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Friday, Jun. 22, 2018
Christian Battistelli garners OUA honours
by Randy Pascal

A 131-yard on 15 carries rushing performance by Christian Battistelli was enough to earn the Lively native and St Benedict Bears program graduate "OUA Offensive Player of the Week" honours, as he helped lead the Carleton Ravens to a 45-9 quarter-final win over the Ottawa Gee Gees.

Battistelli, whose effort was highlighted by a 56 yard touchdown run in the third quarter, surpassed his regular season total of 123 yards in this game alone. It was quite the outburst for the clubhouse leader, whose strongest assets are perhaps most appreciated away from the field of play.

"My role on the team has always been impactful", noted the fourth year commerce major. "I've always been put in charge of teaching the new guys coming in our systems, and really helping them grow as players."

"Even though I wasn't a starter, I've always felt that my role is a big one, that ability to come in at different times during a game and make big plays." Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Battistelli outburst is that it came directly on the heels of four missed games due to injury, the local product knocked out of action early in the September 24th game versus the York Lions.

Still, he knew that a chance to shine might well exist as Carleton met their cross-town rivals less than a month after besting the Gee Gees 43-23 in the annual "Panda Bowl" at the start of October.

"Whenever we play Ottawa U, we want to run the ball," stated Battistelli. "We know we can run the ball really well against them. We have a phenomenal "O" line, and they always do a really good job of getting a push against their front seven."

"It gave me the opportunity to get a lot of touches, and with the line blocking the way they were, it made it really easy, honestly." Though obviously pleased with his production, Battistelli maintained that it was not necessarily unexpected, either in his own mind, or that of the Carleton coaching staff.

"I don't think they were surprised," he suggested. "They have always known my athletic capabilities. I've always been the #2 back, because they know that they can trust me, that I can go out there and execute my assignment. But I think they were definitely happy with how it went."

Now down to the OUA Final Four, the Ravens will face the #3 ranked Western Mustangs, brimming with the confidence that comes with handing the traditional football powerhouse their only loss of 2016, a 38-31 setback back on September 4th.

"Our game plan against a team like Western is going to be significantly different," said Battistelli. "Our focus in this game is more or less personnel based. We look at their players and their tendancies, like we do every week, but they don't do anything crazy schematically that we have to worry about."

As for the importance of the OUA accolades, Battistelli acknowledged that he wasn't even the first person in his own family to be aware of the recognition he had received.

"I had just come back from a walk-through practice on Monday, and I had gotten a message from my dad saying that I had won it," he said. "It is a great honour to have, but at the same time, I attribute most of it to our offensive line."

"They never get a lot of credit, but watching the film of that game, they did a really good job of blocking and making those lanes for me." While Carleton and Western will battle for one berth in the provincial final, the McMaster Marauders and Laurier Hawks will meet up to determine the other.

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