November 1, 2019

Hogan: The Case of the Broken Leg

A house divided against itself, cannot stand.” – Abraham Lincoln

Evoking the words of the former U.S. President may be a bit strong, but on a day when the Argos conclude their season against their arch-rivals from Hamilton, there will be some internal trash-talking among some members of the Double Blue.

Oh, and there’s a little matter of one player allegedly breaking the leg of one of his current teammates.

At 7:00 at Tim Horton’s Field, the Argos play the hated Ticats. At 1:00, eight kilometres to the west at Ron Joyce Stadium, the McMaster Marauders host the Guelph Gryphons in an OUA Semi-Final.

That’s where the locker room bickering begins. Three Argo players, Ryan Bomben, Alex Charette, and Jake Reinhart are former Gryphons; while Declan Cross, Tyler Crapigna and Hassan Barry played at Mac, as did Director of Canadian Scouting Vince Magri.

The game has been a topic of discussion in the locker room this week, as each group of alumni is anxious to grab bragging rights.

The person with the most skin in the game, or in this case blood, is Reinhart. His younger brother Job, a 2019 Calgary Stampeders draft pick, is a starting linebacker, and yes, longsnapper. He finished in the top ten in the OUA in tackles, sacks and tackles for loss.

“He’s having a good year,” said a proud big brother. “Our games seemed to line up so we’re playing on the same day, so I haven’t been watching him as closely as I would have liked. It’s a big game for him, potentially his last game, I hope not, I don’t even like to say it. I know he’ll be ready.”

The final game of the elder Reinhart’s career came in a playoff loss to, you guessed it, McMaster.

“It was 2013,” recalled the former linebacker and one-time Guelph Defensive Player of the Year. ”It was a game at McMaster. We lost. It was my last game, I was really sad, so that’s the most memorable one, being the last one I ever played in.”

Tyler Crapigna’s locker is two to the right of Reinhart. The placekicker, who kicked a Vanier Cup winning field goal for the Marauders in 2011, remembers another Guelph/Mac game, though for all the wrong reasons.

“Guelph is a team that I’ve always hated,” admitted Crapigna.  “It’s the team that broke my leg back in 2010, so for me it was always a game that I marked on the schedule, making sure we beat them.”

Which player on the Gryphons that broke Crapigna’s leg has always been a mystery – sort of. There’s at least been a chance for some deniability. put the question to the kicker about which Guelph player he thinks broke his leg.

“I have still yet to confirm who it actually was,” replied a now smiling Crapigna, “But it may, or may not be a guy who wears number 58 on the Toronto Argos. We haven’t checked the tape on that one, but we may need to confirm that soon.”

Hmm, that sounded like a clue. The interrogation was set to begin. The question was put to Reinhart directly; was he the player who broke Crapigna’s leg?

“Can you believe this? This is still in dispute,” said a suddenly fidgety Reinhart. “We haven’t determined if it was me, but it was either me or another gentleman on the team. It was completely unintentional. We had to sell out for a punt block, Mac was up late in the game, they were punting the ball away, there was less than two minutes left so we had to sell out to block the punt. It was either me or another gentleman who slid into the leg of Mr. Tyler Crapigna.”

When given the chance to clear his conscience and admit a secret that must have burdened him for close to a decade, Reinhart evaded it like he did the punt blocker on that fateful Saturday afternoon.

“I can’t confirm or deny,” maintained the man who recently played in his one hundredth CFL game. “We’ve been looking for video footage of it, but it’s so far back. I should get my brother to check and see if the software goes that far back so we could actually find out. Right now, we can’t confirm or deny.”

College/university football is a big area of discussion in the locker room during the week. Players are proud of their alumni, and often are seen wearing hoodies or hats of their alma mater. There may also be a friendly wager or two between players when two programs go toe-to-toe, but while the now friends admit they may put something on the line, nothing has been set yet.

“There will definitely be a wager,” said Reinhart. ”We haven’t yet determined what the bet will be.”

Though they’re tempted, the half-dozen current Argos won’t take in the first half of the playoff game before heading to THF. Only Magri will be in attendance, looking to see if there’s someone playing in the 1:00 game who could add to the current MccMaster/Guelph content on the Argo roster in the future.