GUELPH, ON – Two costly fourth quarter interceptions cost the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team an opportunity to knock off the nationally-ranked Guelph Gryphons on Monday afternoon as they lost 30-19 on the road.
Trailing 30-17 early in the fourth quarter, quarterback James Fracas of Waterloo, Ont., drove the Golden Hawks into the red zone on back-to-back possessions. However, each time the drives ended in the hands of Gryphons defensive back Nicholas Parisotto of Guelph, Ont., as No. 6 Guelph held on for the victory.
“In the end it came down to execution,” stated head coach Michael Faulds after the game. “The guys know their assignments but we just weren’t executing. It took us until basically the third quarter until we got it rolling offensively and that’s too late against a good football team like Guelph.”
“They are the number six team in the country and we stuck with them for four quarters,” added Fracas, who was making his first start of the season after missing Week 1 due to injury. “Our defence really kept us in the game and then our offence started clicking but our offence really needs to step up and start off from the first snap of the game.”
Defence was the name of the game for both teams on a scorching hot afternoon at Alumni Stadium, with the game-time temperature sitting at 31 degrees, but feeling like 39. For the Hawks, they limited a team that scored 78 points in their opener to just 30 off of two touchdowns, four field goals and a safety. Leading the way for Laurier was defensive back Ronald Kinga of Guelph, Ont., who 5.5 tackles along with an impressive forced fumble and fumble recovery in the second quarter when he ripped the ball out of the hands of Guelph’s A’Dre Fraser (Halifax) inside Laurier’s five yard line.
“Our defence is a testament to our coaching staff and the players on this team,” stated Kinga after the game. “One of our motto’s is bend but don’t break. You always want to keep stuff in front of you and that’s what our coaching staff always talks to us about.”
Meanwhile, the Gryphons held Laurier in check until late in the contest, highlighted by the two Parisotto interceptions, as well as limiting Hawks running back Dillon Campbell of Whitby, Ont., to just 67 yards and one touchdown on the ground. For Campbell, that ended a streak of 10-consecutive games that he had rushed for over 100 yards. However, Laurier’s offence still found a way for him to get the ball as he finished the day with 104 receiving yards on seven catches, the first time in his career he’s accomplished the feat.
Offensively, receivers Jacob Scarfone of London, Ont., and Fraser led Guelph. Both players finished the day with over 100 yards receiving, highlighted by eight catches for 137 yards and a touchdown for Scarfone.
The Gryphons other touchdown came on the ground courtesy of third-string running back Daniel Palmer-Salmon of Brampton, Ont. Starting back Johnny Augustine of Welland, Ont., finished the day with 71 yards on 13 attempts.
For Laurier, outside of Campbell’s 171 all-purpose yards, the Hawks received contributions from Carson Ouellette of Windsor, Ont., and Daniel Bennett of Scarborough, Ont. Ouellette had 82 yards on eight catches while Bennett, making his first career CIS start, had five catches for 62 yards and a touchdown
Fracas finished 32-for-45 for 318 yards and a touchdown but threw three interceptions on the day.
Up next for Laurier, they return home to University Stadium where they will host the No. 3 Western Mustangs for their home opener on Saturday, September 12. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
NOTES: Campbell’s fourth quarter touchdown was the 21st of his career, moving him into a tie for seventh all-time at Laurier with former running backs Justin Praamsma and Nick Cameron…after failing to record a sack in Week 1, the Hawks got to Roberts three times on Monday with Nakas Onyeka of Brampton, Ont., Noah Usherwood of Vancouver, B.C., and Anthony Petrucci of Sarnia, Ont., bringing the Gryphons quarterback down…the Golden Hawks have now lost four consecutive games to the Gryphons dating back to the 2011 season…veterans Asante Mizan of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Tanner Philp of Burlington, Ont., returned to the lineup for Laurier after missing Week 1