MONTREAL, QC – The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team opened up their 2016 season with a 37-33 loss to the Montreal Carabins in non-conference play on Saturday afternoon at CEPSUM Stadium.
Matching up against the 2015 Vanier Cup finalists, the Golden Hawks put in a strong showing over the opening three quarters of the contest as they held a 27-19 lead over the Carabins heading into the fourth quarter. However, in the final frame, the host team outscored the visitors 18-6 to come away with the narrow victory.
First year receiver Brentyn Hall of Toronto, was the star of the afternoon for the purple and gold as he caught four passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Laurier also received touchdowns from fifth year running back Eric Guiltinan of London, Ont., and defensive back Malcolm Thompson of Windsor, Ont., who returned a fumble 50-yards for the major.
Three different players had touchdowns on the day for Montreal including receiver Louis-Mathieu Normandin of Montreal, who finished with four catches for 128 yards. Samuel Caron of Quebec City, saw the majority of time at quarterback for the Carabins and finished 18-for-26 for 239 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Defensively, second year defensive back Scott Hutter of London, Ont., led the way for Laurier as he had 8.5 total tackles along with an interception. Fourth year linebacker Brandon Calver of London, Ont., also had an interception while defensive linemen Jalen Price of Hamilton, and Kwaku Boateng of Milton, Ont., recorded a sack each.
The game was an opportunity for head coach Michael Faulds to audition players at two key positions that were left vacant at the end of 2015 due to graduation. Under centre, quarterbacks Julien John of Oakville, Ont., and Michael Knevel of Brantford, Ont., performed extremely well. John completed seven of nine passes for 140 yards and a touchdown while Knevel was 9-for-13 for 108 yards and a touchdown. Neither player threw an interception in the contest.
In the running game, it was a committee of individuals who picked up the slack left by Dillon Campbell. Guiltinan got the majority of the carries as he had nine for 23 yards along with his touchdown. Second year back Levondre Gordon of Mississauga, Ont., also had five carries for 19 yards. In total, 10 players ran 27 times for 109 yards.
The Hawks will now turn their attention towards the regular season as they get set for their home opener on Sunday, August 28 against the Queen’s Gaels. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at University Stadium.