Football – The Cord https://thecord.ca The tie that binds Wilfrid Laurier University since 1926 Fri, 16 Nov 2018 17:57:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://thecord.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/logofavicon-32x32.png Football – The Cord https://thecord.ca 32 32 42727683 Remarkable Rookies: Football player Tyler Eckert recognized as an OUA All-Rookie https://thecord.ca/remarkable-rookies-football-player-tyler-eckert-recognized-as-an-oua-all-rookie/ https://thecord.ca/remarkable-rookies-football-player-tyler-eckert-recognized-as-an-oua-all-rookie/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 11:59:05 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=52626

Photo by Jackie Vang

In what was otherwise a gloomy 2018 season for the Laurier football team, freshman Tyler Eckert was one of the few bright spots.

The defensive lineman’s strong play during the year was recognized last week, as he was named a member of the OUA All-Rookie team.

“It was an honour to be recognized by the whole OUA,” Eckert said. “I’m really proud to represent Laurier.”
In seven regular season games, Eckert recorded an impressive 13.5 tackles for the Golden Hawks, along with half a sack and two tackles for losses.

The game where Eckert started to become well-known to Laurier football fans, was week three against Waterloo where he recorded a season high three tackles.
“I was really happy with [that] Waterloo game,” Eckert mentioned. “I made my first big solo tackle on special teams and that really got me going that game.”

Eckert was the only rookie on the team that was a consistent member of the defensive line, with the rest of the core being made up of third and fourth year players. Being around that veteran presence definitely had a lasting effect on Eckert.

“Guys like Trevaughan James and Robbie Smith taught me so much. [Not] just on-field skills, [but also] how to carry yourself off the field, around the locker room and how to be more of a professional around the sport.”

“The D-Line group is one of the best groups on the team for everyone being an equal,” Eckert stated. “It doesn’t matter if you are a fourth year starter or you haven’t played a snap in a game yet. Everyone is equal and everyone talks with each other.”

Despite the Golden Hawks finishing with a disappointing 4-4 record on the season, missing out on the playoffs for the first time since 2013, the team still had one of the strongest defences in the province. Eckert played a big role in helping the team finish with the second fewest rushing yards allowed per game in the OUA.
However, regardless of the personal success early in his university football career, Eckert isn’t content with just maintaining the status quo.
“I’d like to contribute a lot more next year. I’m really hoping to put some size on me and really improve my strength game.”
With an impressive first chapter in his time as a Golden Hawk coming to a close, it will be exciting to see what is still to be written in Eckert’s Laurier career going forward.

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Hawks season ends at the hands of Western https://thecord.ca/hawks-season-ends-at-the-hands-of-western/ https://thecord.ca/hawks-season-ends-at-the-hands-of-western/#respond Wed, 24 Oct 2018 11:00:59 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=52075

Photo by Tanzeel Sayani

Brightest lights, biggest stage, highest stakes. These are the moments you live for in sports, especially as an athlete. 

In the biggest game of the year, with their season on the line, the Laurier Golden Hawks took their biggest loss of the year against the number one ranked Western Mustangs, 46-13.

Western having not lost a game since the 2016 Yates Cup game versus Laurier, were the clear favourites in this one — but there was a strong belief on the Laurier side regardless of the doubt from outside the team.

This game started out tight, as Laurier’s defence played Western’s ground game better than any other opponent has managed to do this year. 

“Well the biggest thing in us being in the game early on was the defence. They created turnovers, they really slowed down Western’s run, and with the weather, they gave us great field position on offence,” coach Faulds said.

Going into the second quarter with the score being 7-6 for the Mustangs, there was a severe weather delay due to lightning in the area. 

Following that, Western scored 10 straight points to go up 11. Laurier came through with an answer on a wild turn of events. 

“There’s obviously pros and cons and you’d much rather be playing for real right now and be in the playoffs but we’ve got to make the most out of the opportunity we do have ahead of us. We’re positive as a staff that we’ve got a good returning nucleus.”

