Laurier: 28 OUA Semifinal - Western: 36
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LONDON – The No. 7 nationally ranked Laurier Golden Hawks generated a 25 point second half but fell short, losing to the No. 3 Western Mustangs 36-28 at TD Waterhouse Stadium in front of a crowd of 3,307.
“This football team will never quit; the people outside this program can write us off as much as they want and we weren’t supposed to be here but we were and we competed,” said Manager of Football Operations and head coach Gary Jeffries
. “This game is another experience that we will learn from and we’ll grow and be back here next year.”
With five minutes and 19 seconds remaining in the third quarter Ian Noble
(West Vancouver, B.C.) stepped in for starting quarterback Luke Thompson
(London, Ont.) and generated some momentum to move the ball.
Thompson had seen pressure from the Western front seven and saw trouble throwing five interceptions on top of his six completions for 62 yards.
“We played our hearts out,” said Noble who completed 11 of 16 for 146 yards and three touchdowns. “No one is satisfied with the way it went but we didn’t roll over and surrender – we did what we practiced and pushed as hard as we could.”
The veteran quarterback who hasn’t played since York in week eight led three drives that saw scoring opportunities throwing touchdown passes to B.J. Malott (Kitchener, Ont.) and Shamawd Chambers
(Markham, Ont.). Thompson completed his touchdown to Josh Bishop
Running back Ryan Lynch
(Waterloo, Ont.) led the team’s rushing game with his 12 touches for 56 yards. Thompson was just behind him as the only other rusher with 36 net yards on five carries.
Early on Western was only able to score off of field goals by Darryl Wheeler. The kicker nailed four in the first half including one from 38 yards before running back Nathan Riva picked up the first Mustang major at the six-minute mark of the third. Riva went on to cause havoc with the Golden Hawk defence carrying the ball 28 times for 173 yards including a touchdown while quarterback MICHAEL FAULDS
threw for 355 yards on 20 completions.
Up 33-7, Laurier began to close the gap but ran out of time. Returner Dillon Heap
(Waterloo, Ont.) had an impressive 94-yard carry to move the ball back after the second Western major but things just didn’t work out as Western was able to punch the ball loose later on a punt return with two-minutes remaining to eventually get three points.
The Laurier defence played a strong game, despite seeing a lot of field time. Defensive lineman Steve Cormack (Waterloo, Ont.) had three sacks on Faulds while adding a recovery of one of Western’s three fumbles and a pair of tackles. Defensive back Dustin Hayman
(Toronto, Ont.) led the team in tackles with eight (six solo).
“Today’s game was tiring, but we talked about coming out in the second half with everything we had and things started clicking,” commented Cormack. “This wasn’t even supposed to be a game – we were underdogs and we gave them all we had. It can only be positive from here.”
The game ends the careers of Golden Hawk veterans Jordan Van Horn
, Kyle Somerville
, Adam Bestard
, Ian Noble
, Luke Pinder
, Scott Evans
, Ryan Lynch
, Troy Leach
, Joe Labenski
, Jordan Schaus
, Paul Hancock
, Wayne Brock
, Casey Potter
and Jeremy Chemij
“I’m proud to be apart of this program and have had some part of an impact on the younger faces,” said veteran linebacker Luke Pinder
. “The maturity the rookies is just so impressive – who would have thought we would be dressing and starting so many in this program.”
While the group of veterans move on from the football program, a strong group of rookies have come on board and will make their presence known in years to come.
The 101st Yates Cup will take place next Saturday, November 8th at TD Waterhouse Stadium as Western hosts the University of Ottawa Gee Gee’s who upset the previously undefeated Queen’s Gaels 23-13 in the other semifinal today.