Burlington, Ont. – Alex Taylor, Mackenzie Ferguson, and Jason Richards have been named Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Football Players of the Week for the period ending November, 4 2018.
Offence: Alex Taylor, Western Mustangs
When playoff time rolls around, it’s no surprise to see the veteran players step up, which is exactly what Western’s Alex Taylor did en route to the Mustangs’ semifinal victory over Carleton on Saturday.
After the offence stalled in the opening half, Taylor sparked a strong second-half effort that carried the team to a 39-13 final. The fifth-year back, who recently became the program’s all-time rushing leader, didn’t just make his presence felt on the ground; however, as he also reeled in 50 yards worth of productivity in the air. One of his three catches on the day, meanwhile, went for a touchdown – a catch of the highlight reel variety – which all but sank the Ravens by putting Western up 29-6.
When it came to doing what he does best though, Taylor was his usual productive self, racking up 127 yards on 16 carries as well, bringing his all-purpose total to 177 on the day to help his team gallop into another Yates Cup showdown.
Defence: Mackenzie Ferguson, Western Mustangs
In a game that was filled with takeaways, especially in the opening half, it was Mackenzie Ferguson who proved to be one of the more persistent thorns in Carleton’s side.
The Western defensive back was locked in against Michael Arruda and the Ravens and was able to reel in a pair of interceptions for the Mustangs against their semifinal foes. The effort, which was just one interception shy of his regular season mark of three, was a catalyst to not only get Western’s offence back on the field, but in providing them great field position to capitalize on, as he also took back the picks for a combined 35 yards.
Ferguson was also involved in a tackle for a loss on the day, but his interception-happy ways were the true difference-maker for a team that needed the defensive spark.
Special Teams: Jason Richards, Guelph Gryphons
Special teams heroics are nothing new for Jason Richards. Just two weeks ago, the third-year defensive back ignited the Gryphons by blocking a Waterloo punt and running it in for Guelph’s first touchdown in a 47-44 double overtime thriller that locked up a playoff spot.
Richards showcased that game-changing ability again Saturday with a play that may have not gotten all the notoriety of the team’s game-winning touchdown but was equally critical.
Ottawa was set to take a commanding 24-10 lead on the Gryphons late in the third quarter with what looked like a routine short field goal. But Richards showed the heart that has defined Guelph throughout its playoff run by blocking Raphael Cote’s kick to dramatically swing the momentum of the game. The offence took over in the fourth quarter and the rest is history.
Richards also chipped in two assisted tackles and a fumble recovery while on specials teams duty.