The Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team was hoping that their game against rival Western Mustangs this Saturday was going to be a fresh start.
After starting 1-2, including embarrassing losses to Queens and Windsor, the previously ranked Golden Hawks were looking to bounce back on track.
Instead, their season continued to spiral in the wrong direction.
Laurier lost to the second-ranked Mustangs 34-28 in front of a packed crowd at home on a gorgeous day for football.
Mustangs’ running back Tyler Varga paced Western with 3 touchdowns, raising his CIS leading total to twelve touchdowns on the year.
Laurier was in the game early, with the score tied at 21 at halftime.
Golden Hawks wide receiver Dillon Heap had a huge game in the loss, racking up 176 receiving yards, the third highest single-game total ever for a Laurier receiver. For good measure, Heap also scored the games opening touchdown off of a 63-yard punt return.
But all of the nice weather and purple-and-gold clad students could not come together to propel the Golden Hawks to victory, as the Mustangs took control of the game early in the second half en route to thirteen unanswered points, and helping the Mustangs finish the game with a 6 point win.
The Golden Hawks will now look ahead to next week’s homecoming matchup against the Ottawa Gee Gees.
The game will prove to be another tough matchup for the Golden Hawks, as Ottawa comes in sporting a 3-1 record, coming off of a 41-0 rout of Toronto in their own homecoming game.
Before the season, Laurier was a team that could picture themselves with a 3-1 record, ranked as high as 8th in the country. It’s been a season of disappointment though, and the underachieving Hawks know they can be better.
The season started off on the right foot with a fairly easy test against York, a game they won 46-7. Week 2 held in store a surprise that shocked many around the CIS football world, as the lowly Windsor Lancers came from behind to defeat the Hawks 41-40.
That game should have served as a wake-up call for Laurier, but instead they followed it up with another lackluster performance at Queens, where the Gaels trounced the Hawks 58-35.
The eight touchdowns given up by the Hawks was the most in school history, and was certainly a low point for a team that entered the season with high expectations but is suddenly facing the possibility of being on the outside looking in when the playoffs come around.
Then came the matchup with Western and now, with a 1-3 record, Laurier will virtually have to run the table if they hope to see the postseason.
Unfortunately for Laurier, in their four remaining games they have to face both Ottawa and McMaster, two OUA powers. Sprinkle in a matchup with the also underachieving but still dangerous Guelph Gryphons and the climb is certainly uphill for the Hawks from this point on.
The common sport cliché is to take it one game at a time. By that overused and asinine statement, (seriously, you still have to win 4 games no matter, do it one at a time if you like) next week’s homecoming matchup with Ottawa will carry even more tension and excitement than the average homecoming.