Laurier falls 32-13 to Western Mustangs in home opener
Despite much optimism before one of the hardest games, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team would face this season as they played their home opener on Sunday, Aug. 25 against their long-time rival, the Western Mustangs. The purple and gold did not get the outcome they had hoped for.
Laurier opened up the scoring with a field goal, but the Mustangs would cut the lead to two with a rouge point with 12 seconds left in the first quarter. Western would then score two unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 15-3 lead. Nathan Mesher would score his second field goal of the first half to cut the Mustangs’ lead to nine by halftime.
Western would continue their scoring ways to open up the third quarter, extending their lead to 22-6, but Laurier would answer just before the end of the quarter with Connor Carusello sending a 71-yard pass to Brentyn Hall to cut the Mustangs’ lead to 22-13.
The Mustangs would return in the fourth quarter to score 10 straight points, starting with a field goal and then scoring a touchdown right afterwards to give themselves a 19-point lead over the Golden Hawks.
The purple and gold refused to go down without a fight though, and at the end of the fourth quarter Carusello would throw one last touchdown pass to Brendan McCracken, but a failed two-point conversion attempt would leave the final score at 32-13 in favour of the Mustangs.
Despite Carusello completing 36 of 48 pass attempts, the second most in school history, and throwing for 360 of the offensive 442 yards, the offense fell short against a powerful Mustang defense.
On the defensive end, Tommy Bringi had a game-high nine tackles, but the Golden Hawks just couldn’t keep up with the 2018 Yates Cup champions.
The Golden Hawks will look to get back to winning ways against the York Lions at 1pm on Sunday, Sep. 2, after a previous season that did not end the way the team would’ve hoped, missing the playoffs for the first time in five seasons.
“Western is going to be the team you have to beat to win the Yates Cup, so every team in Ontario knows that, typically we play them in the middle of the season, it’s not a team you have to motivate your guys to play,” said football head coach Michael Faulds.
“We didn’t have the season we hoped for last year — obviously there were some roadblocks like injuries popping up and having a bit tougher of a schedule, losing three games by a total of six points was all part of it, but we owned the record that we had.”
Despite the loss, arguably the hardest game of the Golden Hawks’ season is now over, with their next mentally tough game being the Battle of Waterloo game against the University of Waterloo on Oct. 10.
“The winter workouts, the spring practices, the summer camp, our players have responded really well. They’ve been motivated by that; we have a little bit of a chip and our team kind of likes the underdog role. I like the challenge,” Faulds said.