Laurier 38, Carleton 35
WATERLOO, Ont. (Sept. 9, 2017) — The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men's football team survived a late comeback attempt from the Carleton Ravens, holding on for a 38-35 win in front of 4,006 fans Saturday night at University Stadium.
The win improves the No. 6 Golden Hawks to 2-0 on the season while the Ravens drop to 1-2. Third-year running back Levondre Gordon (Mississauga, Ont.) was the offensive star for Laurier, rushing for a career-high 208 yards on 27 attempts, also a career high, while adding two touchdowns. Quarterback Michael Knevel (Brantford, Ont.) set a new career-high of his own, throwing for 373 yards, adding a touchdown. Meanwhile, fourth-year Kurleigh Gittens Jr. (Ottawa, Ont.) tied a career-high with 130 receiving yards on 10 catches.
For Carleton, first-year quarterback Michael Arruda had a huge evening, finishing the game 27/51 for 441 yards and four touchdowns. Arruda's go-to target was fifth-year receiver Kyle VanWynsberghe, who caught eight passes for 160 yards. Three of Arruda's four touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter as he engineered a 21-point frame that almost saw the Ravens mount an 18-point comeback. "There is never a perfect game," said Laurier head coach Michael Faulds. "As I told the guys it's about finding different ways to win. So ultimately I am happy we got the win against a quality opponent. But there are things that will need to be improved on."
In the first quarter, Laurier built a 14-0 lead before the game was two minutes old on the strength of a four-yard touchdown run from Gordon and a six-yard touchdown pass from Knevel to Stu Smith (Mississauga, Ont.). The Golden Hawks would add a pair of Nathan Mesher (Waterloo, Ont.) field goals to lead 22-14 at halftime. On the Ravens' first drive of the third quarter Isaiah Guzylak-Messam (Hamilton, Ont.) picked off an Arruda pass to set up Gordon's second touchdown run of the night, a 21-yarder. The Hawks would shut out the Ravens in the frame and take a 32-14 lead in to the fourth quarter.
But in the fourth, Arruda threw touchdown passes to Quinton Soares and Chad Marchulenko to make the game close; and then hit Wilson Birch with eight seconds on the clock to pull the Ravens within three points. Following the touchdown, Carleton was unable to convert an onside kick and the Hawks closed out the win.
"The overall message I give is that it is not a sprint; it is a marathon, this season," said Faulds. "We are only at game two, so there are things we will be working on before our game against Queen's next weekend."
Both teams had big nights offensively with Laurier racking up 576 yards of offence to Carleton's 551. Carleton linebacker Leon Cenerini led all tacklers with 13 total (11 solo), while fifth-year Brandon Calver (London, Ont.) led the Golden Hawks with 7.5 tackles (6 solo). Mesher finished 5/5 on field goals with a long of 45 yards. His Carleton counterpart Mike Domagala was 1/2 on field goals but had a great night punting, averaging 46.9 yards per kick.
Laurier now holds an all-time record of 7-2-1 all-time versus Carleton. The Ravens most recent win over the Hawks came in 1965; all seven Laurier-Carleton match-ups prior to 2013 took place between 1963 and 1970.
Next Saturday, the Golden Hawks hit the road to take on the Queen's Gaels (0-2) at Richardson Stadium in Kingston. Kickoff at Queen's is 1 p.m.
Waterloo 28, Toronto 23
Through the first two weeks of the 2017 OUA football season, the Waterloo Warriors proved that they can win when everything clicks. But on Saturday afternoon against the Toronto Varsity Blues, they proved they can win even when it doesn't.
Veteran slotback Richmond Nketiah (Brampton/) hauled in a pair of receiving touchdowns, and the Wateroo defence came up with three interceptions as the Warriors moved to 3-0 on the season with a gutsy 28-23 victory over the Varsity Blues in front of 3,645 fans at a raucous Black and Gold day at Warrior Field.
