Hawks run over Lancers

Coming into Saturday’s game needing a win to keep pace with Ottawa and McMaster in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) standings, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks’ men’s football team was looking to take advantage of a Windsor Lancers team that had lost three straight games.

Led by their running game – which put up 397 yards – the Hawks came away with a victory, fending off a second-half Lancers’ comeback, to win 37-20.

“Our focus today was to come out and do something early,” said manager of football operations and head coach Gary Jeffries.

“I was really proud of the way we came out and the way we played in the first quarter.”

The Hawks certainly started quickly in this game; quarterback Evan Pawliuk led the offence down the field on their first drive of the game and just three minutes in hit rookie receiver Alex Anthony for a touchdown.

Pawliuk would add touchdown passes to third-year receiver Dillon Heap and fifth-year fullback Peter Quinney, while the Hawks’ defence forced a safety and kicker Chris Mamo added a 40 yard field goal to put the purple and gold up 26-0 after just one quarter of play.

“We came out really strong in the first half, we were able to move the ball whether we were running it or passing it,” said running back Mike Montoya. “Both the offence and the defence were playing great and we were really clicking.”

Montoya led the Hawks’ rushing attack, which the Lancers seemed unable to stop, running for 207 yards – his second 200 yard game of the season – and a touchdown on 24 carries.

Running backs Jim Martyniuk and rookie Julius Jones-Carter also had strong games on the ground, running for 84 and 54 yards respectively.

“Our running back group is probably one of the best in the country,” said Montoya.

“Jimmy [Martyniuk], myself and Julius [Jones-Carter], all three of us can really run it and with the blocking that we’ve gotten it’s easy to have success.”

Up 33-0 at halftime, it was hard to think of the Hawks coming out of this game with anything but a win.

But the Lancers didn’t leave quietly; quarterback Sam Malian threw a pair of touchdowns, and suddenly the game was a lot more interesting heading into the fourth quarter with the score 33-14.

“Coming out of the gate we knew we had to capitalize right away because that’s where we’ve been struggling that past couple of weeks and we did that,” said Pawliuk.

“But when it comes to the end of the game, you don’t feel well when [you] don’t finish as strong as you start and that’s something that we’ll have to work on for next week.”

The Lancers would add another touchdown late in the game, but the first-half hole was simply too big for them to climb out of, and the Hawks held on for the win.

“Last week [in the] second half, we kept coming and coming, today we just didn’t do that,” said Jeffries.

“But we got the win and that should get us a playoff spot. Now we’ve got a tough one next week at Guelph and we’ll definitely have to be better than we were in the second half today.”

The Hawks now sit at 4-2 and still have a chance to claim not only a home playoff game, but possibly a bye.

However, they have two tough games left on the schedule in a road game this Saturday against the Guelph Gryphons – a team that sits just two points behind the Hawks in the standings – and a home game in the regular season finale on Oct. 24 against the currently undefeated Queen’s Golden Gaels.