The UBC Thunderbirds, including four Abbotsford football products, are set to play for the Vanier Cup on Saturday.
Defensive back Tanner Friesen, wide receiver Ben Cummings, defensive lineman Levi Hua and quarterback Greg Bowcott hit the gridiron in Quebec City for the 51st edition of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship.
Friesen and Cummings are both first-years, and graduated from Robert Bateman Secondary. Hua is a second-year and graduated from W.J. Mouat Secondary, while Bowcott is a fifth-year player from Rick Hansen Secondary.
UBC disposed of the St. FX X-Men 36-9 in Nova Scotia on Nov. 21 to qualify for the big game. The win earned the Thunderbirds the Uteck Bowl. Cummings caught two passes for 23 yards in the victory.
UBC head coach Blake Nill said he was thrilled with the win.
It’s been a remarkable turnaround for UBC, after the club finished last in the Canada West conference with two wins and six losses in 2014.
“I would never have expected this in a hundred years with this group, a group that was 2-6 last year and to get them to a Vanier Cup; andit is not like we have had an easy road either – we had to win in Calgary, we had to win in Manitoba, win in Saskatchewan. We beat somegood teams to get here.”
The Thunderbirds next play the defending champion Montreal Carabins for the Vanier Cup. The game kicks off at 10 a.m., and can be seen live on Sportsnet.