"The boys answered the bell. I'm proud of them," said Waterloo Head Coach Chris Bertoia. "To win a game 28-23, those are the games we need to win as a program to continue to build that kind of steel resolve, and understand that, in tight situations, we can win, and we can answer the bell."
The victory marks the first time since 2007 that the Warriors have started a season with three straight wins. It's also the second home victory for Waterloo in the last five days, after going without a win at Warrior Field for nearly five years. Meanwhile, the Blues dropped to 1-2 on the young season, after a fourth-quarter comeback attempt came up short. "It was just the playcalling and the execution," said Nketiah about his big day offensively. "All week, we prepared, the coaches drew up all the coverages that we might be seeing, and honestly, its exactly what we saw."
The Warriors once again employed a platoon at quarterback, as veteran Lucas McConnell (Waterford/) and rookie Tre Ford (Niagara Falls/) shared time throughout the first half. McConnell went 18-25 for 191 yards and a touchdown, while Ford went 3-3 with a touchdown, and added 69 yards in 7 carries. But the rookie was forced out of the game early in the second half with an injury, leaving McConnell to secure the win.
The defense relied upon playmaking to put their stamp on the game, as Warriors defensive back Sammy Prantera (St. Catharine's/) snuffed out Toronto's first drive of the afternoon with an end zone interception off Toronto quarterback and NCAA transfer Conner Ennis. Shaquille Sealy (London/) and Lautaro Frecha (Sault Ste. Marie/) also added momentum-shifting interceptions off Blues backup quarterback Clay Sequeira, who came into replace Ennis in the second half.
The Warriors also used some trickery in the win: leading 3-1 early in the second quarter, and lining up to go for it on third down and 10 from midfield, McConnell instead flicked a pooch punt. Receiver Blair McKay (Waterford/) raced downfield and caught the ball off a bounce, setting up Waterloo deep in Toronto territory. Two plays later, Nketiah settled down in a defensive weak spot and grabbed a 5-yard pass from Ford for the major, making it 10-1.
"That's just something we've been practicing a bit," said Bertoia. "Both of our quarterbacks, plus Mitch Kernick (Elmira/), all three of those guys can punt, so we've just looked at different options of doing things on third downs. The Blues responded later in the quarter with an 11-yard TD reception by Wacey Schell, but the Warriors answered with just over a minute to play in the half, when McConnell floated a 10-yard pass for Nketiah in the back corner of the end zone. Nketiah cradled the ball and kept his back foot inbounds to put Waterloo up 18-7 at the half.
The Ford injury in the third quarter seemed to momentarily deflate the stadium, and the Blues turned the tides with successive plays on either side of the ball – first, Toronto made a stop on 3rd and 7 from the midfield line, before Sequeira came in to rip a 55-yard touchdown bomb to Will Corby to cut the Waterloo lead to 18-14.
After the Sealy interception ended another Blues drive prematurely, McConnell hit McKay with a 41-yard bomb to McKay set up a 4-yard touchdown scamper from Brandon Metz (Cambridge/), making the score 25-14 after three quarters. The visiting Blues wouldn't go away quietly though, and the combination of Sequeira's big arm and quick feet kept Waterloo's defence off-balance. The Warriors' saving grace was once again their big-play ability, as Frecha came up with Waterloo's third interception of the game – and second deep in their own territory – to maintain their lead early in the final quarter.
The teams exchanged field goals in the fourth before Sequeira scampered in for the major with 1:40 remaining in the game, making the score 28-23 after a failed two-point conversion. The Blues got the ball back in the final minute of the contest, but the Warriors' defensive secondary had one more stop in them to salt the game away: On 3rd and 5 from the Waterloo 47-yard line, Sequeira looked to have a completion to Jaykwon Thompson – except Sealy met the receiver just as the ball arrived, and he laid a thunderous hit on Thompson to send the ball falling to the turf, incomplete.
