The Battle is Back - OUA In The Huddle with Mike Hogan - Week 4

The Battle is Back - OUA In The Huddle with Mike Hogan - Week 4

It's been a while.

Known locally as 'The Battle of Waterloo', of late it's been a lot less Napoleon Bonaparte vs The Duke of Wellington and a lot more Napoleon Dynamite vs the Duke of Edinburgh (Vote for Philip). You could find some entertainment value, but it would never be a classic.

This week, however, there's more than just a regional curiosity to watch a game between two teams whose stadiums are less than three kilometres away from one another.

Both the Laurier Golden Hawks and Waterloo Warriors are undefeated and it's creating quite a stir on the two campuses.

"We got an email from the Waterloo staff a week ago," Hawks head coach Michael Faulds told In The Huddle, "It said tickets are going fast."

The email was right. On Monday an additional 200 temporary grandstand seats were added at Warrior Field, exclusively for Waterloo students.

There should be excitement for this game. The Warriors just cracked the Top Ten for the first time in a decade, while the Hawks have quietly become a co-favourite for the Yates Cup with Western, though the team wearing a slightly different shade of purple continues to get most of the attention.

"I thought there would be more talk about us, but there hasn't been," said Faulds, a former quarterback for the Mustangs. "I think it's been great for us playing that underdog role."

That won't be the case on Saturday.

While the Warriors are fully deserving of their 4-0 record, three of the wins have been in relatively close games, including a heart-stopping 45-43 win at Carleton last week.

The 3-0 Hawks have been more dominant, winning by an average score of 39-17, including an impressive 40-17 win at Queen's, where they scored the game's final 27 points.

Faulds used the early adversity as a coaching tool.

"I liked that it was 17-13," admitted last year's Frank Tindall Trophy winner as USports coach of the year. "On the sideline I was saying that this is good for us. This will show us what we're made of. It was good for us to have a little adversity."

If that was a "little adversity", the Warriors faced some major tribulation at Carleton. The Ravens led 30-10 at the half, before charging back to take a late lead, only to hang on for a two-point win.

Faulds realizes that the Warriors are a much-improved team and has stressed that to his Hawks.

"I've let them know," he told OUA.ca. "Our guys can see the standings. The win at Carleton opened a lot of eyes. It's always impressive when your team doesn't back down and show defeat, especially when it's a young team."

The Warriors are 4-0 for the first time since 1998, when their offensive line included current head coach Chris Bertoia. He knows how to win big games, as does his coaching counterpart.

Saturday's battle should be a blast.

 

The O-Zone:

The Hawks were down early in Kingston before roaring back to beat Queen's. Michael Knevel threw for 421 yards and four TDs, while Laurier added 177 more on the ground. Knevel threw his first two interceptions of the season, the same number he had all of last year. Both Kurleigh Gittens Jr. and Brentyn Hall had over 100 receiving yards. Robbie Smith recorded 4.5 sacks, while Nathan Mesher kicked a 52-yard field goal, both setting Laurier records. Queen's has to clean up its pass protection. They've allowed 26 sacks in just three games, including eight more on Saturday. The Tricolour also couldn't get the running game going as Jonah Pataki only carried the ball six times for 40 yards. The Gaels are now 0-3 and visit Western this week. They finish with Windsor, Waterloo, York and Toronto.

The Warriors 45-43 win at Carleton was not for the faint of heart. A combined 1,314 yards of offence. A 20-point halftime lead erased. Five lead changes. Five TDs of 20 yards or longer in the fourth quarter alone. A Carleton TD with 12 seconds left to move to within two points of the lead, then a sack on the two-point conversion attempt to seal the win. Among the individual highlights for Waterloo, a 477-yard, 3-touchdown, no interception performance for Lucas McConnell. A 10-catch, 185 yard afternoon for Tyler Ternowski, and a 138-yard, 2-TD rushing day for Dion Pellerin. For Carleton, Michael Arruda passed for 348 yards, also throwing for 3 TDs with no picks. Phil Iloki was the main target with 147 receiving yards. The most eye-catching stat though was a Ravens record 274-yard rushing performance by Nathan Carter. The teams combined for 27 penalties for 257 yards.

McMaster may have solved its quarterbacking dilemma. Freshman Jackson White threw for 255 yards and a pair of TDs, while rushing for 63 yards in a 24-7 win over previously unbeaten Ottawa. The Gee-Gees led a defensive battle 4-0 at the half. MAC flexed its defensive muscle one again, limiting Bryce Vieira to just five rushing yards on 11 carries. Ottawa QB Victor Twynstra was injured again, this time in the first quarter. Freshman Alex Lavric struggled, completing just 39 per cent of his 36 passes for 133 yards and an interception. The Marauders have allowed just 45 points in three games, but will have to clean things up in the penalty department. They were flagged a whopping 17 times for 194 yards.

It was a long day for Windsor in a 59-7 loss to Western. The total yards favoured the Mustangs 697-84. The best story from the day surrounds a rather unimpressive rushing total of 76 yards on 13 carries, but for Yannick Harou it must have been a fun afternoon. The Western running back injured his knee near the end of the 2015 season, then hurt it again at the CFL combine to the point where he was forced to miss all of last year. With running backs Alex Taylor and Cedric Joseph on the roster there was no need to hurry him back. Harou would carry the ball four times for 16 yards a week ago against McMaster before getting some more touches against Windsor. The Mustangs are a team that most fans either love or hate, but people in both camps have to feel good about the Harou comeback story.

Johnny Augustine and Jacob Scarfone each scored two touchdowns, while Gabriel Ferraro kicked five field goals in Guelph's 43-6 win over Toronto. Scarfone and Kian Schaffer-Baker both had over 100-receiving yards. Connor Ennis took most of the reps at QB for Varsity, but was held to 137-passing yards and a couple of interceptions. Guelph has its Homecoming game this week against McMaster in what should be a fantastic afternoon, while the Blues travel to York in the annual Red and Blue Bowl.

Former York running back and current Toronto Argonaut radio analyst Jeff Johnson will be inducted into the York Sport Hall of Fame on Friday. After a stellar career with the then Yeomen, Johnson played 14 years in the CFL – two with Hamilton, then a dozen with the Argos – despite not being drafted. He was a three-time OUA First-Team All-Star and later won two Grey Cup rings with Toronto.