For Coach Gary Jeffries and the 2011 Laurier football team, this season has been a roller coaster ride of emotions.
After dominating their season opener on the road against York with a decisive 46-7 win, they had lost their next three contests to Windsor, Queen’s and Western. The final two losses, although disappointing, are not overly surprising since both Queen’s and Western are two of the top ranked teams in the nation, with Western remaining undefeated through 6 weeks.
Losing to the Windsor Lancers on a last second rouge, however, was a devastating loss that may have left a seed of doubt in the Golden Hawks’ minds, as well as in the minds of their fans.
The Golden Hawks would not win another game after their season opener as they entered the month of October with a dismal 1-3 record. With homecoming right around the corner and the 3-1 Ottawa Gee-Gees lurking, it looked as if the Golden Hawk’s postseason dreams had faded away.
Laurier shocked the analysts, however, and picked up a convincing 51-16 victory against Ottawa and followed that up with a 69-3 annihilation of the Waterloo Warriors this past Thursday to even their record at 3-3.
When asked at what point in the season he saw his squad beginning to turn it around, Jeffries was quick to explain it was before the winning streak.
“I think the energy right from the Western game on, our confidence is certainly starting to build. It is apparent in how we practice. In terms of excitement, there is a tremendous amount as well as a large amount of anticipation.” said Jeffries.
That excitement and anticipation carried onto the field at the battle of Waterloo, where the Golden Hawks had a whopping 658 net offensive yards to complement their 9 touchdowns, 4 of which were thrown by quarterback Shane Kelly. That victory, which brought along the 4th single highest point total in team history, was the second straight game, and victory, in which Jeffries and the Hawks were using an adjusted defensive scheme, one that was more restricted and conservative.
“We play a dangerous style (of football). A risk, reward style, so we had to tone it down a bit. The real wake up call was down in Kingston [Queen’s]. We didn’t play well so we changed some things defensively and tightened up.”
Jeffries has said that this is the point of the season where he has got to keep the team mentally sharp, in hopes to compete once again in the OUA playoffs.
Next up for the Golden Hawks is the second place McMaster Marauders, whose record stands at 5-1. When asked if he or his team think they can make the playoffs in 2011, Jeffries pauses to answer a question he no doubt has had to answer every week since the start of the season.
And his response seems rehearsed and to the point, an answer from a man who is thinking about the next game on the schedule, not the end of the season.
“I said August 21 when we came to camp, we’ve got talent. We’ve got to keep building on what we’ve done and we have to think about picking (our opponents) off one at a time.”
With two games remaining on the schedule, at home against McMaster then on the road facing Guelph, the Laurier Golden Hawks are in tough to make the playoffs this year. They will have to keep the winning streak going, a streak that will be put to the test this Saturday at University Stadium.

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