Hawks claw back to .500 with win over Ottawa

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(Photo by Kate Turner).

BECKWITH TOWNSHIP, Ont — If you were to try to predict the matchup between the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks and the Ottawa Gee-Gees, chances are your assumptions would be thrown out the window on the first play.

In what was a surprising, eventful and unpredictable game, the Hawks prevailed and sustained a late-game lead to win their second game in a row by a score of 35-27.

The win improves the Hawks’ record to 2-2, while the Gee-Gees fall to 0-4. The last time Ottawa had a four-game losing streak to start a  season was in 1984.

Head coach Gary Jeffries expressed his happiness with his squad after the game.

“We’re thrilled,” he said. “We’re not thrilled with how we played, we still had a lot of errors again, but it’s all correctable stuff.

“To get in here and get that win was huge, particularly how we did it.”

Quarterback Steven Fantham had his first Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) start of his career and completed 15 of 26 passes with one interception, including connecting to receivers for all four touchdowns.

“I think he did an outstanding job,” Jeffries said of Fantham’s performance. “We’re thrilled with him.”

The game started out anything but positive for the Hawks, when 30 seconds in, on Ottawa’s first play, quarterback Aaron Colbon found Vincent Campbell, who ran 106 yards into the endzone for a 7-0 lead.

The Hawks responded five minutes later when receiver Alex Anthony connected and tied the game up.

Ronnie Pfeffer scored a 23-yard field goal to give Laurier a 10-7 lead going into the second quarter.

Laurier widened their lead at the beginning of the second quarter when Josh Pirie scored his first of two touchdowns.

It was Pirie’s highest-scoring game in his CIS career.

But the game became unpredictable as injuries, fumbles, interceptions and turnovers became a presence.

Ottawa finally scored a 1-yard touchdown after multiple chances, and then followed the play with three consecutive field goals. By half, the score was 22-17.

With a 25-17 lead for the host Gee-Gees, the Hawks were looking to find a large play to lift them ahead. Pirie found another piece of life when he ran 23 yards with a pass from Fantham into the endzone to come within a point.

Tyrrel Wilson finished off the Hawks’ touchdown-scoring when he grabbed a 25-yard pass from Fantham.

Pfeffer rounded out the scoring with two field goals.

The wind ended up being a factor for both teams, as a strong breeze continued to push passes and kicks to the east side of the field.

“We told the kids that the team with the guts to go into that wind for fifteen minutes would get the win,” Jeffries said. “And we did. We did.”

The Hawks will now return home next weekend to play the Guelph Gryphons in their homecoming game. Game time is 1pm.

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