1980s

The Ravens entered 1980 with a positive outlook and the determination to take it one game at a time, with Coach Kealey being backed by a completely new team of assistant coaches. Though the Birds lost the first three games of the year, the season was redeemed when the Ravens brought "Pedro the Panda" home with a 30-21 win over the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.

1982 brought a new head coach, Wayne (Ace) Powell Jr., as well as some reforms. Training camp had the Ravens practicing two or three times a day, with a largely veteran team that was hungry for a taste of success. Highlights of the season included the first win against Queen's Golden Gaels since 1974. Things were definitely starting to look up for the team, with a 28-17 win over Bishop's that placed the Ravens in second place in the Ontario-Quebec Intercollegiate Football Conference (O-QIFC). However, the next loss (19-7) against the Gee-Gees, ended the season.

Cam Collins, Clark Oliver, Dan Petschenig, Steve Hamlin and Tom Timlin formed the nucleus of the 1983 team. An exciting see-saw battle between the Ravens and fIfth-ranked Bishop's team gave the Ravens their first win of the season. A three-game winning streak followed and wide receiver John Dawley helped to turn around the Panda Game, which the Ravens snagged 33-28. After just one season of heading up the coaching staff, Ace Powell managed to bring the Ravens to the O-QIFC playoffs.

The 1984 team was stacked with many potential CFL drafts. A 10-9 win over Queen's, which was in the midst of negotiating the establishment of an elite league with Western, Toronto and McGill, was the highlight of the season. The Ravens bulldozed over Bishop's, the third-ranked team in Canada at the time. After this game, the Bishop's coach stated, "I said at the season's start that I felt Carleton had the best team in the conference and today they went out and proved it." The Ravens were ninth in the country going into the 1984 Panda game. Predictions from NFL executives to local radio personalities pointed to a Ravens'victory. As expected, Pedro went to the Ravens. The 1984 season was the best year the Ravens had had for years. Yet no one was prepared for 1985 and 1986, the two most successful seasons in Ravens history.

The 1985 team began the season with a very balanced attack against its opponents, using the new Cam Collins-Mark Brown quarterback-wide receiver combination to fuel the offence. Fan support was at an all-time high and the Ravens took home their third Panda game in a row, a first in Ravens' history. After a 40-20 win over Bishop's, the Birds found themselves heading to the conference final for the first time since the days of Coach Harris (1962). This game was to be played against Concordia, and the Ravens' win put them in the Western Bowl.

Everyone in Ottawa and the surrounding areas had Ravens fever as the Carleton team headed to Calgary to face the Dinosaurs in the Western Bowl (Vanier Cup semi-final). In 23C weather, the Ravens season came to an end with a 56-14 win for the Calgary Dinosaurs. However, all was not lost - the Ravens enjoyed the best season in the history of the club. They were the first to win a playoff game as well as a league championship, and the first to enter the Final Four.

The 1986 team fed off the fire of the 1985 squad. Many chose the Ravens to repeat their O-QIFC title. Five consecutive wins over Bishop's, Ottawa U., Queen's and McGill made it seem as if the Ravens were surely on their way to the Western Bowl once again. The 30-29 Panda game loss that followed was felt to be perhaps the biggest upset of the year. But the Ravens didn't let it stop them. Their 6- 1-0 record sent them to the conference semi-finals, where sweet revenge for the Panda game loss was obtained with a win over the Gee-Gees. The Ravens, the defending championship team, lost in a heartbreaking game against the Bishop's Gaiters. In 1987, the Panda came back to Carleton, but 1988 and 1989 proved to be years of famine in the land of the Ravens. Would the 1990s bring years of plenty?

Key Game - In the fall of 1985, over 1,500 fans braved the 8C weather to cheer on the Ravens in the O-QIFC final against the Concordia Stingers. "The Bermuda Triangle" (defencemen Tom Timlin, John Hurley and David Harr) allowed Stinger running backs entrance into the middle of the Ravens' defence, but they never came out on their feet. Although Mark Brown was injured, replacement wide receiver Mark Skidmore scored an O-QIFC playoff record of four touchdowns. After Skidmore's first touchdown, Jeff Morris kicked a field goal and Frank Bastianelli returned a 15-yard pass to bring the score to 17-0 before the end of the first quarter. Concordia converted one of the rare Ravens mistakes of the game, but Skidmore's second touchdown brought the score to 24-8 at the half. The third quarter brought yet another touchdown by Skidmore and a fantastic 83-yard touchdown catch by Concordia. The fourth quarter included the last touchdown by the Skidmore machine as well as another major by Joey Barnabe. All in all, the Ravens dominated by rushing a whopping 298 yards and passing another 113, while Concordia only managed 41 yards rushing and 186 yards passing.

Key Player - Though small in stature at 5'9", Mark Brown's football career at Carleton University was anything but small. This speedy wide receiver shattered both Ravens and O-QIFC records, including most yards gained in a career (2, 759), most yards in a season (1,028), most yards in a game (418). A fan favourite, Brown was voted Male Athlete of the Year (1986, 1987), winner of the Jack Vogan Medal (1988) and team MVP (1985, 1988). The CIAU voted him rookie of the year (1985) and a first-team All Canadian (1988). Mark Brown was inducted into the Carleton Athletics Varsity Hall of Fame in February 1996.

Statistics (wins/loses/ties)

  • 1980 (1/6/1)
  • 1981 (1/5/0)
  • 1982 (2/5/0)
  • 1983 (4/4/0)
  • 1984 (4/3/0)
  • 1985 (6/3/0)
  • 1986 (6/2/0)
  • 1987 (2/5/0)
  • 1988 (0/7/0)
  • 1989 (0/7/0)