If one team was going to show the Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) returning Waterloo Warriors (0-6) some mercy, it might have been the neighbouring Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks.
But the depth of this Laurier team (3-3) shone through whatever feelings of gratuity coach Gary Jeffries had in mind on Thursday night with a 69-3 thrashing before 1,675 at Warrior Field.
Finishing the day with 15 completed passes of 23 attempts, Hawks’ starting quarterback Shane Kelly left the game in the third quarter along with most Laurier starters.
That gave way to some fresh faces and new blood to try and get the job done in their stead.
And the second-stringers got the job done alright.
Backup QB Steven Fantham joined in the attack and connected one of four passes for one touchdown, and set up two others, as three new purple and gold rookie receivers got their first taste of what it’s like to score a TD in the OUA.
First, Fantham hooked up with local boy and Bluevale Collegiate grad Karsten Beney with a 50-yard reception with six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
A little over two minutes later, Ashton Rochester ran in a 35-yard TD after connecting with Fantham.
And with just 1:13 left on the clock, Tyrrel Wilson made sure he wasn’t left out in the scoring spree and used his explosive speed to run into the end zone to cap off what was essentially a clinic on how to play Canadian football by the Hawks.
Defeating a winless team just getting its program back from the clutches of a year-long suspension (from players using performance-enhancing drugs) by that much of a margin may not be that much of a moral victory, but the Laurier squad can take comfort in this.
Both powerhouse teams Western and McMaster had trouble containing those Warriors’ offence during the initial stages of their matches.
But the Hawks’ infamous defence completely shut down whatever grain of offence Waterloo could muster.
Mitchell Bosch had 9.5 tackles and Scott McCahill and Sam Aird each had 4.5, while the team collected four sacks on Waterloo quarterback Luke Balch.
Rookie receiver Kelvin Muamba tried his hand at punt-returning and didn’t look out of place amassing 53 yards on two carries.
Ronnie Pfeffer seemed to have fully recovered with what seemed to be a gruesome injury to the punter’s ankle in last week’s Ottawa game after a late hit took out Pfeffer’s legs from underneath him.
Kelly continues to lead the country in yards with 1,902 and touchdowns, with 20.
The Basking Ridge, NJ native is three touchdowns away from tying the single-season record for most touchdowns in a season by one quarterback.
Star-receiver Shamawd Chambers scored on two of his plays to boost his season total to five touchdowns, which is the same number Mark Surya has after one of his own Thursday night.
Rashad La Touche, filling in for the injured Anton Bennett scored two rushing touchdowns, something that was never in the cards for him at the start of the season.
Even Alex Anthony, the injured receiver coming off from an off-season injury, made sure he wasn’t left out, as he got his first touchdown in his first game back.
Pfeffer had 31 and 41-yard field goals and Warriors’ kicker Jake Fiorucci scored a 20-yard field goal to break Laurier’s shutout in the second quarter.
Laurier is next in action next Saturday when they host the 4-1 McMaster Marauders. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.