On a beautiful fall afternoon at TD Waterhouse stadium, the Western Mustangs were set to host the Laurier Golden Hawks in the 109th Yates Cup.
The Laurier Golden Hawks defeated the the McMaster Marauders in their semi-final matchup to advance to the Yates Cup, while the Mustangs handily defeated the Carleton Ravens to stamp their ticket to finals.
The Mustangs wasted little time in this one, as they were able to score a touchdown after a nice kickoff return by Mackenzie Ferguson and then a run into the end zone by Alex Taylor.
They quickly added on to their lead with a field goal to make it 10-0 in favour of the home side early.
The Golden Hawks were able to get a field goal of their own before the end of the quarter as the Mustangs lead 10-3 after one.
Early on in the second quarter, the two teams exchanged field goals to make in 13-6 before Godfrey Onyeka was able to pick off Mustangs quarterback Chris Merchant.
Laurier was able to score a touchdown and tie the game at 13.
Laurier would add two more field goals before the end of the half to lead it 19-13 as the teams headed to the locker rooms.
The Mustangs came out to start the second half flying with a quick touchdown from George Johnson to re-take the lead.
They didn’t stop there, as Taylor would score two more touchdowns in the third quarter to put the Mustangs up 33-19.
The Mustangs added one more touchdown early in the fourth quarter to make it 40-19.
With eight minutes left in the quarter, Laurier’s Brentyn Hall made a nice grab in the end zone and Laurier was able to make it 40-26.
The Hawks defence was able to stand tall and stop the Mustangs from getting more first down and gave their offence a chance to comeback.
The Hawks added another touch down courtesy of Carson Ouellette and things were starting to get interesting with the Western lead down to seven, with less than three minutes to go.
Western was trying their best to slow down the clock and hold on to their lead, but the Laurier defence was making things difficult for the Mustangs offence.
The pressure forced a Western fumble by Taylor and the Golden Hawks recovered the ball on Western’s 3-yard line.
Laurier quarterback, Michael Knevel found Kurleigh Gittens Jr. in the end zone and the Golden Hawks had come back to tie the game after being down by 21 points.
On Western’s next possession, they failed to get a first down and the ball was back in Laurier offence’s hands.
The Laurier offence was charging downfield, led by Levondre Gordon, and were only in need of a field goal to take the lead with less than a minute on the clock.
The Hawks were able to get some first downs and were standing on the Western 14-yard line before they killed the clock down to 0.9 seconds in the game.
Laurier kicker, Nathan Mesher, took the field with all eyes on him.
Mesher’s 25-yard field goal was successful and the Laurier bench erupted and charged the field.
The Laurier Golden Hawks were the 109th Yates Cup Champions.
Head coach, Michael Faulds, was extremely pleased with the comeback but was already looking forward to the task at hand.
“Obviously this is the one team we’ve never beaten, so it feels absolutely phenomenal … I’m the type of guy that I’m already moving on to Laval, so I want to prep for them tonight,” he said.
Michael Knevel was also named the Dalt White trophy winner and the Porter Airlines player of the game. He was at a loss for words after the game.
“It’s totally surreal. It’s crazy,” he said.
Kwaku Boateng was quick to praise the play of his quarterback.
“We always knew Knevel could do this. Since we saw him in first-year we all knew he had the skill set and once he figured out the systems and the playbook he would lead us to a Yates Cup.”
With the win under their belt and the Yates Cup in their possession, the Golden Hawks will now travel to the Uteck Bowl in Quebec City to take on the Laval Rouge et Or on November 19 in the national semi-finals.