Hawks playoff hopes diminish as they drop third straight game

Photo by Jackie Vang

We’ve all heard the story of the great team that has that one year where people question the state of the team because of a drop-off. Well, it’s come that time at Laurier. Another blown lead in the second half and a third straight loss, as the Golden Hawks lost to the Guelph Gryphons, 27-24.

After the first two games of the year, the success of the last two years didn’t seem like one bit of a stretch. 

Now having lost as many games as they have the last two years, the narrative has completely changed with there now being a shot the Hawks miss the playoffs.

Guelph got to the punch first as they opened the scoring with 72-yard pick six by linebacker Job Reinhart off a tip at the line of scrimmage from a Guelph lineman.

After tying it up with Levondre Gordon’s touchdown to end the first quarter, it was Kurleigh Gittens Jr. who broke the game open once again. 

Gittens Jr. returned a punt 80 yards to take any momentum that the Gryphons had straight away from them. 

“Turnovers. It really is the turnovers. Defence played outstanding, played well enough to win. 14 points came off interceptions so there’s no sugar-coating that, that’s the reality. I look at myself as responsible for not finding us a way offensively to move the ball and win the game.”

The Golden Hawks continued their strong play, besides three first half interceptions from Tristan Arndt.  Levondre Gordon was eating in the run game, going on to score again and helping the Golden Hawks go into the half up 24-10 behind his 80 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

The second half was all Guelph though, as has happened to Laurier a couple of weeks prior. After a rouge point off a missed field goal by Gabe Ferrero to make it 24-11, the Gryphons got their own game breaking moment, courtesy of defensive back, Dotun Aketepe.

Aketepe took an interception that came off the hands of a Laurier receiver and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown, Arndt’s fifth interception, pulled the Gryphons within six points of the Golden Hawks in the third quarter.

After a sixth interception by Arndt at about the 10 minute mark of the fourth, Connor Carusello was inserted into the game at quarterback for Laurier.

“Some of them were [unlucky interceptions]. They had a lot of tips including a couple tips that went off our receivers hands, it doesn’t all get pinpointed at one person,” coach Faulds said in regards to the quarterback situation right now.

But this was not before Guelph managed to finally score on offence as running back Jewan Jeffery capped off an impressive drive with a strong 8-yard touchdown run to take the lead and go up 25-24 after a failed two-point conversion.

After failing to move the ball even a yard, Laurier would kneel to take a safety, putting the Gryphons up 27-24. Laurier never came close to scoring again as they never managed to make anything of their final drive.

“Turnovers. It really is the turnovers. Defence played outstanding, played well enough to win. 14 points came off interceptions so there’s no sugar-coating that, that’s the reality. I look at myself as responsible for not finding us a way offensively to move the ball and win the game.”

Now sitting at 2-3 on the season and eighth in the OUA standings, the Hawks are not in the best of positions to make much, if any, noise this year. 

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