Hawks stun Marauders in first playoff win since 2010
HAMILTON, Ont — Michael Faulds can add another accolade to his resume as head coach of the Wilfrid Laurier University football team — first playoff win.
The squad pulled an upset over the No. 6 nationally-ranked and third-seeded McMaster Marauders with a 29-15 victory Saturday, capturing their first playoff win since 2010. The Hawks earned a date against the No. 2 Western Mustangs in the Ontario University Athletics semi-finals next week.
“It felt good. We had a nice big yell at a team, but I’m ready to watch some Western film,” Faulds said after celebrations began to die down at Ron Joyce Stadium.
The Hawks came out firing right from the get-go with second-year quarterback Eric Morelli performing on all cylinders.
Laurier converted on their first drive when the Hawks trekked down the field with big passes ans finished with a 14-yard pass to receiver Anthony Pizzuti to give the visitors a seven-point lead.
The Hawks added a 39-yard field goal by kicker Nathan Mesher to take an early 10-0 lead five minutes into the game.
McMaster kept the game close with a touchdown of their own when starting Marauder pivot Asher Hastings found Dan Petermann for a 66-yard pass. But Laurier’s defence would took control. Kwaku Boateng, Nakas Onyaka and Trevaughan James combined for four sacks on Hastings while Godfrey Onyeka finished the day with eight tackles.
The Hawks put the game on ice when the Laurier defence forced the Marauders to concede a safety in the fourth quarter, resulting in a two-touchdown spread.
“We’ve had a focus that’s been like no other in the last few weeks,” Morelli said. “Since that Homecoming loss we really dialed it in. You could see the week after with Waterloo and then Ottawa and then when we played these guys we were in it for most of the game.”
Fifth-year running back Dillon Campbell was back in the office, casually breaking records as he shattered the single-game rushing record at 295 yards, which was previously held by Nick Cameron at 263 yards. The running back also set the record for most carries at Laurier with 40, also setting the OUA record in the process.
“He’s still really banged up. I give a ton of credit to our offensive line because that’s a really solid defensive line we just faced. They have two outstanding defensive ends and our offensive coordinator Mark Surya came up with an unbelievable game plan,” Faulds said. “Dillon didn’t want this to be his last football game, and it’s not.”
Hastings ended the day 20-for-31 for 320 yards, two touchdowns and four sacks, while Morelli finished 7-for-18, 165 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
The Hawks will now prepare to travel to London to face the top-seeded Mustangs at TD Waterhouse Stadium. Time is to be determined.