Explosive second-quarter leads Hawks over Gaels

“We’re 1-1 this week.”

That was how Laurier’s manager of football operations and head coach Gary Jeffries summed up what his team has experienced in the past week. The Golden Hawks went from finding out that their week three win over the University of Toronto had become a forfeiture to crushing the Queen’s Gaels 44-23 in less than 24 hours.

Late Friday night, the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC) denied Laurier’s appeal regarding the eligibility of fifth-year David Montoya, forcing the Hawks to forfeit the win over Toronto. However, that news seemed to have no adverse effects on the team by the time Saturday’s game rolled around.

After falling down 10-0 early in the second quarter, Queen’s receiver Giovanni Aprile fumbled on a punt return, setting the Hawks up on the Gaels’ one-yard line. Fullback Isaac Dell would punch it in for the Hawks and kick-off a scoring explosion from Laurier.

Running back Rashad La Touche would add a rushing touchdown, with Dell finding the endzone for a second time, while Shane Kelly (who was back as the starting quarterback after three weeks as the back-up) would throw three touchdown passes, one to second-year Alex Anthony and a pair to fourth-year Dustin Zender.

“Coach [Jeffries] said that second quarter was probably the best quarter he’s ever seen here,” said Zender. “We really clicked and when things are going well for us they seem to really well. We just have to carry that type of performance into an entire game and we’ll do some great things.”

Thanks to that 43-point quarter, the Hawks went into half-time with a 43-10 lead, with Kelly only missing on one of his passes in the opening half.

“Everybody did their job on every play and you saw what we’re capable of,” said Kelly of the Hawks’ second-quarter. “We would’ve liked to keep that going in the second half instead of stalling a little bit, but overall we’ll take the win and we’re happy about it.”

The second half, which has been problematic for the Hawks this season was once again lacking in any real action. Laurier’s defence continued to stifle Justin Chapdelaine and the Gaels’ attack, while the purple and gold offence could only muster a Nathan Hawkes single.

However, thanks in large part to their defence (which racked up three interceptions and four sacks) a Queen’s comeback was never in the works.

“It’s a great luxury to have a defence like that,” said Kelly. “You know they’re always going to shut the other teams offence down and give us great field position.”

While this win has all-but guaranteed the Hawks a playoff spot, the team is not taking this Saturday’s game against the 2-4 Windsor Lancers lightly.

“We looked at this game as a playoff game and next week’s another playoff game,” said Jeffries. “We’ve got to win out, that’s all.”

Despite having to forfeit the Toronto win, the Hawks, now sitting at 3-4 still have a shot to host a playoff game, should they beat the Lancers this Saturday in Windsor.