TORONTO, ON – Looking for a bounce-back effort heading into their Thanksgiving long weekend, the Golden Hawks offence feasted on the York Lions in a 53-31 win under the lights in Toronto.
Having experienced multiple offensive season-lows in their Homecoming loss against Western – scoring output among them – the team rebounded for their fifth win of the season with a number of highs against the OUA’s worst defence.
At the forefront was quarterback Michael Knevel’s career-best five passing touchdowns and 431 yards through the air on just 29 attempts. The Brantford native’s most frequent target on the night was, once again, Kurleigh Gittens Jr. – who parlayed his record-tying reception effort against Western with a career-high 210 receiving yards.
Gittens Jr.’s numbers were boosted with touchdowns of 80 and 75 yards that came in the second and third quarter, respectively.
It was his battery-mate on the opposite side of the field who would record the first touchdown catch of the game though.
Brentyn Hall (Torono, ON) capped Laurier’s second drive of the game with a 17-yard snag in the end zone after running back Levondre Gordon began the scoring for Laurier just 2:13 into the ballgame.
After recording a rouge off a Nathan Mesher (Waterloo, ON) kick and conceding a passing touchdown to the Hunchak-brothers connection (Colton to Brett), the Hawks headed into the halftime break having just executed the first of Gitten’s Jr.’s deep catches.
The start of the second half saw Gordon record his second rushing touchdown of the game, marking the third time this season that he has had a pair in a game. Additionally, Gordon would eventually eclipse the century-mark for the third straight game, collecting 124 yards despite only carrying the ball 12 times.
Despite those numbers being posted, it was the 17 points recorded in the third quarter by the Lions (outscoring the Hawks’ 14) that made the fourth quarter a lot more interesting than perhaps it should have been.
A response to Gordon’s scoring play in the form of a Kadeem Hemmings 96-yard touchdown return on the ensuing kick-off. Gittens Jr.’s second touchdown catch was bookended by a Dante Mastrogiuseppe field goal and a run to pay-dirt by the aforementioned Brett Hunchak.
Despite the Lions offence being permitted to heat-up, they would be completely extinguished in the fourth quarter as Head Coach Warren Craney’s team were limited to only Colton Hunchak’s second passing touchdown of the game.
To secure the victory, the Hawks would add 17 more points – which included Daniel Bennett’s third receiving touchdown in as many games.
At the end of the night, the 627 yards of total yards for the Golden Hawks was a season-high.
Currently holding-on to second place in the OUA despite being tied with McMaster at 5-1, Laurier will now head to Guelph looking to secure their hold on a first-round playoff bye with a win over the Gryphons.
It won’t come easy though as the Hawks have lost the last two trips down Highway 7 and four of the last five match-ups overall.
Kick-off is set for 1pm and will be live on OUA.tv.