Lancer Stephenson sets CIS rushing record
BY JIM PARKER
Daryl Stephenson knows there are people who will revel in his recordbreaking wake even though he felt unable to do so himself.
A bullish four-yard gain with just over six minutes to play in the game pushed Stephenson to 4,740 career rushing yards. With it, Stephenson moved to the top of the CIS record books by passing Manitoba’s Dominic Zagari, who put up 4,738 yards from 1991-95.
“I talked to (former Lancer linemen) Brian Jones and Greg Torrance and Anthony Rimac and I know they wanted it,” Stephenson said.
For the fifth-year running back, the new record is testament to the hundreds of blocks he’s received over the years as much as his talent.
“It’s hard to tell what they do unless you see my stats,” Stephenson said. “If you’re the leading rusher in the country, then obviously you’ve got a good offensive line in front of you.”
But after grinding out 115 yards on 29 carries Saturday, Stephenson could find little satisfaction after his team fell 34-8 to the Guelph Gryphons at Alumni Field Saturday.
It left Stephenson feeling much the way he did a year ago when he broke the OUA rushing mark, but the Lancers fell at Western.
“I never think about that (record) and I don’t know if I’ll ever think about this one,” the 22-year-old Stephenson said. “I’ll trade yards for wins.” The loss was Windsor’s first of the season in three games while Guelph got its first win of the season in three games.
The Gryphons built a 10-0 lead at the half and the Lancers could never get their offence in gear.
Windsor’s only highlights were a Robert Eeuwes kickoff single to start the second half and his convert after a 48yard touchdown pass from Sam Malian to Mike Harrington. By that time, the game was out of reach and Stephenson was on the bench. With the rain pouring down in the fourth quarter, Stephenson got his record with a four-yard gain, but the Lancers failed to convert on a second down and six.
Stephenson headed to the sideline to make way for the punt team and had to be called back on the field to acknowledge the feat.
“They called me back, I didn’t want to go,” Stephenson said. “Did I look happy? The team was down, so I wasn’t going to be happy for myself. It’s not about me.”
It’s the type of player the six-foot-two, 235-pound Stephenson has been since coming to Windsor and one of the reasons head coach Mike Morencie calls him one of his alltime favourites.
“That’s what I like about him,” Morencie said. “He’s not a reward guy. He’s a team one.”
The rushing mark was one of two new records Stephenson set Saturday.
With 29 carries, he now has 736 rushing attempts for his career. That breaks the old CIS mark of 723 set by Mount Allison’s Grant Keaney from 1988 to 1992.
But for Stephenson, the big relief now is he won’t be asked about the record anymore and can focus on next week’s match at Laurier.
“It was a distraction,” Stephenson said. “Since I decided to come back (for a fifth year), everyone I talked to, they’d ask if I was going to break that record.”