Football Hawks fall to 0-2

Hamilton, Ont.- A last minute lead was inches away.

The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team had driven 85 yards to bring themselves inside the one yard line, down 26-22. However, second-year running back Anton Bennett fumbled on the goal line and with 38 seconds left, the Hawks’ comeback bid had ended.

“[The loss] was difficult to take because we just went flat as an offence in the second half and that was what really made the difference,” said Laurier quarterback Evan Pawliuk, who was starting in place of an injured Shane Kelly.

“We can’t wait until the end of the game to make plays, we really put ourselves against a wall.”

The Hawks were leading 20-0 at half time but in the second half were only able to muster a pair of safeties conceded by the Marauders. Meanwhile, the McMaster offence exploded after the break, with third-year quarterback Kyle Quinlan leading the way, throwing for one touchdown and running for another after completing just three passes in the first half.

In the end, Quinlan finished with 286 yards through the air and another 46 on the ground, while his primary target Mike DiCroce posted eight catches for 151 yards.

“[McMaster] made a couple of adjustments at half… they took us out of our blitz package and that really played a big role in their success,” said linebacker Giancarlo Rapanaro. “[But] we played so much better than we did against Western… We played really well, with some exceptions. There’s still some things we have to fix, but we’ll be there.”

Coming into the season, there were few who would’ve expected this team to drop their first two contests. But after getting blown out by Western and losing this heartbreaker to Mac, the Hawks find themselves sitting at 0-2 for the first time in eight years.

However, manager of football operations and head coach Gary Jeffries maintains that there is no reason to panic.

“I’m proud of our football team,” he said. “We deserved better. I thought our kids grew up a lot today, we’re a good football team now, we weren’t a good football team week one, and there’s still a lot of football to be played.”

“Western went 0-4 and won the Yates Cup [in 2007]” added Pawliuk, who finished 21-37 for 279 yards in his first start of the season. “We’ve still got some improvements to make, but today we showed that we can compete.”

The Hawks will be looking for their first win of the season this Saturday when the University of Toronto Varsity Blues visit University Stadium in the purple and gold’s home opener.