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Vanier Cup championship anchored by ‘Bowen edge’

Behind the solid blocking of Bowen athlete Elliot Beamer the Western Mustangs claimed victory in the 2021 Vanier Cup
Bowen born and raised boys Elliot Beamer, a Western Mustangs team captain and first-team all-Canadian, and Ben Welsh, a non-dressed reserve, celebrate the Mustangs’ Vanier Cup win.

The Western Mustangs’ triumph in Canada’s top college football game had a strong Bowen presence backing their effort.

Elliot Beamer is a member of the University of Western Ontario’s formidable offensive line and a team captain. With his help the Mustangs gained nearly 500 yards of total offensive as they came back to defeat the University of Saskatchewan Huskies 27-21 in last Saturday’s title Vanier Cup game.

“The guys all knew what they had to do and that’s just what it comes down to, having everyone on the same page,” Beamer told the Undercurrent.

“And it feels really good to have everyone buy in like that. It doesn’t happen every year.”

The game was Western’s strongest challenge in months; they’d won eight games in a row all by 20 points or more. But they found themselves down 12-10 to the Huskies at halftime.

The frigid Quebec City weather also was in full December force, dipping to -10°C by kickoff.

“Craziest thing I’ve ever played on… It was like literally playing on an ice rink,” says Beamer.

“Before every play you had to figure out where the best spot to stand was to push off and then you had to dig your feet in.”

It was so slippery that both teams received new cleats the day before the game, as the traditional spikes had no chance of sticking to the frozen surface at Stade Telus on the Laval University campus.

“Watching the first half again we saw that we kind of had the edge on them a bit, but there were just certain plays, dropped balls, missed opportunities,” Beamer said of coaches’ observations at halftime. “And then in the second half, it was just ‘Don’t make those mistakes.’”

And they didn’t. Two third-quarter touchdown passes from Evan Hillock put the Mustangs up for good and won them their second Vanier Cup in the past four competitions.

Beamer was also on the team during the 2017 title run, his rookie season, and adds a second championship ring to his collection. 

It was touch-and-go whether the season would even finish this year. The 2020 campaign had been wiped out due to COVID and there was no certainty 2021 wouldn’t suffer the same fate.

So Beamer just focused on what he could control, right here at home. “Bowen was a great place to prep. I think it gave me a bit of an edge. I built my own gym out of tires up at the Beamer ranch. And I was running up and down Bishop’s Hill for my cardio,” he says.

Beamer credits the work he and the rest of the offensive line put in to make the Mustangs’ offensive one of the most explosive in the nation.

“It comes out of preparation. Over the offseason, physically we were all prepared. And we were meeting to make sure that we understood what to do.”

Beamer has the opportunity to return to the team next fall but he’s not sure yet if he’ll pursue Western’s title defence.

He’s scheduled to graduate from his history program in 2022, after which he’ll turn his focus to teachers’ college. Beamer says he’ll make a decision next year.