After a questionable turnover on downs call where it seemed quarterback Connor Carusello crossed the goal-line on a quarterback sneak, Mustangs running back Cedric Joseph fumbled it at the one-yard line on the next play and Hawks defensive back Malcolm Thompson recovered it. 

Carusello redeemed himself quickly delivering a touchdown pass to Brentyn Hall to make it 17-13 going into halftime. 

“The challenging thing is, a couple of times we started with the ball in Western’s end and we had to settle for field goals. After the lightning break, obviously Western scored 10 quick points but then we were able to get a touchdown right before the half. We felt good how we were in the game.”

The second half turned out to be nothing pretty as nothing happened for Laurier and Western scored 29 unanswered (21 in the fourth), to run away with this one and holding onto their undefeated streak.

“In the second half, we just really couldn’t get anything going offensively. That was the challenge. Kudos to Western, they have a really good defence but we would’ve liked to have been able to be more productive on offence and move the ball,” coach Faulds stated.

Following two straight Yates Cup game appearances and winning one of them, this was not the season anybody, including the team itself expected this year. 

“Ultimately, it’s a disappointing year. There’s no sugar-coating it. We’re not pleased that we’re out right now. The reality is, our goals and aspirations and where we’ve been over the last few years, it’s trying to win a Yates Cup at the very least. Having had a chance to beat Western on Oct. 20, whether we had a chance now or in three weeks at the Yates Cup, we weren’t able to get it done,” expressed Coach Faulds.

Missing the playoffs for the first time since 2013, it will be back to the drawing board as the Hawks will be looking to find their way back into being the contenders they once were.

“There’s obviously pros and cons and you’d much rather be playing for real right now and be in the playoffs but we’ve got to make the most out of the opportunity we do have ahead of us. We’re positive as a staff that we’ve got a good returning nucleus.” 

“We’re going to get a five-week jumpstart on recruiting and bring in another really good class. We’ve got a lot of time for this program to grow.”

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Hawks playoffs hopes rest on final regular season game vs Western https://thecord.ca/hawks-playoffs-hopes-rest-on-final-regular-season-game-vs-western/ https://thecord.ca/hawks-playoffs-hopes-rest-on-final-regular-season-game-vs-western/#respond Wed, 17 Oct 2018 11:00:23 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=51905

Photo by Sadman Sakib Rahman

After a much needed win against Carleton in the biggest game of the season at the time for the Golden Hawks, a fourth win before matching up with Western for the season finale was crucial. A 39-24 win against the Windsor Lancers was just what the doctor ordered as Laurier managed to move up to 4-3 and the fifth spot in the OUA.

The fast start to the game for Laurier was nothing new as the Golden Hawks managed to go up 13-0 by the early portion of the second quarter. This was behind a strong run game that was utilized well in questionable conditions, led by Levondre Gordon who had 90 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter alone.

Once Laurier went up 13-0 though, this game took a left turn. Windsor found something within them to score 19 points and allowing two more for Laurier by way of a safety to go up 19-15 at half.

The second half was all Laurier as a crazy sequence that led to 16 unanswered points for Laurier.

After a fumble by Levondre Gordon at about the midway point of the 3rd quarter, the snap went over the head of Sam Girard on Windsor’s first play of the drive and into the end-zone as he recovered it which was a safety for Laurier.

On the next drive, Laurier went 68 yards on four plays and scored on a 19-yard Kevin Wong touchdown. Following that was a Marvin Gaynor fumble in the end-zone on the kickoff that Esson Hamilton of Laurier recovered for a touchdown to go up 31-19.

“Well, it’s the biggest game of the year. We’re of the mindset, for our season to continue, we need to win this football game. To be Ontario champions, Western’s the team you have to beat. So for us to have any hope, even down the road, we’ve just gotta get it done.”

“We didn’t play as well as we should have, particularly in the second quarter. Got off to a lead and a decent start, the wind definitely played a factor in us getting the lead in that first quarter. We kind of regrouped at halftime and said our season’s on the line and in the second half, won the game 24-5. It really was a tale of two halves and I’m glad we played our best football in the second half,” coach Faulds said.

