Golden Hawks fall to Western 46-1

A few names may have changed but the result remained the same, as the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team was embarrassed once again by the Western Mustangs on Wednesday night.

The Hawks fell 46-1, marking their worst defeat in 41 years and their fifth consecutive loss to their rivals from London in a game that was eerily similar to the 30-7 loss the Mustangs handed the purple and gold in week two of last year.

“They flat out beat us,” said manager of football operations and head coach Gary Jeffries. “We made too many errors, too many mental mistakes… all three phases, they won.”

In last year’s game it was Luke Thompson leading the offence to a scoreless showing until the final minutes of the game. This year, American newcomer Shane Kelly was at the helm and evidently didn’t provide the answer.

Kelly received a rude welcome to Canadian football as he made his first start north of the border, completing only seven of his 18 passes, throwing two interceptions. After showing no signs of effectiveness in leading the offence, Kelly – who played four years of college football in the NCAA – was then pulled in favour of Evan Pawliuk mid-way through the third quarter.

“It was just one of those games,” said Kelly. “We just never got into a rhythm, we knew what we wanted to do coming in, but it seemed like no matter what we did we couldn’t get anything going… But it’s a learning experience, after a game like that you just have to look at what you did wrong and correct those mistakes.”

Pawliuk didn’t fare much better, going 2 for 7, throwing a pair of interceptions with the game well out of hand.

In almost the exact same fashion as last year’s Laurier-Western meeting, the Hawks’ offence looked overwhelmed. They were out-gained by the Mustangs 409-144. They lost the time of possession battle 36:11-23:49. And offensive weapons Dillon Heap, Shamawd Chambers and Dustin Zender were held to a combined six catches for 58 yards.

“It’s not a good taste,” said Zender, one of the University of Waterloo transfers who was getting his first sampling of the Laurier-Western rivalry.

“We just made too many mistakes, and when we needed the big plays to get us going we just couldn’t get it done.”

One difference from last year’s game was Laurier’s play on the defensive side of the ball. The purple and gold’s defence once again spent over half the game on the field, but this time around they couldn’t seem to find an answer for the combined rushing attack of Jerimy Hipperson and Donnie Marshall as the quarterback-running back duo combined for 183 yards with Hipperson putting up three touchdowns.

“There’s not much to say about the game… we can’t be giving up 46 points,” said fifth-year linebacker Giancarlo Rapanaro. “We have to give our [offence] better field position, we can’t let [Western] sustain drives.”

The Hawks will look to rebound on Monday afternoon when they travel to Hamilton to take on the McMaster Marauders, a team they haven’t lost to since 2002.

“It’s not about how you fall, it’s about how you get back up after you fall,” said Zender of the team’s attitude heading into their second game of the season. “We’re going to learn from this and get right back at it.”

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