"When we're down, they're lifting us up," said Nketiah of his team's defense. "Those turnovers and that late hit (by Frecha), that was a game-making play." The Warriors will now look to move to an improbable 4-0 on the season when they travel to the nation's capital to take on a dangerous and experienced Carleton Ravens team. Kickoff at MNP Park is scheduled for 1pm on Saturday, September 16.
Guelph 82, Windsor 10
GUELPH – If there is such a thing as a statement game, the Guelph Gryphons football team had one. On a short week, coming off two heartbreaking overtime losses, the Gryphons put on a dominating display at Alumni Stadium Saturday, defeating the Windsor Lancers 82-10.
Guelph's 82 points were a single-game school record. The Gryphons had 10 touchdowns on the day, improving to 1-2 on the season in the most emphatic way possible. "Honestly, the last two weeks, we've played some good football," said head coach Kevin MacNeill. "The guys have been battling hard and it was nice to see them stay focused through those first two weeks and have a good performance today."
Guelph dropped the OUA opener to Ottawa 24-21 in double overtime and then lost a close one to Western in London, 41-34 in overtime. Those memories were erased as the Gryphons came out fast and did not give Windsor a chance to breathe, beating the Lancers for the ninth time in the past 11 meetings.
The onslaught began with quarterback James Roberts throwing an 18-yard touchdown to Zeph Fraser, the reigning OUA Offensive Player of the Week, just 2:56 in. After a safety made it 9-0, Roberts hooked up with Kian Schaffer-Baker from 41 yards out at the 6:05 mark of the first quarter. Kade Belyk made a 17-yard touchdown catch a couple minutes later and fifth-year running back Johnny Augustine carried one in from three yards out early in the second quarter, with Gabriel Ferraro's kick making it 30-0.
The route was officially on. "Overtime losses are that much more difficult to take," said Roberts, who twisted his knee late in the Western game but had no doubt he would be ready for Windsor. "Today, we wanted to really have fun, play football and play our game."
Roberts completed all nine of his first-quarter passes for 169 yards and three touchdowns and finished the day 16 of 21 for 303 yards, while tying his career-high of four touchdown passes. He gave way to backup Theodore Landers, who ran one in from 20 yards out late in the first half for a 53-3 lead after 30 minutes of play.
Guelph's offensive numbers were staggering as they put up 580 yards of net offence. Jacob Scarfone had six catches for 89 yards and a score, while Schaffer-Baker hauled in three, also for 89 yards and a score. Augustine rushed the ball nine times for 51 yards and two touchdowns but also added four catches for 58 yards. Jamal Hooker led the Gryphons on the ground, rushing six times for 91 yards and two second-half touchdowns.
In a game with so many huge plays, the best came from first-year receiver/returner Ryan Isenor. The Delhi, ON native took a missed Windsor field goal attempt in the third quarter and blew by the Lancers' special teams unit for an almost max 125-yard touchdown return. Isenor finished the day with an incredible 268 return yards and added two catches for 26 yards. "The O-line and receivers, I can't thank them enough," said Roberts. "They make my life so much easier. I think our receiving corps is the best in the country. I know they'll always bail me out and make a play. That's something not every quarterback has."
MacNeill said the Gryphons had a lot of confidence after the first two weeks, despite the losses. And he was content that the defence played excellent. "This is a team that beat us last year," MacNeill said of Windsor, which shocked Guelph 33-29 in 2016. "We were pretty focused and definitely wanted to make a statement. "It was clear we were ready to play and had some bad intentions."
Despite the 72-point margin, the Gryphons weren't perfect. Guelph was disciplined for most of the game but took a few unnecessary penalties in the second half, though the score was out of hand by then. The hosts also allowed a 70-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter by Windsor's Marvin Gaynor, who finished with 166 yards on the ground.