Records also came to fall in this game as receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr. broke the former Lancer Jordan Brescacin’s OUA record for career receptions (193) in the first quarter. In going on to catch seven more balls, he became the fifth U Sports player ever to record 200 career receptions.

One change that has been good for the Golden Hawks over the last couple of games has been the change at quarterback with Connor Carusello now being the starter. After putting up huge numbers in his first start against Carleton in that 37-31 victory, he did enough to help Laurier get their fourth win.

“I’ve been pleased. Obviously these are the first two starts that Connor’s had, he’s doing a good job managing the offence. The conditions weren’t great last Friday and we chose to have more of a run focus offensively,” coach Faulds stated.

Sitting at 4-3, the biggest game of the year awaits the Golden Hawks as they travel to London to play Western on October 20.

“But we know against Western, we’re gonna have to stay balanced. We’re gonna be balanced and Connor is gonna be a big part of that. I think he’s smart enough to realize what great weapons he does have outside. So finding the space and time and making the right reads to get the ball in those athletes’ hands,” coach Faulds said.

Not only will this be the biggest game of the season for Laurier as their playoff hopes depend on it, it will also be the biggest game of Carusello’s career.

“Well, it’s the biggest game of the year. We’re of the mindset, for our season to continue, we need to win this football game. To be Ontario champions, Western’s the team you have to beat. So for us to have any hope, even down the road, we’ve just gotta get it done.”

With the odds stacked against them in what has been a shaky year for the Golden Hawks, they will be looking for a complete team effort led by their young quarterback to avenge their Yates Cup loss to Western a year ago.

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Hawks keep playoffs in sight with win against Windsor Lancers https://thecord.ca/hawks-break-losing-streak-with-win-against-windsor-lancers/ https://thecord.ca/hawks-break-losing-streak-with-win-against-windsor-lancers/#respond Sat, 13 Oct 2018 19:54:58 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=51863

Photo by Sadman Sakib Rahman

Having finally ended their three game losing streak last week against the Carleton Ravens to be 3-3, the Golden Hawks needed at least one more ‘W’ in the win column to give themselves a shot at making the playoffs. That win was secured in a 39-24 win on Senior’s day which was also a school day game, over the Windsor Lancers.

While on paper, this may have seemed like an easy game for Laurier to win, it was not all that easy for the Golden Hawks the whole game.

The first quarter was all about the run game, led by Levondre Gordon who had 90 yards in that time, including a 36-yard touchdown breaking multiple tackles and showing off his speed to put Laurier up 10-0.

After going up 13-0 early in the second quarter, the Lancers picked it up. The defence stepped up, containing the Hawks’ run game as their offence came to life.

Quarterback Sam Girard led Windsor on three scoring drives, 2 of which were passing touchdowns on his behalf that allowed them to go up 19-15 at half.

Going from a fast start to giving up a lead is not a new narrative for the Golden Hawks this season. Fortunately this time around, that didn’t turn out to be the case. 

In a crazy sequence, Laurier took the game by the throat. After a fumble by Levondre Gordon at about the midway point of the 3rd quarter, the snap went over the head of Sam Girard on Windsor’s first play of the drive and into the end-zone as he recovered it which was a safety for Laurier. 

On the next drive, Laurier went 68 yards on 4 plays and scored on a 19-yard Kevin Wong touchdown. Following that was a Marvin Gaynor fumble in the end-zone on the kickoff that Esson Hamilton of Laurier recovered for a touchdown to go up 31-19.

The Lancers never recovered and Laurier got their much needed fourth win of the year. 

Next up for the Golden Hawks is their biggest test of the year as they play the number one ranked team in the country, and rival, the Western Mustangs.

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Hawks get back on track with win against Carleton Ravens https://thecord.ca/hawks-get-back-on-track-with-win-against-carleton-ravens/ https://thecord.ca/hawks-get-back-on-track-with-win-against-carleton-ravens/#respond Sat, 06 Oct 2018 17:06:48 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=51826

The Wilfrid Laurier University varsity football team got back in the win column on Friday, Oct. 5, as they took down the Carleton Ravens by a final score of 37-31. 

