The Wilfrid Laurier University football team’s late rally came up short as they failed to tame the No. 6 nationally-ranked Guelph Gryphons 30-19 Monday afternoon. After being down 20-3 at half, the Hawks would push hard in the third and fourth quarters, but were unable to push back a pesky and strong Gryphon defence.
“Just execution. The guys know their assignments and everything, we just weren’t executing,” head coach Michael Faulds said on what he felt went wrong. “It’s like, you need 12 guys in football to do the job and it was like one player each time was doing the job and not executing.”
Both teams came out strong, leading to a tight and low-scoring affair between the two squads. The Gryphons would strike first, taking an early 5-0 lead on a conceded safety and field goal. The Gryphons would take control of the first half to take an early 20-3 at half.
It was not until halfway through the third when momentum seemed to shift. After starting quarterback James Fracas was carried off the field with what seemed to be a lower body injury, the Hawks offence fired up. Faulds said backup Chase Malcolm felt comfortable stepping into the pocket while Fracas was on the sidelines.
“It’s not an easy position to be in, you don’t know if your name is going to be called,” Faulds said. “All week I told him ‘We’re walking wounded at quarterback and he need to be ready as the third guy to get your name called’ so I’m happy with how he went in there, he didn’t really get any warm up throws and he got thrown into the fire so we all got to improve and he’s one who’s gotta improve too.”
The momentum also shifted in the form of Marcus Arkarakas, who registered 48 receiving yards in the third quarter.
“Yeah, Marcus is a really consistent receiver for us. That first drive in the third quarter he made a nice catch to get us down into the red zone after the turnover, so he’s just a tough, hard-nosed football player,” Faulds said.
Fifth-year Dillon Campbell also had another strong outing, picking up 171 all-purpose yards, with 104 receiving yards and 67 rushing yards. After Guelph stymied the running game early, Campbell became a threat as a receiver, taking advantage of screen passes to help move the offence.
Laurier drops to 1-1 to open the season and will prepare for their season opener as they welcome the Western Mustangs to University Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 12.
The Hawks will prepare for their season opener as they welcome the Western Mustangs to University Stadium this Saturday. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.