Laurier’s football season starts strong

The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks football team is looking to build upon their 2015 campaign, when they made it to the semifinal game but lost to the Western Mustangs in a hard fought battle.

The 2016 season marks the departure for star player Dillon Campbell, who for years had been at the forefront of the Laurier offence and football team as a whole.

Campbell meant so much to Golden Hawk football team through his tenure and finding a replacement for Laurier’s  leading rusher is no easy task.

Football is a sport of the next man up. Taking the helm of the Golden Hawks rushing attack is fifth-year running back, Eric Guiltinan. He is the veteran in the backfield and will be taking the bulk of the carries for the 2016 season.

Head coach, Michael Faulds is poised to take the next step with his team. Through his career, he has taken his team from a 1-7 season into the semifinal game, last year.

The season is under way with a win over Queen’s with a final score of 37-18. The win was a good start to start the season, but not without its flaws. The offence, under quarterback Julien John, was held out of the end zone for the entire first half, which included John throwing four picks on the day.

Faulds, however, dictates that the interceptions number doesn’t tell the full story.

“It’s a little of all twelve guys and…we thought the receiver could go up and make a play. Sometimes it’s the pressure, sometimes the quarterback getting a little bit of happy feet,” said Faulds, regarding the four interceptions in the first game.

In regards to the offensive woes of the first game, Faulds just simply said, “we’ll correct it.”

There may be some questions that the offence will have to play through, but there are certainly few questions on defence.

The defence is looking to be solid all around. Anchored by fourth-year defensive end, Kwaku Boateng. The defence was physical and looking to keep up the energy from their first game resulting in eight quarterback sacks and an interception returned for a touchdown.

“Our offence has to face them every day, so we know exactly how good they are,” said Faulds.

Any team can have one good showing and it will be central to keep them fresh down the stretch.  Faulds knows this.

“Obviously you want to stay healthy and it’s about keeping them motivated, so we’ve got to nip in the bud the penalties and make sure they’re motivated and hungry to come in with that work ethic every day,” Faulds said.

Depth is an integral part of any football team. The players on your bench are the ones that will get you over the playoff hump. Injuries will happen in the season and a strong bench is part of any championship team.

Faulds sees some promising talent in his young players. He likes the play he is seeing from second-year defensive end, Robbie Smith, who recorded two sacks in the first game. Faulds also has high hopes for second-year receiver, Brentyn Hall.

For now, Faulds isn’t looking too far ahead; his mind remains in the present.

“One week at a time. Right now, I know that’s the ultimate cliché, but we have to play York next Monday night and they’re going to come here really excited and amped up to play us and we’ll have to give our best week of practice to ensure that we have a good shot Monday night.”

Potential means little if it’s never obtained. But in athletics nothing is handed to,  instead it is fought for on the field.

The Golden Hawks football team is rich in potential and only time will tell if they ever get to taste the ceiling.

The team will be heading into week two of the season ranked number ten (as of Tuesday) by CIS.

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