The Hawks knew they needed to change something to end their three-game losing streak, and that change came at quarterback.

Connor Carusello made his first start at quarterback for Laurier in place of Tristan Arndt, and he was extremely impressive in his debut. 

The Caledonia, Ont. native threw for 383 passing yards to go along with four touchdowns while completing 21 out of 31 of his pass attempts. 

Carusello picked apart the Ravens defence all day long in a game where the Hawks needed all the offence they could get. 

The game quickly turned into a shootout from the second quarter onwards as both offences were in a great rhythm. 

After a combined four field goals between the teams opened the game, the Ravens and Hawks exchanged a pair of touchdowns before halftime as the purple and gold held a narrow 23-17 advantage at the break.

Carleton came out of halftime with a momentum shifting play, as the Ravens blocked an attempted punt by the Hawks before punching it in from inside the 10-yard line. 

Unfortunately for Laurier, things went from bad to worse as ace kicker Nathan Mesher picked up an injury on the blocked punt.

On their next drive, the Hawks pulled a rabbit out of the hat as star receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr. ran for 36 yards on a fake punt which eventually led to a touchdown for Laurier, restoring their six-point lead heading into the fourth and final quarter. 

Carleton continued the see-saw affair as Ravens quarterback Mike Arruda connected with Phil Iloki for a 45-yard touchdown to open the final 15 minutes.  

However, on the first play of the ensuing Hawks drive, Carusello found rookie receiver Esson Hamilton for a 78-yard bomb which effectively ended the game. 

The Hawks are now an even 3-3 on the season, which ties them for fifth in the OUA standings. With only two games remaining on the schedule, the Hawks can’t afford any more losses if they want to make the playoffs.

The first of those remaining two games is against Windsor as the Hawks will look to get above .500. 

That game is set for kickoff at 11:00 a.m. on Oct. 12 at University Stadium.  

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Hawks’ playoff hopes diminish as they drop third straight game https://thecord.ca/hawks-playoff-hopes-diminish-as-they-drop-third-straight-game/ https://thecord.ca/hawks-playoff-hopes-diminish-as-they-drop-third-straight-game/#respond Wed, 03 Oct 2018 11:01:55 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=51685

Photo by Jackie Vang

We’ve all heard the story of the great team that has that one year where people question the state of the team because of a drop-off. Well, it’s come that time at Laurier. Another blown lead in the second half and a third straight loss, as the Golden Hawks lost to the Guelph Gryphons, 27-24.

After the first two games of the year, the success of the last two years didn’t seem like one bit of a stretch. 

Now having lost as many games as they have the last two years, the narrative has completely changed with there now being a shot the Hawks miss the playoffs.

Guelph got to the punch first as they opened the scoring with 72-yard pick six by linebacker Job Reinhart off a tip at the line of scrimmage from a Guelph lineman.

After tying it up with Levondre Gordon’s touchdown to end the first quarter, it was Kurleigh Gittens Jr. who broke the game open once again. 

Gittens Jr. returned a punt 80 yards to take any momentum that the Gryphons had straight away from them. 

“Turnovers. It really is the turnovers. Defence played outstanding, played well enough to win. 14 points came off interceptions so there’s no sugar-coating that, that’s the reality. I look at myself as responsible for not finding us a way offensively to move the ball and win the game.”

The Golden Hawks continued their strong play, besides three first half interceptions from Tristan Arndt.  Levondre Gordon was eating in the run game, going on to score again and helping the Golden Hawks go into the half up 24-10 behind his 80 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

The second half was all Guelph though, as has happened to Laurier a couple of weeks prior. After a rouge point off a missed field goal by Gabe Ferrero to make it 24-11, the Gryphons got their own game breaking moment, courtesy of defensive back, Dotun Aketepe.

Aketepe took an interception that came off the hands of a Laurier receiver and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown, Arndt’s fifth interception, pulled the Gryphons within six points of the Golden Hawks in the third quarter.

After a sixth interception by Arndt at about the 10 minute mark of the fourth, Connor Carusello was inserted into the game at quarterback for Laurier.

