Hawks fly past Lancers
WINDSOR, Ont. — For the second-straight week the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team found themselves in a must-win game on Saturday afternoon. And for the second-straight week, the Hawks responded with a blow-out win, downing the Windsor Lancers 56-16.
“The playoffs started two weeks ago for us,” said Laurier quarterback Shane Kelly. “We knew we had to come out here and execute and we really got it done today.”
Just as in the Hawks’ 44-23 win over Queen’s last week, things seemed to click for Kelly and the Laurier offence. Despite throwing three interceptions, the American pivot threw for 342 yards and a touchdown, completing 28 of his 42 passes.
More importantly, Kelly was able to spread the ball around, getting multiple receivers involved, completing passes to eight different targets.
“That’s one of the positions where we’re really deep,” said Kelly. “We’ve got a lot of quality receivers and no matter who’s out there we have the confidence that they’re going to make plays.”
A running back-by-committee-approach paid dividends for the Hawks’ rushing attack as Rasahd La Touche, Anton Bennett, Isaac Dell and Josh Pirie led a group effort that resulted in 118 yards and three touchdowns.
In addition to the offensive explosion, the Hawks were able to make big plays on special teams as receivers Shamawd Chambers and Dillon Heap both got into the endzone on returns. Although Heap set records for punt and kick return yards a season ago Saturday’s major was his first career special teams touchdown, having three called back due to penalties.
“It was a great wait off my shoulders,” said Heap. “I was kind of incredulous in the endzone, looking around for flags, but it certainly feels great.”
Defensively, the Hawks kept Windsor’s rookie quarterback Austin Kennedy under pressure all day, sacking him four times. Overall, the purple and gold held the Lancers to just 257 yards of total offence compared to Laurier’s 515.
“They just compete like heck,” said manager of football operations and head coach Gary Jeffries of his defence. “There’s a number of great athletes over there and we know that if we sputter a bit [on offence] we can always count on them.”
The win gives Laurier a home playoff game next Saturday in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) quarter-finals. The Hawks will play host to the Guelph Gryphons in a re-match of Laurier’s Homecoming game, which the purple and gold took 36-2.
“We’ve got to go to work everyday and be ready [on Saturday],” said Chambers. “That Guelph team is going to come out and try and get us off our game. They’re going to come out and try and beat us but we’re going to be ready.