With first-string QB Luke Thompson watching the majority of the game from the sidelines on crutches, the Laurier Golden Hawks football team was barely able to hold off their Waterloo rivals. A game that was predicted to be a blowout, the #9 Hawks stumbled on offense, which almost ended up costing them the game.
A game dominated by turnovers and injuries, the Hawks started off on the right foot. Coming off a disappointing loss at Western last weekend that saw the Hawks almost get shutout, they took an early first-quarter lead after a one-yard rush by Thompson and were in complete control out of the gate. Chris Mamo added a field goal not long afterwards, and things seemed to be rolling according to plan.
Then the Warriors’ magic began. Having just gained one yard of offense in the first 10 minutes, Waterloo’s offensive coordinator Joe Paopao called for an intentional fumble, which was then picked up by a wide receiver and thrown for a huge 75-yard touchdown pass to close the gap.
The second quarter saw more success for the Hawks, beginning with a one-yard touchdown run by Mike Montoya, followed by a 27-yard pass from Thompson to Alex Anthony. With Laurier leading 23-7, things looked to be in control. Unfortunately, however, Thompson went down in the second quarter and left the game, later to be seen on crutches. Taking his place was freshman Evan Pawliuk, who took the Hawks to halftime with a score of 23-9.
The second half saw a huge improvement from the Warriors out of the dressing room. A drive that was led by a big flea flicker play was capped off with a nine-yard run by Matt Socholotiuk. The Warriors continued to press and press but the Laurier defense played strong and did not allow any more points.
Despite aggressive and impressive drives throughout the final quarter being led by Waterloo quarterback Luke Balch, Laurier was able to add two more field goals and allow just one safety, and clinged onto a 29-18 win.
Despite the win, it is obvious things are not looking good for the Hawks. The extent of the injury to Thompson is unknown, as is his return date. In addition, Pawliuk looked shaky, going just seven of 17 for 94 yards, with one interception. This led to tremendous frustration among the Laurier receivers, most notably Shamawd Chambers, who had just three receptions for 21 yards on the day.
A sole bright spot was running back Mike Montoya, who rushed for over 200 yards and continued his great season. Laurier heads to Hamilton next weekend to face Mac, before hosting Ottawa for their homecoming game October 3.