WATERLOO - The trend continued for the number five nationally ranked Western Mustangs as they recovered from a ten-point first quarter deficit to defeat the number six ranked Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks 31-20 at Knight-Newbrough Field, University Stadium in front of 6,432 fans.
In the first half, Wilfrid Laurier opened up a 10-0 lead in a dominating the first quarter of play. Luke Thompson (London, Ont.) saw the helm of the offence after Ian Noble (West Vancouver, B.C.) injured himself earlier in the week. In his first go he completed 21 of 39 for 279 yards and rushed for 70 yards. He converted on a second and ten early in the game to pick up one of Laurier’s touchdowns to make the score 7-0.
“For his first performance starting he did well,” commented Manager of Football Operations and Head Coach Gary Jeffries on Thompson’s first start at quarterback. “Luke and the rest of the guys played hard right to the end and that’s all we could have asked for.”
The play capped off an impressive drive for Wilfrid Laurier that started deep in their own territory.
After a 27-yard Chris Mamo (London, Ont.) field goal that gave Laurier the 10-0 lead in the first quarter, Western began to put some plays together.
The ‘Stangs turnaround began with a great set of defensive stances in the second quarter. Then some strong running from backup running back John Leckie (Georgetown, Ont.) and timely big plays from receivers Nick Trevail (London, Ont.) and Jesse Bellamy (Guelph, Ont.) gave Western life. MICHAEL FAULDS led Western to 272 yards in the air while the ground attack saw John Leckie carry for 108 yards and two majors.
The Mustangs first points came after the defence forced the Golden Hawks to concede a safety on a third down, deep in their own zone.
Mike Van Praet was a menace on defence recording a sack and forcing several quick throws from Thompson while John Surla, last week's OUA male athlete of the week, was solid again with key tackles. On the Golden Hawk side, Mitchell Bosch (Langley, B.C.) had a second solid week picking up five tackles. Veteran Joe Labenski (Welland, Ont.) returned to the line-up this week and made himself known taking down Faulds. Chima Ihekwoaba (Burlington, Ont.), Sam Aird (Ancaster, Ont.) and Giancarlo Rapanaro (Niagara Falls, Ont.) all picked up sacks as well.
Troy Leach (Barrie, Ont) scored the other Laurier touchdown on a catch from Thompson with just over three minutes left to pull Laurier within 11 but it was too late as Western held on for the win, 31-20.
The Golden Hawks now travel to Kingston to face the Queen’s Gaels at Richardson Stadium. Game time is set for 1:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on Cogeco on tape delay. The following week will have the Golden Hawks returning to Knight-Newbrough Field, University Stadium to host the Windsor Lancers as part of homecoming weekend celebrations. Tickets for the game are available on www.laurierathletics.com/ecommerce