Venue: Varsity Stadium
Location: Toronto, ON
Date: November 29
Winning Coach: Billy Hughes
Queen’s University and Balmy Beach played each other in the Eastern Final in 1924. Little did the combatants know, that the winning team would also lay claim to the Grey Cup.
The Winnipeg Victorias were eligible to play for the national championship, but an internal dispute over railway lines prevented the team from traveling to Toronto to play the Eastern representative. The players wanted to travel on one line, while team management wanted to use another. This petty squabbling ultimately cost the Victorias a chance, albeit slim, of a Grey Cup championship.
Many thought the odds of Balmy Beach getting past Queen’s were just as unlikely, but the Toronto based club gave the students a good run for the title. Had a few unfortunate breaks gone Beach’s way, they could have easily ended Queen’s reign as Dominion champions.
Balmy Beach used wind to its advantage in the first quarter, as a tight defence and Morris Hughes’ kicking held the defending champions to just two points. But a miscue on Beach’s one-yard line cost them another two points. Rather than punt the ball out of danger, someone called a play for the quarterback, who was somewhere on the sidelines. The ball was snapped into an empty end zone, and Bubs Britton jumped on the loose pigskin and was tackled for a safety touch.
Queen’s held a 5-1 lead at halftime and would score the only touchdown of the game in the third quarter. Art Lewis got through the Balmy Beach line to block Hughes’ kick on the 35-yard line. James Wright recovered the ball and ran unobstructed to the end zone. Two Beach players were off serving penalties at the time.
Scotty Cawkell had an opportunity to score a touchdown for Beach near the end of the game when he took Pep Leadley’s kick near midfield, and took off. But a weak ankle prevented him from going further than the 35-yard line of Queen’s. Cawkell lateralled to Hughes, who ran an additional 10 yards. Balmy Beach would get as close as the Queen’s one-yard line, but with time running out, could not advance any further.
Queen’s became just the second team to win three consecutive Grey Cup titles, and Billy Hughes was the first head coach to complete the hat trick. It would mark the end of an era for the Intercollegiate Union, as the students from Kingston were the last university team to win the coveted trophy.