Luke Korol led the Gryphons with five solo tackles, five assists and half a sack. Orion Edwards had three solo tackles and two pass breakups, and wreaked havoc all afternoon, as did Riley Baines, the coaches' pick for Defensive Player of the Game with four solo tackles and three assists. Defensive lineman Alain Cimankinda kept up his crazy pace with another two and a half sacks, along with three and a half tackles for losses totaling 14 yards. Rookie lineman Sandor Mod also chipped in four tackles, two of them for losses.
The 82 points were the most scored in an OUA game since Western's 83 versus Ottawa on Sept. 14, 2013 and Ottawa's 83 versus McGill on Oct. 12, 1974. The total was eight shy of the OUA record of 90 set by Laurier, when the Golden Hawks played York on Oct. 19, 1974. "We just wanted to play four full quarters," said Roberts. "I think we did that today."
The rejuvenated Gryphons hope to make it two straight wins when they travel to face the University of Toronto Varsity Blues next Saturday. Game time is 1 pm.
Ottawa 26, York 17
The York University Lions football team hung tough throughout the game before coming up just short in a 26-17 loss to the No. 9 nationally-ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees on Saturday afternoon at Alumni Field.
The Lions took the lead with 4:56 remaining in the third quarter on a six-yard touchdown catch by Jesse Amankwaa that made the score 17-16 and held it until there was just under six minutes remaining in the game, when Ottawa's Lewis Ward kicked what turned out to be the winning field goal to give the Gee-Gees a 19-17 lead. Donald Shaw added a rushing touchdown with 41 seconds remaining for the final points of the game.
"I thought they battled," head coach Warren Craney said about his team's performance. "Our coaches had a good game plan and we executed it almost flawlessly. If we could have been a little more disciplined, I think we could have won this football game. We definitely deserved a better fate. I'm proud of how they battled after last Monday's disappointment, they could have easily turtled seeing the No. 9 team in the country show up. They are a resilient group and really came to play."
Not much happened in a slow first quarter that ended with the Gee-Gees leading 1-0 after a missed field goal by Ward went through the back of the end zone. York also had a missed field goal in the frame by rookie kicker Dante Mastrogiuseppe. Mastrogiuseppe bounced back early in the second with a 27-yard field goal to give the Lions an early lead. However, the Gee-Gees scored a touchdown on their next possession, a one-yard passing play caught by Tyler McLaren, to lead 8-3. The Lions conceded a safety on the next drive for a 10-3 Ottawa advantage.
With 1:19 remaining in the half, the Lions evened the game again at 10 apiece when Eric Kimmerly scored a 13-yard touchdown after evading multiple tackles, and the two teams remained tied heading into halftime. The Gee-Gees came out flying to start the third quarter and ended a solid drive with a 23-yard field goal, and they extended their lead to 16-10 with another field goal at 7:01 from 40 yards out.
On York's next drive, Amankwaa broke through the line for a gorgeous 30-yard rush straight up the middle of the field and then scored the touchdown three plays later. It was then the defence's turn to make a big play as Rossini Sandjong-Djabome and Jacob Janke stuffed the Gee-Gees on 3rd-and-inches at Ottawa's 36-yard line. Mastrogiuseppe had a 29-yard field goal attempt blocked before the end of the quarter but the Lions still led 17-16.
Just before Ward kicked his fourth-quarter field goal, York's defence was again impressive. Ward had made a 12-yard field goal, but the Lions were called for unnecessary roughness and the Gee-Gees were given a first down with the ball on the one-yard line. However, two huge stops by Matthew Skoko and Andrew Smith kept the Gee-Gees out of the end zone and ultimately held them to three points.
Amankwaa was tremendous on the afternoon, wracking up 181 total yards and one touchdown. He had 159 rushing yards on 23 carries and also added a pair of catches for 22 yards. Quarterback Brett Hunchak was solid under centre, going 22-of-34 for 263 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 30 yards on the ground and threw for three interceptions.mFor the Gee-Gees, Shaw led the way with 138 rushing yards on 18 carries and the one touchdown. Quarterback Victor Twynstra was 17-of-33 for 167 yards and the one score.
