Varsity Tiger-Cats teammates both join Golden Hawks

Laurier secures two commits from Waterdown.

There’s nothing quite like playing with your good friend and running back Damian Tesoro and linebacker Mitch Rooney from the Hamilton Varsity Tiger-Cats (Ontario Football Conference) will get to continue their journey together after both signed their letters of intent with the Laurier Golden Hawks.

Damian Tesoro straight-arms an opponent. Courtesy of Damian Tesoro.

Damian Tesoro straight-arms an opponent. Courtesy of Damian Tesoro.

Tesoro will be moving to Waterloo from Waterdown, Ontario, a town outside of Hamilton. The versatile player stands at 6’3, 240lbs and plays as running back, linebacker and defensive end.

When he joins the Golden Hawks in 2017, Tesoro is looking forward to the opportunity to earn his playing time. “I’m coming in at the right time when they are still building and making guys earn sports, but also they are winning, which means they have worked hard to be where they are now,” he said of his new team.

“I also really like the area and the campus, I think, is exactly what I need to be successful in the university with everything being so close,” he added. He is interested in going into health sciences or sports management.

On top of the campus atmosphere, Tesoro also said the coaches are what really made his decision. “They are very supportive and what they try and teach is family and what it means to be surrounded by family, especially on a football team,” he said.

Tesoro said that he is comfortable with the team’s coaching staff and they have given him an opportunity to play for them. “Coach Faulds is young and is not going anywhere so I am able to create a good relationship with my head coach,” he added.

In his seven-year career, he has suited up for the Hamilton-Wentworth Panthers (Hamilton Minor Football Association) and the Hamilton Hurricanes, which is now known as the Hamilton Varsity Tiger-Cats. In 2014, he won the special teams and offensive MVP awards. In the same year, he won the OFC Championship with the Hurricanes and also won it this year under the team’s new name. In 2015, he was named the OFC defensive linemen of the year.

Hamilton Varsity Tiger-Cats were the 2016 OFC champions. Courtesy of Damian Tesoro.

Hamilton Varsity Tiger-Cats were the 2016 OFC champions. Courtesy of Damian Tesoro.

While some players like to stay close home and attend a local university, Tesoro is approaching the situation in a different light. “I also simply wanted to get away from my hometown and go make a name for myself somewhere else,” he said.

But he won’t be leaving Waterdown all alone. “We’ve (Mitch Rooney and I) been playing together for two years, but we’ve been best friends since grade eight. He only played high school last year with me and then I convinced him to play the Tiger-Cats this year because he was good enough,” Tesoro said of his future Golden Hawk teammate.

Both Tesoro and Rooney played for Waterdown District High School (Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.) Rooney is 6’3, 225lbs and will be bringing his size to the defensive line of the Golden Hawks.

Rooney said that he committed to Laurier because of the great business program the school has to offer. He also chose the Golden Hawks because of the the homey feel he said you get the first time you step onto campus.

The OFC’s defensive player of the week (week eight) added that, “The coaching staff has put a lot of effort into the development of each player and they are always positive towards the players.”

While Tesoro’s prodding managed to persuade Rooney to join a team that would soon become OFC champions, maybe there was even a little bit of nudging from Tesoro to get his best friend to sign with university too.

Damian Tesoro (left) and Mitch Rooney (right) on the Varsity Tiger-Cats. Courtesy of Damian Tesoro.

Damian Tesoro (left) and Mitch Rooney (right) on the Varsity Tiger-Cats. Courtesy of Damian Tesoro.


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