Marauders snap Hawks’ win streak
After just finding their groove against Waterloo last weekend, it was the winds of change and a stout McMaster Marauders team that felled the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks 25-6 in front of 1,006 at University Stadium on a wet, dark and blustery Saturday.
Marking McMaster’s starting quarterback Kyle Quinlan’s second game back after a league suspension for an off-field altercation earlier in the year, the Marauders (6-1) mustered the day’s challenging conditions better than the Hawks.
Quinlan threw for 14 of 26 attempts for 230 yards and one touchdown. Hawks’ quarterback Shane Kelly threw into two pivotal interceptions by McMaster with the most crucial pick coming with seven minutes left in the game.
Defensive back Michael Daly ran the pick all the way to midfield, effectively ending the Hawks’ comeback attempt. It was the second straight loss to McMaster after Laurier (3-4) owned the team from Hamilton with nine straight wins before the two defeats.
Kelly didn’t look anything like his previous self, only throwing for 15 of 32 passes for 151 yards and no touchdowns. The offence was consistently smothered as Shamawd Chambers and Dillon Heap frequently found themselves in double or triple coverage and Kelly seemingly finding no other available avenues.
McMaster receiver Michael Dicroce caught the game’s first touchdown 3:14 into the third quarter, and it was all McMaster for the rest of the contest.
The Marauders’ Tyler Crapigna converted three field goals from the 24, 20 and 46-yard lines, and Hawks’ kicker Ronnie Pfeffer kicked two 30 and 35-yard successful three-point conversions.
Laurier running back Anton Bennett made his presence felt after missing week six with an ankle injury. Bennett rushed for 57 yards and had two receptions for 30 yards.
The punt-returning factor was non-existent for both Heap and the Marauders’ special teams as the day’s winds devoured any sort of yardage that Hawks’ kicker Ronnie Pfeffer could boot. At one point, after rocketing upwards and towards McMaster’s end zone, one of Laurier’s punts blew behind Pfeffer for a loss-in-yards play. That put the Hawks in horrible field position at their own 13-yard line and they were forced to concede the safety.
On another unusual play, Pfeffer faked for the rush and got beyond the line of scrimmage before punting. The ball shot up directly up before falling right back in the hands of Pfeffer. The ball was given to McMaster on the play.
Chris Pezzetta finished off the scoring with a one yard run at 14:27 of the fourth quarter.
The Hawks now face the threat of missing the playoffs and must win against the University of Guelph next week to ensure a spot in the top six.
Gametime is 1 p.m. at Alumni Stadium in Guelph for the final contest of the year before the post-season.