Laurier men’s football survive Carleton’s comeback attempt and keep perfect record

Photo by Tanzeel Sayani

The Golden Hawk football team improved their record to 2-0 after a 38-35 win against the Carleton Ravens.

The game started off with Laurier taking an early 14-0 lead against Carleton. The Hawks opening drive featured a 73-yard catch and run from Michael Knevel to Daniel Bennett and a Levondre Gordon touchdown run to end the drive. Following that, Godfrey Onyeka blocked a punt to set up a Knevel touchdown through the air.

Laurier got off to a fast start and head coach, Michael Faulds reflected on that start and its importance.

“Had a great start, got up on them early. Second quarter wasn’t quite as good, had a really good third quarter, then fourth quarter wasn’t good,” Faulds said.

“So kind of the ebbs and flows of a football game like you expect and ultimately [I] just told the guys you won the football game so you got to be happy with that.”

The toughest fought wins can be the most rewarding and Carleton proved to be a worthy opponent.

When a punt is blocked, it steals field position and does well to set up the offence. Godfrey Onyeka’s punt block did exactly that, which swung the momentum early in favor of the Golden Hawks.

“Godfrey’s got such long arms, he just stuck up his big arm and hand and blocked it and that was a big play because we went down and scored,” Faulds said.

Following the early lead, the game stalled and Carleton took new life. They pushed against the Hawks and managed to narrow the score to 19-14 Laurier, giving the ball to Michael Knevel and the Laurier offence with just over a minute left before half time.

Laurier drove the ball for a Nathan Mesher field goal and Kurleigh Gittens Jr. made three catches in traffic to set up a field goal and allow Laurier to take a 22-14 lead before the half.

Faulds regards Gittens Jr. as an essential part of the offence:

“He’s very dynamic, he’s tough. Obviously, he’s got great speed but he’s very elusive. He’s a top-notch receiver.”

The two teams then went back and forth exchanging scores for much the second half. Featuring another touchdown run by Levondre Gordon, and three field goals by Nathan Mesher. All totaling for Laurier to hold on in what proved to be a hard fought 38-35 win.

Quarterback Micheal Knevel lead the offense, distributing the ball for 373 yards and touchdown.

“He spread the ball down to multiple receivers, Curly, Brentan, Carson, Daniel Bennett. So he did a really good job spreading the ball around, there’s still a couple throws he’d love to have back but I was happy with our balanced attack,” Faulds said.

On the other side of the ball, Isaiah Guzylak-Messam was the beneficiary of Laurier’s only interception. It came at a critical point in the third quarter and lead to a field goal. Guzylak-Messam read the play and made an incredible break on the ball.

“I just said we just got to make a play, somebody’s got to make a play. We didn’t make a play all game, we didn’t get a turnover, not many stops.  We just needed to make a play and it happened to go to me,” said Isaiah.

Levondre Gordon kept the offense balanced and lead Laurier’s rushing attack. His speed and vision helped him rush for 208 yards and two touchdowns on 27 attempts. One of the most dangerous players in the OUA with the ball in his hand, Gordon displayed his vision to find cutback lanes and his speed to climb into the second level of a defense and take off.

The toughest fought wins can be the most rewarding and Carleton proved to be a worthy opponent.

Not all wins are pretty and for Levondre Gordon, the grind against a strong defense for 60 minutes shows a team what they are good at and more importantly what needs to get better.

“This game was definitely fun, definitely a touch of adversity and it tested what we can do on offense and defense.  Showing us where our areas are and where to correct the mistakes. We should be good for next weekend and come back with another win next week,” Gordon said.

The Golden Hawk football team travels to Kingston next Saturday to take on the Queens Golden Gaels.

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