The Lions will now have some time off with their bye week coming up, and will return to action on Saturday, Sept. 23 for their biggest game of the season, the 48th annual Red & Blue Bowl against the rival Toronto Varsity Blues. Kick-off is set for 1pm at Alumni Field in what is also the team's annual Homecoming game this season.
Western 29, McMaster 14
HAMILTON (September 9, 2017) - No. 7 McMaster held their own, but in the end were out-gunned offensively by No. 4 Western 29-14 in OUA football action on Saturday at Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton.
McMaster's record is now even at 1-1 with Western improving to a perfect 3-0 and sitting atop the OUA standings tied with Ottawa and Waterloo with six points.
The Marauders struggled offensively in the first half, converting only four first downs and a total of 13 the entire game.
Jackson White of Cambridge, Ont., entered in relief at quarterback for McMaster in the second half and was able to throw for 103 yards and rush for a touchdown along with 97 yards on the ground. Those numbers mark career highs for the first-year quarterback playing in his first regular season game for the Marauders.
Winnipeg's Andreas Dueck was 7 for 12, tossing for 35 yards in the opening half for the Marauders.
Western's duo of quarterbacks combined for 262 passing yards on 20 completions. Chris Merchant of Calgary had the Mustangs lone passing touchdown but also threw two interceptions in the game while tossing 189 yards. Stevenson Bone of Darien, CT., was 9 for 15, for 73 yards passing with one interception in the win.
Fourth-year Marauders receiver Dan Petermann of Stoney Creek, Ont., became the school's all-time career leader in receptions. He broke the record with his fourth catch of the day, passing McMaster Hall of Famer Ryan Janzen, who previously held the record at 150. Petermann finished the day with six receptions for a career total of 153.
While the 29 points suggest otherwise, the Marauder defence continued its solid play, picking off Western quarterbacks three times and forcing a fumble. Western totalled just 370 yards the entire game which was their lowest total since the last time they faced McMaster last season. McMaster's Jake Heathcote of Hamilton, had the biggest interception of the game, collecting a pick and returning it 34 yards. Robbie Yochim of Kelowna, B.C. and Nolan Putt of Caledonia, Ont., also recorded interceptions in the loss.
As a team, McMaster is tied for second in the country with five defensive interceptions. Yochim is also tied for second in interceptions, having collected an pick in the last two games. White and Lyons provided all of the scoring for McMaster, with White breaking free for a 33-yard touchdown on a quarterback sneak early in the fourth quarter. At the time, that made the score 19-14 for Western, but the Marauders looked poised for a comeback.
Western clamped down in the fourth, posting 10 points, with a Cedric Joseph of Montreal rushing touchdown and a Marc Liegghio (Woodbridge, Ont.) field goal to seal the game at 29-14. Earlier, Western had surged to a 16-point lead in the opening two quarters before the Marauders responded with Heathcote picking off Merchant and returning the ball 34 yards. That interception set up a three-play, 10-yard McMaster scoring drive capped by a one yard run from Jordan Lyons of Burlington, Ont.
Prior to that passage of play, Western had controlled the scoreboard. McMaster's offence surrendered a safety in the opening quarter. The Mustangs put up 14 points in the second quarter with Merchant connecting with Alex Taylor of Winnipeg for a 44-yard strike to put the score at 9-0. Seven minutes later, Western would block and ultimately recover McMaster punt to put the score at 16-0. Western's Fraser Sopik of Aurora, Ont., picked up the blocked punt after McMaster had an opportunity to cover the ball.
McMaster head coach Knox lessons learned:
"We just made too many mistakes today. We'll learn from those, and experience will help us level out those highs and lows. It's about improving our execution from play to play. We did some great things on defence, and had some good plays, but we would follow it up with mistakes, and you could physically see the reactions from those players when they knew."