“Some of them were [unlucky interceptions]. They had a lot of tips including a couple tips that went off our receivers hands, it doesn’t all get pinpointed at one person,” coach Faulds said in regards to the quarterback situation right now.

But this was not before Guelph managed to finally score on offence as running back Jewan Jeffery capped off an impressive drive with a strong 8-yard touchdown run to take the lead and go up 25-24 after a failed two-point conversion.

After failing to move the ball even a yard, Laurier would kneel to take a safety, putting the Gryphons up 27-24. Laurier never came close to scoring again as they never managed to make anything of their final drive.

“Turnovers. It really is the turnovers. Defence played outstanding, played well enough to win. 14 points came off interceptions so there’s no sugar-coating that, that’s the reality. I look at myself as responsible for not finding us a way offensively to move the ball and win the game.”

Now sitting at 2-3 on the season and eighth in the OUA standings, the Hawks are not in the best of positions to make much, if any, noise this year. 

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Hawks season in jeopardy as they lose third straight game on Homecoming Weekend https://thecord.ca/hawks-season-in-jeopardy-as-they-lose-third-straight-game-on-homecoming-weekend/ https://thecord.ca/hawks-season-in-jeopardy-as-they-lose-third-straight-game-on-homecoming-weekend/#respond Sun, 30 Sep 2018 19:46:54 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=51639

Photo by Jackie Vang

We’ve all heard the story of the great team that has that one year where people question how the state of the team because of a drop-off. Well, it’s come that time at Laurier. Another blown lead in the second half and a third straight loss, as the Golden Hawks lost to the Guelph Gryphons, 27-24, on Homecoming.

Guelph came out strong first, as they opened the scoring on a 72-yard pick six by linebacker Job Reinhart after Tristan Arndt’s pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage by a Guelph lineman.

After Laurier tied it up, Kurleigh Gittens Jr. would break the game open for Laurier as he returned a punt back 80 yards to take any momentum Guelph may have had at that point. Laurier would go on to finish the first half strong up 24-10, despite Arndt having thrown three interceptions.

The second half would be all Guelph as they held Laurier scoreless and their defence would carry them through. After a rouge point off Gabe Ferrero’s missed field goal, Guelph would have their own game breaking moment. 

Dotun Aketepe would take an interception tipped by a Laurier receiver back to the house for 69 yards to bring the Gryphons within six points in the third quarter. From there, their defence would give the offence their shot as they went on a 4-play, 56 yard drive capped off by running back Jewan Jeffrey to take the lead. 

Arndt would go on to be benched after throwing six interceptions, in favour of Connor Carusello but Laurier just could not drive the ball down the field to get a scoring opportunity as they would go on to fall 27-24 on homecoming.

Falling to 2-3 and being eighth in the OUA standings right now, things are not looking very bright for Coach Faulds’ squad. 

“It’s extremely dire [team’s situation], I told the guys all week, this was a playoff game and you kinda felt the playoff intensity and the Carleton game is definitely a playoff game now too,” he said.

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Hawks shocked by Marauders as they drop to a surprising 2-2 record https://thecord.ca/hawks-shocked-by-marauders-as-they-drop-to-a-surprising-2-2-record/ https://thecord.ca/hawks-shocked-by-marauders-as-they-drop-to-a-surprising-2-2-record/#respond Wed, 26 Sep 2018 11:00:03 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=51475

File Photo

Drop one game late to a rival? Fine. Two games in a row? Now that’s a different story.

Following a loss to the Waterloo Warriors after being outscored 17-3 in the fourth quarter, the Laurier Golden Hawks had another game slip through their fingers to McMaster in a sloppy 21-20 loss in Hamilton.

“Well I just find the last two games, the opponent played well but I will say I feel like those are two games we should have won. Reality is, we had a 12-point lead against Waterloo and we had a 9-point lead against McMaster and in both games, we didn’t find a way to win the football game,” coach Faulds said.

“They hurt even more because of how close they were, losing two games by a combined three points. It stings.”

Starting out smooth, the Golden Hawks didn’t have too many issues moving the ball, thanks in large part to their run game led by fourth year Mississauga native, Levondre Gordon.

