren’t for my family, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”DeAngelis was a star for the Marauders. Playing running back, linebacker and place kicker, he was a first team all-state selection in 1998 as a junior. That same year, he became the first Marauder to win the Connolly Cup.“He was all over the field,” St. Joe’s athletic director Joe Wolf recalled. “He was a legitimate superstar here.”Former teammate and current St. Joe’s assistant coach Mark Campanella said beside being a tremendous athlete, DeAngelis was a nicer person.“He’d score a game-winning touchdown and be more worried about thanking the blockers,” Campanella said.DeAngelis’ humble personality shouldn’t be taken as weakness, however.Campanella said DeAngelis was leg-pressing 500 pounds in high school. At 6-foot-3, Campanella was leg-pressing about 450 pounds. DeAngelis is only 5-foot-8.“He had me beat,” Campanella joked. “His leg strength was just amazing.”DeAngelis was also clutch under pressure. Campanella recalled a late October game against arch-rival Bishop Timon/St. Jude. The Tigers had scored a touchdown in overtime, but went for two instead of attempting an extra point because of the wind. The try failed and on the next possession St. Joe’s scored. DeAngelis nailed the extra point, securing the victory and keeping intact the Marauders’ perfect season. St. Joe’s would go on to finish 10-0 on the year.“That was the best high school game I’ve ever been a part of,” Campanella said.An ankle injury hobbled DeAngelis much of his senior year, but he had proved enough during his career to earn a scholarship to the University of Nebraska.CollegeWearing the red and white of the Cornhuskers was a dream come true for DeAngelis.“That was my Graceland, even as a little kid,” he said.When he arrived in Lincoln, however, DeAngelis realized how much faster the game had become.After running over defenses in Western New York, DeAngelis became a kicker exclusively. At first, he was disappointed.“To be a fullback, you had to be 250 pounds and to be an I-back you had to have 4.4 speed,” he said. “And I didn’t have any of those.”DeAngelis decided if he were to have a future in the game, kicking would be his meal ticket.“I realized that if I ever wanted to make any money in this game, that would be the way to do it,” he said. “I sort of enjoy the pressure and adversity of kicking anyway.”DeAngelis red-shirted in 2000. As a freshman in 2001, he started four of the first five games, hitting 2-of-3 field goals and 15-of-16 PATs.Being on the field for a game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Week 3 drove home the fact DeAngelis was playing a key role for one of the most storied college football programs in the nation.“It’s an experience I’ll always hold dear to my heart,” he said.The Cornhuskers were cruising along in 2001 until the last week of the regular season, when the Colorado Buffaloes pulled off a shocking 62-36 upset. Still, Nebraska reached the national title game, facing the Miami Hurricanes in the Rose Bowl.Nebraska was defeated in that game as well, beginning a downward slide for both DeAngelis and the program.DeAngelis missed his sophomore season in 2002 with a stress fracture in his left foot. The following year, he started the first two games — but in the third week against Utah State, DeAngelis missed an extra point in the first quarter. He was benched, and would only see the field four more times all year.He disagreed with coach Frank Solich’s decision.“I just thought it was a knee-jerk reaction,” he said.Solich was dismissed prior to the 2004 season, replaced by former Oakland Raiders coach Bill Callahan.Though the Cornhuskers struggled on the field, finishing with a 5-6 record, DeAngelis was able to resurrect his career. He handled kickoff duties and got a look from Calgary.After graduating May 7, he was in Stampeders’ training camp by May 23.Seeing Nebraska struggle to a 6-4 record has pained him.“It kills me,” he said. “But I know Coach Callahan. He’s one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met. He’ll get it turned around.”Going proDuring his first year in the CFL, DeAngelis put together one of the best seasons ever by a rookie kicker. He started the preseason by connecting on his first six field goal attempts. The momentum carried over to the regular season, as DeAngelis hit his first 11 field goals.His performance in Week 8, a 40-37 victory over the Montreal Alouettes in which DeAngelis kicked the game-winning field goal, earned him CFL Special Teams Player of the Week honors. He kicked six field goals during a 29-21 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Week 16, in the process earning Player of the Week honors for a second time. The win guaranteed the Stampeders a spot in the playoffs. It was there that Calgary would falter, though. The Stampeders turned the ball over six times in losing to the Edmonton Eskimos 33-26, ending their season Nov. 13.“It was a bitter, bitter loss,” DeAngelis said. “But it just makes me hungrier. My goal next year is to win a Grey Cup.”DeAngelis finished the year 40 for 49 on field goal attempts, helping to rack up 179 points, good for second in the CFL. He was recently named a CFL West All-Star — the only unanimous selection in the league.Although he plays in Calgary, DeAngelis’ family was able to see him play some this year. The Stampeders had road games in Hamilton and Toronto — relatively short commutes from Niagara Falls.“It’s tough being away from family and friends,” he said. “But my family supports me, they know I’m living my dream.”The futureDeAngelis makes his off-season home in Lincoln. He has a busy winter planned — he and his fiancé, Cassi, are planning to wed. “I met her at school, so this will always be a special place for me,” he said.With a year remaining on his contract with Calgary, DeAngelis will be back with the Stampeders come May. Like most CFLers, the dream of playing in the National Football League remains.“Without a doubt, the NFL is a goal, but I’m going to work hard this off-season to try and help Calgary make it back to the playoffs,” he said. “Once you get a taste, you want more.”When Campanella was promoted to assistant on the varsity squad, DeAngelis was one of the first to call and congratulate him.“Here he is making a good living kicking in the CFL, and he’s worried about how I’m doing,” Campanella said. “That’s just the type of guy he is.”Though his playing career is far from over, DeAngelis has considered a coaching future.“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about walking the sidelines at St. Joe’s someday,” he said.