TORONTO (September 1, 2014) - Dillon Campbell, last season's OUA leading rusher, broke a Wilfrid Laurier single-game rushing record by posting 293 yards and two touchdowns in the Golden Hawks 53-17 season-opening win over the Toronto Varsity Blues on Monday night.
Campbell, a Whitby, Ont., native, broke the Laurier record on a 98-yard major midway through the fourth quarter, pulling away from two Blues defenders to enter the record books.
"I did actually [think Dillon could perform like this] because as good as Dillon was last year, our offensive line is that much better this year," said head coach Michael Faulds on his star back's performance in the win. "Coach Daymond has done a great job with the offensive line and Coach Lynch with our running backs has done a phenomenal job too. It's not like we have a one-headed backfield. They can& rsquo;t just key on Dillon because Fracas can throw the ball to some really good weapons as well so we're a pretty balanced offence."
Campbell wasn't the only Hawk to enter the record books at Varsity Stadium as second year defensive lineman Kawku Boateng of Milton, Ont., set a new school mark for sacks in a game. An OUA All-Rookie in 2013, Boateng notched four sacks in just his ninth OUA game to eclipse the hold mark of three shared by four different players, including current teammate Tommy Griffiths of Richmond Hill, Ont.
"I'm excited but at the end of the day, I know at least one and a half of those sacks is because of the great coverage behind me," commented Boateng on his performance. "Yes I get the sacks but it's to the [defensive backs] credit that the quarterback has to roll out."
After posting a 1-7 record in 2013, their worst mark since 2002, the Hawks came out flying to start the game, looking to prov e their doubters wrong. Fittingly, it was the Hawks' defensive effort that got things rolling as Boateng recorded a sack on the second play from scrimmage and held the Blues to a 2-and-out.
From there, the offence took over. First, quarterback James Fracas of Waterloo, Ont., connected with a wide-open Marcus Arkarakas of Richmond Hill, Ont., for his first career OUA touchdown, a 46-yard major.
Just a minute and a half later, Fracas handed off to Campbell who scampered 74 yards untouched to endzone to build Laurier's lead to 17-0.
The Hawks offence continued to roll in the second quarter as Fracas connected with Greg Nyhof of Georgetown, Ont., on a six-yard score, building Laurier's lead to 24-7.
Toronto would find the offensive game late in the half, capped off by a touchdown from offensive lineman Danny Sprukulis of Oakville, Ont., to pull the Blues to within 10, 27-17, at the break.
The third quarter would belong to the Hawks however as Laurier posted 19 unanswered points, highlighted by a Rashad La Touche (Whitby, Ont.) two-yard touchdown and a 66-yard catch and run major from Nyhof.
With Campbell sitting just shy of 200 yards for the game midway through the fourth quarter, the fourth year back entered the record books in grand fashion. He broke through the Toronto defence and pulled away for the score to eclipse the previous record of 263 yards held by Nick Cameron.
"I honestly just ran, I didn't know," said Campbell when asked if he was aware of the record. "Until the coaches on the sidelines told me I had this many yards, I just did my thing and ran."
Offensively, Laurier put up 567 yards of offence on the Varsity Blues, which was orchestrated by Fracas. The third year pivot finished the night 17 of 24 for 256 yards and three touchdowns to help earn himself and his head coach, Michael Faulds, their second career victories.
Defensively, while Boateng w as the story, the whole defensive front seven shone for the purple and gold as they held Toronto to just 70 yards rushing. Tanner Philp of Burlington, Ont., and Brandon Calver of London, Ont., led the tackling parade with six each.
"This has been building inside since last year," added Faulds on his team's overall performance. "Our guys after last season, we had this in mind. It's been a long road, a long process but as a coaching staff, we've kept the energy high through the off-season workouts. We were waiting for this moment, this moment was building for 10.5 months and a lot of built of energy was just exploded in Toronto."
The victory snaps Laurier's three-game losing streak against the Varsity Blues, a streak which dated back to the 2010 season. It also gives the Hawks a win in their season opener for the first time in three seasons.
Up next for the Hawks (1-0), they head to Windsor to take on the Lancers (0-1) as they look for their second win to start the season. Kick off is set for 1 p.m. at Alumni Field.
NOTES: Campbell finished the game just 57 yards shy of the all-time OUA record held by York's Andre Durie…Nyhof eclipsed 100 yards receiving for the second time in his career, finishing with exactly 100 yards…kicker Ronnie Pfeffer of Kitchener, Ont., averaged 46.4 yards per punt in the contest, nearly 10 yards more than his average last season…Laurier posted their highest point total in a game since scoring 69 against Waterloo in 2011…attendance at Varsity Stadium was 4,221
Source: Laurier Golden Hawks