After a 12 play, 72 yard touchdown drive halfway through the first quarter though, McMaster would catch a big break.

Letting the ball hit the turf on a punt, Kurleigh Gittens Jr. got out-hustled by Marauder linebacker Jayden Lawson who hit the ball out of bounds to get his team the ball back at the Laurier 23-yard line.

Following that, it would take three plays for the Marauders to capitalize, as running back Jordan Lyons would close the drive with a two yard run into the end-zone to tie the game.

In the second, after a Nathan Mesher punt that was only returned to their own 9-yard line, the Marauders were forced to take a safety as Laurier held them to just one yard on the possession.

Following the safety, the Golden Hawks would march on an eight play, 75-yard drive that would be ended off with a strong catch by Brentyn Hall in the right corner of the end-zone, ripping the ball away from the defender’s hands, followed by a stare down only suited for such a play.

Down 16-7, McMaster refused to go into halftime without any momentum, as they would close the half with a 78 yard touchdown drive of their own to make it 16-14.

The momentum never made its way back to Laurier, as the Marauders turned up the heat on the defensive end, stifling the Golden Hawks’ air attack, picking off two passes and forcing costly mistakes.

One mistake Laurier couldn’t recover from was Tristan Arndt’s interception under duress that would be returned for six from 12 yards out by defensive back Mitch Garland.

Nathan Mesher missing his 43-yard attempt wide left with less than a minute to go, down 21-19, would close the game.

“I thought our defence played outstanding. The offence took a step back.  Our offence didn’t play up to par,” Faulds said.

Finding themselves outside of the playoff race halfway through the year, every game will count for the 2-2 Golden Hawks starting with their homecoming game against the Guelph Gryphons next Saturday.

“This is a playoff game. Playoffs have started. We’re still in September, you like to think that the playoffs don’t begin until the end of October but the reality is we cannot afford to go 2-3,” Faulds said.

“We’re in a rut right now and it’s about digging ourselves out of it. We’re in a position now where we can’t afford to lose another football game and that’s the urgency we need to have as we prepare for Guelph.”

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Hawk’s are 2-2 after second loss of the season against McMaster https://thecord.ca/hawks-are-2-2-after-second-loss-of-the-season-against-mcmaster/ https://thecord.ca/hawks-are-2-2-after-second-loss-of-the-season-against-mcmaster/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 22:23:08 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=51433

Drop one game late to a rival? Fine. Two games in a row? Now that’s a different story. Following a loss to the Waterloo Warriors after being outscored 17-3 in the fourth quarter, the Laurier Golden Hawks had another game slip through their fingers to McMaster in a sloppy 21-20 loss in Hamilton.

Starting out smooth, the Golden Hawks didn’t have too many issues moving the ball, thanks in large part to their run game led by fourth-year Mississauga native, Levondre Gordon. After a 12 play, 72 yard touchdown drive halfway through the first quarter though, McMaster would catch a big break. 

Letting the ball hit the turf on a punt, Kurleigh Gittens Jr. got out-hustled by Marauder linebacker Jayden Lawson who hit the ball out of bounds to get his team the ball back at the Laurier 23 yard line. Following that, it would take 3 plays for the Marauders to capitalize, as running back Jordan Lyons would close the drive with a 2 yard run into the endzone to tie the game.

In the second, after a Nathan Mesher punt that was only returned to their own 9-yard line, the Marauders were forced to take a safety as Laurier held them to one yard on the possession. 

Following the safety, the Golden Hawks would march on an 8 play, 75 yard drive that would be ended off with a strong catch by Brentyn Hall in the right corner of the endzone ripping the ball away from the defender’s hands, followed by a stare down only suited for such a play.

Down 16-7, McMaster refused to go into halftime without any momentum, as they would close the half with a 78 yard touchdown drive of their own to make it 16-14.

The momentum never made its way back to Laurier, as the Marauders turned up the heat on the defensive end, stifling the Golden Hawks’ air attack, picking off two passes and forcing costly mistakes. 

One mistake Laurier couldn’t recover from was Tristan Arndt’s interception under duress that would be returned for six from 12 yards out by defensive back Mitch Garland.

