It’s an experience that Varsity Blues fans have waited 17 long years for: the team’s first shutout victory since 1995.
U of T’s Varsity Stadium provided the Blues with a home-turf advantage that led to their 19–0 Labour Day defeat over the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks. Toronto’s second-year quarterback Richard Quittenton, in the first start of his CIS tenure, was integral in his team’s opening day victory. He finished the game with 157 yards on 15 of 25 passes and six rushes for 19 yards, including two touchdowns.
With the sounds of Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” commanding the loudspeakers, through the mildly breezy night’s sky as Labour Day came to a close, Quittenton followed the win with time to reflect. For him, this victory began at UTM, where his season preparation started in June at the campus’s upper field. He spent time as the Varsity Blues’ representative in the CIS program, where CFL teams hosted university quarterbacks for their training camps.
“I would never have expected to be at a pro camp at my age. It was a shock at first. Everything is faster; it’s the mental part of things as everything is more complicated and disguised,” he said in an interview during the Argonauts’ training camp back in June.
There were some moments at first in which he found himself starstruck around the Argonauts as he was getting up to speed with the team. “The first time I saw [Argonauts starting quarterback] Ricky Ray, I was too shy to go up to him. I’ve been watching him since I was a little kid.”
Being able to work with Ray was a blessing for Quittenton, since he sees a lot in common between him and Ray. “I’m not the loudest guy; I’m sort of like Ray, a silent leader, so it’s been helpful to see how he handles things. I’m not only learning the Xs and Os, but learning from example. When we’re off the field, we’re always in meetings together. I’m usually hanging off Ray’s shoulder.”
Quittenton made sure to soak in as much of his experience at the Mississauga campus as he could. He offered a few thoughts on the campus: “Everything’s new. It’s really nice. That building [CCT] is real confusing—you can get lost every day. But I like it here a lot. Beautiful campus.”
Following Toronto’s first win to open the season, Quittenton credits his quick grasp of the university game to his stay at Erindale. “The first I saw was the speed was different. Dealing with pro athletes, you see guys who are bigger, faster, and stronger, so coming back and playing with these guys was just a little bit slower and easier to figure out on the field,” he reflects. “I’ve really learned what it means to become a student of the game. Back in high school you can get by on having a real strong arm. It’s not at all like that over here.”
“My time at out there was real helpful; the people there are great, and you can’t complain when you learn with the Argos,” he concludes.
Coming on the the heels of their Labour Day victory, the Blues took to London to face the Western Mustangs where they lost 62–7. Quittenton finished the day five for 10, with 53 yards passing and 11 yards rushing on two carries in the first half, before being substituted for Chris Jugovic, who played the remainder of the game.
UTM fullback Stephan Boroniec added two assisted tackles and one catch for 18 yards, while Everton Williams, also from UTM, contributed three solo tackles, two assisted and one for loss of yards.