TORONTO — When it was all over Jason Medeiros admits tears were coming down his face. His McMaster Marauders had fallen to the Laval Rouge et Or in the 48th Vanier Cup, ending his CIS career in heartbreaking fashion, and he was now staring at an uncertain football future.
"It's tough," Medeiros, a fifth-year offensive lineman said in a post-game interview. "Not knowing what's going on in the future, not knowing where you can go from here on out it's tough to leave the field.
"There's really no way to explain [how] heartbreaking it really is."
A year ago Medeiros and the Marauders were on the opposite side of things. Against the same Laval Rouge et Or team, McMaster captured their first ever Vanier Cup in a double overtime thriller. It's a game that's now known as one of the most historic in CIS history.
But in the championship rematch, in front of a record-setting crowd of 37,098, many of which were Marauder fans, McMaster's defence couldn't find an answer to Laval's run game, which proved to be the most pivotal part of the 37-14 loss. Laval's running back Maxime Boutin had 24 carries for 253 yards and two touchdowns, including an 84-yard run in the third quarter that put Laval ahead 27-14. His yard total Friday was the second highest all-time in a Vanier Cup and earned him the player of the game honours.
And on top of Mac's defensive struggles, Medeiros and the Marauders offensive line had trouble protecting their quarterback Kyle Quinlan, who was sacked seven times and just didn't seem to have any time inside the pocket. Quinlan, who took home the Hec Creighton Trophy Thursday as the top player in Canadian football, threw for 335 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in Friday's loss.
"We came into this game knowing their defensive front seven was probably the best in the country," Medeiros said. "Their defense is on of the best in the country. They're big boys in the trenches. We knew it was going to be a battle, we knew we had to battle all night long, stay low, get our hand placement in. It was tough and they brought it.
"We did our homework we watched our film, and they brought exactly what we thought they were going to. They're good players, they were well coached and they stuck to their gameplan… They came out, brought some pressure and they got to us."
As an offensive lineman Medeiros has spent the last five years working alongside Quinlan, who wasn't made available to the media after the game. The loss also marks the end of the QB's CIS career and Medeiros hopes Quinlan is given the opportunity to prove himself in the CFL.
"Kyle is the competitor," he said. "He's the field general. It doesn't matter what's going to knock him down, he's going to get back up and he's going strong. "He's ready to go all the time."
As for what's next for Medeiros, the 23-year-old Hamilton, Ont., native was signed by his hometown Tiger-Cats as an undrafted free agent in May, 2011 and that's where he hopes to end up. However, he's not closing himself off to just playing for one CFL franchise.
For now though he needs to let this all sink in. Medeiros is closing a large chapter of his life, and that's going to take some time.