Nathan Mesher missing his 43-yard attempt wide left with less than a minute to go, down 21-19 would close the game. 

Despite the strong effort from Laurier’s defense (3 interceptions), the offense could not hold its own. 

Finding themselves outside of the playoff race halfway through the year, every game will count for the 2-2 Golden Hawks starting with their homecoming game against the Guelph Gryphons next Saturday.

 

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Warriors finally break 15 year drought against Golden Hawks https://thecord.ca/warriors-finally-break-15-year-drought-against-golden-hawks/ https://thecord.ca/warriors-finally-break-15-year-drought-against-golden-hawks/#respond Wed, 19 Sep 2018 10:58:28 +0000 https://thecord.ca/?p=51286

Photo by Garrison Oosterhof

The much anticipated Battle of Waterloo had a different vibe to it this year, especially for those who have paid attention to the rise of the Waterloo Warriors. That different vibe led to a different result as the Warriors broke Laurier’s 15 game win streak against them in a nail-biting 34-32 win.

Led by Tre Ford, second-year quarterback, and Tyler Ternowski, star receiver, the Warriors have built a very dangerous and dynamic offence, and a consistently improving defence. While this may have surprised many, it did not surprise Laurier coach Michael Faulds.

“I don’t think anything surprised us. We knew they were improving each and every week defensively and we knew offensively, their quarterback is super talented and they’ve got a good receiving core. We knew it was going to be a hard fought game,” Faulds said.

“Despite the score from previous years, no one internally thought it was going to be that. I think some of the outside expectations were of scoreboards in years past but we knew they were a much improved football team.”

After feeling each other out for the first couple of drives, Waterloo would break the game open first on a 49-yard pass from Tre Ford to fullback Kevin Boismier. From that point on, it would become a back-and-forth shootout until the end of the first half, with the score being 22-17 for the Golden Hawks.

There was no encore in the third quarter to the show that was put on in the first half though. Defence became the name of the game, especially for Laurier as they held the Warriors scoreless and went up 29-17.

While they managed to get past half field, the Golden Hawks offence fell short in capitalizing on their opportunities and were not able to be their dominant selves in the clutch.

The fourth quarter is where everything changed. Starting out with a drive where the Warriors scored a field goal to only be answered by Laurier with one to make it 32-20, they would flip the switch.

Led by Tre Ford, the Warriors would go on a 75-yard touchdown drive with seven minutes left to make it 32-27, making the game close again after it seemed Laurier would run with it.

“It’s not about stopping them. You try at times to maybe limit how much they get into free space,” Faulds said, in regards to the Warriors dynamic duo.

With 2:37 left in the game, the Tre Ford to Tyler Ternowski connection would hit the jackpot in free space once again. Ford connected with Ternowski for an 88-yard touchdown down the middle on an intermediate route, the only play of the drive to stun the Laurier faithful making it 34-32.

With the game on the line, the ball would be in Tristan Arndt’s hands to lead the Golden Hawks offense to victory alongside star receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr. & co., who had a dominant performance for much of the day.

After being stopped by Waterloo’s defence at their own 49-yard line on the first drive, the defence would get the Laurier offence another opportunity with 43 seconds left at their own 17-yard line.

While they managed to get past half field, the Golden Hawks offence fell short in capitalizing on their opportunities and were not able to be their dominant selves in the clutch.

“We knew we needed three points. The first drive, obviously we’re throwing it. We’re not opposed to running it but we knew we had to get chunks of yardage,” coach Faulds said.

“We didn’t, so we gambled on the third down and our defence did a good job giving us another shot. So we had another opportunity and we made it a decent way down field but not close enough to get a field goal.”

With the Golden Hawks having McMaster up next, coach Faulds was still optimistic about how his team will fare as the season progresses.

“They were the better football team today, they were the better coached team. I just told the guys when we broke it down at the end, ‘the Yates Cup and the Vanier Cup isn’t decided on Sept. 15.’ So, we’re going to find out how we’re going to deal with this adversity and how we’re going to respond.”

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