Laurier football weekly update

20170916 - Kha Vo - Laurier Football vs QU-123Golden Hawk alumni & friends of the football program,

It was a hot and humid game day in Kingston with the humidex above 30, but our players were not fazed by it and played an excellent four quarters of football.

After trailing for the first time this season, in the second quarter, we buckled down in all phases and never looked back, coming away with a big road victory 40-17. Game recap and video here.

Balance was again the key with identical 40 passing attempts and 40 rushing attempts, which helped us gain 34 first downs and 584 total yards.

We were led on offence by some fantastic quarterback play from Michael Knevel. Michael finished the game with a whopping 421 yards passing, going 29 of 40 and four touchdown passes. He really spread the ball around nicely; Kurleigh Gittens Jr. had nine receptions for 147 yards and two TD’s, Brentyn Hall had eight receptions for 111 yards and a TD, Daniel Bennett had eight receptions for 80 yards and Brendan McCracken had three receptions for 49 yards and a TD.

On the ground, both Levondre Gordon and Osayi Iginuan gained chunks of yards. Levondre had 19 carries for 93 yards and Osayi had 11 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown.

All of Queen’s 17 points came in the first half and our defence absolutely shut them down in the second. Queen’s was limited to just 241 yards on the day and ran a total of just 57 offensive plays.

The defensive front really put pressure on the quarterback and sacked him eight times on the afternoon. Defensive end Robbie Smith led the way with 4.5 sacks. This breaks his friend and current Edmonton Eskimos defensive end Kwaku Boateng’s single game Laurier sack record of 4, which he’s held since 2014.

Other defensive lineman getting sacks were Rashari Henry, Alfred Green, Sam Acheampong and Trevaughan James.

In the secondary, we forced the Queen’s quarterback into less than 50% completions and defensive back Scott Hutter came up with a big interception to open up the fourth quarter, which led to another touchdown.

Special Teams
Kicker Nathan Mesher put his name into the Laurier record books with a 52 yard field goal with no time left on the clock in the first half. The record was previously held by Toronto Argonauts kicker Ronnie Pfeffer, who nailed a 50 yarder back in 2014. Nathan also made good on a field goal from 30 yards away.

Our cover units were very good and rookie linebacker Daniel Fitzgerald recovered a fumble in the second half. In the return game, there wasn’t a lot of open field available for our returners, but Carson Ouellette and Kurleigh Gittens Jr. made the most of their opportunities. Carson hadseven returns for 42 yards and Kurleigh had four returns for 44 yards.

Next Up
There is a buzz in Kitchener-Waterloo as this week’s Battle of Waterloo sees us sitting at 3-0 and heading across the street to 4-0 Waterloo. Waterloo is a much improved team under Head Coach Chris Bertoia and, offensively, they are putting up a lot of points this year. Our players will be extremely focused all week and will be ready for this great challenge on the road.

Hot Topic
This past week, the CFL announced that there will be no contact in practices going forward and this has definitely created a huge splash in the media. Since this decision, we have been asked on many occasions by media, alumni and friends of the program what we do, so I thought that this newsletter is the perfect avenue to share our philosophy and thoughts on the topic.

Since our staff first got together in January 2013 we have not had one single full tackle practice. In fact, we do not allow tackling – period. The game of football has changed greatly over the years with players getting bigger, stronger and faster. As a coach, you want your players to be as healthy as possible when you get to game day. The healthiest teams at the end of the year are usually the ones holding the fancy trophies, so to lose players in practice because the coaches decided to go full contact is just silly.

I will add (and, again, this is my opinion), that this public announcement by the CFL is also a bit of a pat on the back to garner some positive attention. Any of you that have been to a CFL practice (and our staff has been to many over the years), will notice that they also never tackle. This has been common practice in the CFL for years and this announcement will change very little about practices going forward.

I would guess that, since about 2010, tackling in practices at both the university and professional level has been almost extinct. Movies like Rudy, The Program and Any Given Sunday are so entrenched in all of our minds that we think this is how football is played.

No. Football is a highly skilled sport with more time spent in the meeting rooms going over film and data trying to execute the coaches systems, rather then being out on the field trying to knock each other over.

These student-athletes spend the whole year now focusing on this one sport (no more multiple sport athletes like the 50’s to 90’s) and getting their bodies and minds ready for that short 3 ½ month season from August to November.

Once again, our practices are always open and we would love to have you on our sideline to see how we conduct practice. Thank you for your keen interest on this topic. Our student-athlete’s safety is at the forefront of our coach’s daily decision making.

Here’s what is happening:

Queen’s game photos

Players of the Week
Offence: REC Kurleigh Gittens Jr.

Defence: DE Robbie Smith

Special Teams: LB Daniel Fitzgerald


HawkTalk podcast with Isaiah Messam and Godfrey Onyeka

Hawks remain at #5 in latest USports ranking

Markus Arkarakas – transition from player to coach

Legacy Fund – $376,386 and counting!
The time is now to help us have sustained success!

2017 Laurier Football Adopt-A-Hawk – $16,962 and counting!
We still have many players yet to be adopted. Please consider adopting one of our players today:

Get your Tickets!
Remaining home schedule:

  • Western – September 30th 1pm [Homecoming]
  • McMaster – October 21st 1pm

Tickets for all home games on sale

Until next week, go Hawks go!


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