Full effort lifts Laurier to first win
Before Ronnie Pfeffer’s kickoff to begin the game, third-year defensive back and captain Ese Mrabure-Ajufo had one message for the players of the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks.
Play four quarters.
And that’s exactly what the Hawks did, riding the momentum of running back Dillon Campbell and quarterback James Fracas to a commanding 41-10 win over the crosstown rivals, the Waterloo Warriors — their first win of the 2013 season, and their first win since Oct. 4 2012.
And head coach Michael Faulds’ first win at the helm of the Hawks was celebrated by a tub of water being poured over him by his energetic, young team.
“It feels really good,” Faulds said. “More to get the monkey off my back, but hopefully it’ll be one of many.”
“We had a statement to prove. We worked hard at practice and came to do what we could do,” Campbell, who rushed for 180 yards and recorded two touchdowns, said following Saturday’s win. “It’s very relieving because we hadn’t really shown our true potential until now.”
Merely a week after giving up a 15-3 lead to the York Lions, Laurier found a way to put a full 60-minute effort into Saturday’s match.
Flirting with a winless season for the first time in school history, the Hawks marched onto Warrior Field with an entirely new mentality. Laurier used quarterback Fracas for both the running game and the throwing game, as he went 15-for-26 with 170 yards and one touchdown in his first-career start as a Hawk.
After backing up both Steve Fantham and Travis Eman last season, Fracas led Laurier to an impressive display under the lights.
“James is a gamer,” Faulds said. “It doesn’t always look pretty in practice, but out on the field in the game, he’s a competitor.”
“Our offence, we had a great game plan coming into the game,” Fracas said. “Obviously our running game was phenomenal. Campbell played the best I’ve seen a running back play and we really rode his back and that helped with this game.”
Campbell’s performance was certainly the best of the night from Laurier. Campbell opened the game on the Hawks’ first possession of the game with a touchdown, after recording all 31 yards on the respective drive.
He surpassed the 100-yard mark for the second consecutive week — after recording 146 yards and one touchdown against York — and marked a personal single-game best with his performance.
“I think I did a good job, but I owe it all to my o-line,” Campbell said. “They did a great job, and I got the glory.”
But it wasn’t only the offence that was able to find their groove Saturday.
Led by Chris Ackie, the defence kept Waterloo from even crossing their own centre line until deep into the first quarter with 3:37 left; their only scoring play in the first half came from a 16-yard field goal with five minutes left in the second quarter.
“I was harping on the guys at halftime,” Faulds laughed. “I said ‘that’s two quarters, we promised each other four in the beginning of the game.’ We finally played four. I’m proud of the guys.”
Unfortunately for the Hawks, the celebration of their first win of the season is short-lived, as Laurier entertains the dominant Western Mustangs on Saturday at University Stadium, with a 1 p.m. start.
Currently, Western sits first in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference, days after destroying the Ottawa Gee-Gees 83-27. The Mustangs also have the highest total points for, with 262 in four games.
“No one’s playing better than them in the OUA right now, so it’s going to be a tough one,” Faulds said. “I’ve already broken down three games of Western, so we’re already getting ready for them.”