Offence leaves Hawks empty in season opener

Laurier’s Thomas Majka tries to corral a Toronto returner in Monday’s surprising loss. (Photo by Nick Lachance).

TORONTO, Ont — It was as if nothing could go right for the Wilfrid Laurier University Golden Hawks.

For the first time since 1984, the men’s football team was shutout by the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 19-0.

“We’re disappointed for sure,” head coach Gary Jeffries said after the game. “But we’ve got a lot of young kids and a lot of new kids and we knew it was going to take some time.”

Toronto’s quarterback Richard Quittenton completed 16 passes for 157 yards, and scored both touchdowns.

Varsity Blues kicker Andrew Lomasney also scored a 27-yard field goal.

Quarterback Travis Eman, in his opening game as a Golden Hawk, had eight completed passes for 122 yards.

“Once we got down, we didn’t look ahead, and we kept the slump going,” Eman said. “But it’s the first game of the season and we’re a young team. We’re only going to get better.”

The opening quarter saw no score from both teams, as each seemed to be getting adjusted to the new season. As the second quarter opened, Quittenton found the endzone on a third down to give the Varsity Blues a 6-0 lead.

Lomasney finished the half with his field goal.

Offence and safety teams continued to be a problem for the Hawks. Their best chance to generate came in the fourth quarter when Toronto was penalized 25 yards, but Tyrrel Wilson could not haul in two passes from Eman.

“[You look for] consistency. Just consistency,” Jeffries said. “You know, some kids gotta make plays when they have the chance. And we gotta work on our punting game.”

Toronto rookie running back Ashton Nelson came out of the gate with 25 rushes for 119 yards, leading the Varsity Blues to victory.

“Toronto kind of came out a little bit better than I thought they would,” Eman said. “But we just gotta get over this and move ahead.”

The Hawks will look to improve on an empty game when they go home Saturday to play their season opener against Queen’s.

“We didn’t make any plays early, but once we start to, confidence will build,” Jeffries said.

“It’s experience. Absolute experience. We got a lot of it tonight, and you learn from your mistakes.”

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