A stellar first half of the season earned quarterback Nathan Rourke nominations for two of the CFL’s top individual awards.
The Victoria native was named the B.C. Lions’ nominee as top Canadian and outstanding player Wednesday, the opening round of voting conducted by both the Football Reporters of Canada as well as the nine CFL head coaches.
Rourke, of Victoria, guided B.C. to an 8-1 record before suffering a foot injury in a 28-10 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Aug. 19 that required surgery. Rourke is scheduled to return under centre for the Lions in their regular-season finale versus Winnipeg on Friday.
Rourke was nothing short of sensational in his first full season as B.C.’s starter. He had completed 248-of-313 passes (79.2 per cent) for 3,281 yards with 25 TDs and just 10 interceptions before his injury.
Despite his prolonged absence, Rourke is seventh among CFL passers and second in TDs. His six games of 300 or more yards passing are still tops in the league.
Rourke also ran for 304 yards on 39 carries (7.8-yard average) with seven touchdowns. The Lions other nominees include defensive back Garry Peters (defensive player), offensive lineman Joel Figueroa (lineman), kicker Sean Whyte (special teams), and defensive back Emmanuel Rugamba (rookie).
The other double nominees include Saskatchewan Roughriders linebacker Darnell Sankey (player, defensive player), Hamilton Tiger-Cats kicker Seth Small (rookie, special teams) and Ottawa defensive lineman Lorenzo Mauldin IV (player, unanimous as defensive player).
Also securing unanimous selections were: Edmonton offensive lineman Mark Korte (lineman), Calgary running back Ka’Deem Carey (player), Saskatchewan receiver Kian Schaffer-Baker (Canadian) and returner Mario Alford (special teams), Winnipeg quarterback Zach Collaros (last year’s outstanding player, nominated again as top player) and receiver Dalton Schoen (rookie), Hamilton offensive lineman Brandon Revenberg (lineman), Toronto linebacker Wynton McManis (defensive player), Ottawa offensive lineman Jacob Ruby (lineman), Montreal receiver Eugene Lewis (player), defensive back Adarius Pickett (defensive player) and receiver Tyson Philpot (rookie).
The divisional finalists will be named next Thursday.