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From the football field in Essex, to Hamilton, and the mainstage in Calgary

- Revenberg and his Tiger-Cats lose to Winnipeg in Grey Cup finals -

Photo courtesy of Hamilton Tiger-Cats football club: Essex native, Brandon Revenberg (centre, #57), is pictured calling out the rusher against the Ottawa RedBlacks. Revenberg is a member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, which played in the Grey Cup on November 24. The Tiger-Cats lost to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 33-12. 

by Garrett Fodor

Standing at six-foot, four-inches, and weighing 300 pounds, when Essex native Brandon Revenberg walks into a room, people notice.

  Like most Canadian kids, Revenberg grew up on the ice, playing hockey. As a teen, he decided to transition from ice to gridiron, and that change would eventually lead him to playing in the 2019 Canadian Football League (CFL) 2019 Grey Cup final, which took place on Sunday. 

  Revenberg is currently an offensive lineman and member of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats football club. On Sunday, his team lost in the Grey Cup Final, the CFL’s top prize, to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 33-12. This concluded his fourth year of professional football.

  Before being drafted third overall in the 2016 CFL Draft, he spent four years playing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. Before that, he was a member of the Essex District High School’s Red Raiders football team. But for Revenberg, the younger brother in a family with three siblings, football was an afterthought and something that nearly did not happen.

“I’d say for me, it was my football and just kind of being the younger brother, kind of looking up to them [my brothers] and thinking [it was] something I’d like to do,’ Revenberg said, while thinking on the origins of his career so far. “I loved playing hockey, but I was more of a goon, just playing house league. I never really had a true passion for it. As soon as I started playing football, I just felt more at home there, in that sport.”

  For Revenberg, football began when he was in grade seven, when he shifted from hockey to football. He came into the Red Raider program at EDHS playing as a linebacker and running back, before continuing to grow into a lineman, like he is today.

“When Brandon first came to us, he was a tall, awkward looking football player, but he worked so hard at getting bigger and stronger,” Badi Qawwas, Revenberg’s former coach at EDHS, said of his four-year tenure on the local high school team. “Switching to football with his body type, he is tall and he is strong. He is monstrous, his hands and body frame are 100 percent football. And, he transformed that big frame into such an athletic frame, adding the strength that was needed.”

  While Qawwas said Revenberg came into the program driven and wanting to be the best he possibly could, Revenberg credits both of his coaches at EDHS – Qawwas and Matt Sanders – for getting him to where he is today. He added they were crucial contributors to his development as a player, and added that Sanders helped him make highlight packs, which got him to play for Grand Valley.

  Sanders was in attendance on November 24, as Revenberg went for the Grey Cup.

  “Playing in the CFL, in the Grey Cup, is never something I really thought of you know. I was definitely a guy [who] was more day-to-day,” Revenberg admitted, prior to the game on November 24. “I’ve never looked too far ahead and I’m just enjoying everything in the moment. I didn’t really start thinking into the CFL in general until my last year at Grand Valley. One of the Ti-Cats scouts came out and started talking to me. And then from there, the dream definitely started to come around to where we are today.”

  While Revenberg and the Ti-Cats fell 33-12 to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sunday, Revenberg said he is grateful for the opportunity to play on Canada’s biggest stage in his young career. Though the game did not end with the result Revenberg wanted, the 26-year-old said he believes there is something special with this team. And with a contract through to 2020, Revenberg cannot wait to come back and play football for the Ti-Cats. 

 

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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