Hawks make playoffs despite blow-out loss

McMaster quarterback Marshall Ferguson plunges into the endzone over the Laurier defensive line. (Photo by Kate Turner).

HAMILTON, Ont. — When it rains, it pours.

With a last-second field goal from the Western Mustangs in Carleton Place, Ont., the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks’ playoff hopes stayed alive despite their 43-0 defeat to the hands of the No. 1 McMaster Marauders in Hamilton.

Despite playing with a nonexistent offence, Laurier got help from teams throughout the Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) ranks, with Western defeating the Ottawa Gee-Gees 32-29. The combination of a Waterloo win over the Windsor Lancers — which ended in a Warrior 48-29 victory — as well as a Gee-Gee win would have knocked Laurier out of the playoffs.

The Hawks completed their season 3-5 and have been shut out twice in a season for the first time in the school’s history.

“We didn’t do very well,” head coach Gary Jeffries said of Saturday’s game. “We just, somehow, need to find a way to move the football and generate some offence. If we don’t do that, it’s just too hard. For heaven’s sakes.”

Although McMaster dominated Laurier in every aspect of the match, the story came from fifth-year quarterback Kyle Quinlan, who recorded two touchdowns himself while breaking the McMaster all-time touchdown passing record.

McMaster’s offensive reign would begin with 6:19 left in the first quarter, and continue until the last seven minutes of the match, with Laurier unable to find anything in regards to points.

“It was another example today of not being able to get anything going. That’s basically what it was,” Jeffries said.

Laurier quarterback Travis Eman would complete just three of 10 passes and have one interception before rookie James Fracas would come in halfway through the game. Fracas completed seven of 14 throws for 94 yards.

“I thought Fracas went in and did a pretty good job,” Jeffries said. “He moved a little bit and made some good decisions and that’s what we need out of that position.”

Despite the loss, Laurier finishes sixth in the OUA and will battle Queen’s in the quarterfinal. The other quarterfinal will be made of the Windsor Lancers and the Mustangs.

McMaster will achieve a bye into the semifinals along with the Guelph Gryphons.

Laurier will travel to Queen’s to play the Gaels — who beat the Hawks 43-16 in Waterloo in week two — this Saturday.

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