Bombers dominate CFL Awards, with O’Shea, Collaros, Bryant and Schoen earning hardware

Once again, Zach Collaros is the CFL’s most outstanding player.

The Winnipeg quarterback secured the honour for a second straight year Thursday night at the CFL awards banquet.

Collaros will lead Winnipeg into the Grey Cup game Sunday versus the Toronto Argonauts, with the Bombers chasing a third straight championship.

Voting for the award was conducted by members of the Football Reporters of Canada and the nine CFL head coaches.

Collaros, 34, guided Winnipeg to a CFL-best 15-3 record this season, winning 15 of his 17 regular-season starts.

Collaros led the CFL in touchdown passes (37) and was second in passing yards (career-best 4,183 yards) while completing 305-of-436 passes (70 per cent).

He led a Winnipeg offence that was tops in offensive TDs (58), passing TDs (44), passing efficiency (116.6), average per attempt (9.6 yards) and second in offensive scoring (28.2 points per game).

Winnipeg also did a good job of protecting Collaros, allowing the second-fewest sacks (29).

And that’s important given Collaros suffered an ankle injury in Winnipeg’s 28-20 West Division final win over the B.C. Lions and was absent from practice Wednesday.

Montreal Alouettes receiver Eugene Lewis was the finalist after registering 91 catches for 1,303 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Lions’ Rourke named top Canadian

B.C. Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke was named the CFL’s most outstanding Canadian.

Rourke, 24, finished sixth in CFL passing with 3,349 yards despite only playing in 10 regular-season games.

The Victoria native staked B.C. to wins in eight of its first nine games before suffering a foot injury in a 28-10 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Aug. 19 that required surgery.

At the time, Rourke was leading the CFL in passing (3,281 yards) and TDs (25).

He returned for the Lions regular-season finale, then led the club past Calgary 30-16 in the West Division semifinal before its 28-20 loss to Winnipeg in the conference final last weekend.

Rourke finished his season completing 255-of-324 passes (78.7 per cent) with 25 TDs, 10 interceptions and a league-high six 300-yard games while also rushing for 304 yards on 39 carries (7.8-yard average) with seven TDs.

Toronto Argonauts receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr. was the finalist.

O’Shea wins coach of the year for 2nd straight year

Another year, another coach of the year honour for Mike O’Shea of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

O’Shea claimed the award for a second straight season.

The native of North Bay, Ont., guided Winnipeg to a league-best 15-3 record this season and a second straight first-place finish in the West Division.

Toronto Argonauts’ Ryan Dinwiddie was the finalist.

Mauldin IV wins top defensive player award

Defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin IV of the Ottawa Redblacks was named the CFL’s top defensive player.

The six-foot-four, 259-pound Mauldin IV was one of the few bright spots for Ottawa (4-14), which finished last in the East Division.

Mauldin IV had a breakout ’22 campaign, his first with Ottawa, registering a CFL-high 17 sacks.

He also posted career highs of 43 tackles and two forced fumbles.

Mauldin IV spent his first two CFL seasons with Hamilton, recording a combined 13 tackles and four sacks in 17 games.

Defensive lineman Shawn Lemon of the Calgary Stampeders was the finalist.

Bryant wins record 4th top lineman award

A historic accomplishment for Stanley Bryant.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ towering tackle was named the CFL’s top lineman for a record fourth time.

The six-foot-five, 313-pound Bryant also claimed the honour in 2017, 2018 and 2021.

The Bombers posted a CFL-best 15-3 record this season, aided by an explosive offence.

Winnipeg surrendered the second-fewest sacks (29) on the season.

Canadian Brandon Revenberg of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats was the finalist.

Schoen collects rookie of the year honours

Receiver Dalton Schoen of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers won the CFL’s top rookie award.

The six-foot-one, 218-pound American led the CFL in receiving yards (1,441) and touchdown catches (16).

Schoen registered 70 receptions in his first CFL campaign, averaging a sparkling 20.6 yards per catch.

Tyson Philpot of the Montreal Alouettes was the finalist.

Alford named top special teams player

Mario Alford of the Saskatchewan Roughriders was named the CFL’s top special-teams player.

Earlier this week, Alford signed a contract extension with the Riders. He was slated to become a free agent in February.

Alford had a CFL-high four return TDs this season (two kickoff, one punt, one missed field goal) in 13 regular-season games.

His four return touchdowns were a Saskatchewan team record.

Chandler Worthy of the Montreal Alouettes was the finalist.

The Riders acquired Alford from Montreal on July 3 for a 2023 sixth-round draft pick.