WATERLOO, ON – The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team got two first-half touchdowns from running back Levondre Gordon as they rolled to a 39-21 victory over the Ottawa Gee-Gees in their home opener on Sunday afternoon at University Stadium.
The victory is Laurier’s (1-0) fourth in a row over the Gee-Gees (0-1) in a streak that dates back to the 2011 season.
Gordon, a native of Mississauga, Ont., found the endzone with the game’s opening score and then ran in a 21-yard major late in the first half to give Laurier a 23-7 lead at the break.
Reigning OUA MVP Kurleigh Gittens Jr. of Ottawa, had a strong game against his hometown team as he racked up 188 all-purpose yards, including 129 yards on eight receptions.
As a team, the Hawks’ attack was balanced across the board, putting up 218 yards of offence through the air while adding 219 yards on the ground.
Tristan Park of Oshawa, Ont., and Dylan St. Pierre of Ottawa, both found the endzone for the Gee-Gees in the second half but were unable to overcome the 16-point deficit they faced at halftime.
– Gordon finished the game with 109 yards on the ground while his two rushing touchdowns gives him 16 for his Golden Hawks career, moving him into a tie for fifth on Laurier’s all-time list with Bryon Hickey, Randy Rybansky and Ryan Lynch
– Gittens Jr. became just the fourth Golden Hawk to surpass 2000 career yards with his performance Sunday as he now sits at 2004 for his career, 258 yards behind Andy Baechler for third on Laurier’s all-time list
– quarterback Tristan Arndt of London, Ont., making his third career start, finished the game 17-of-26 through the air for 218 yards and one touchdown along with one interception
– defensive back Will Amoah of Kitchener, Ont., led Laurier’s defensive effort as he recorded 3.5 tackles while recording his first career interception late in the third quarter.
– linebacker Abed Hamidi of Ottawa, led Ottawa’s defensive effort posting a game-high eight total tackles along with a pass breakup
– quarterback Alex Lavric of Mississauga, Ont., finished the game 15-of-34 for 250 yards and two touchdowns along with one interception
COACH’S QUOTES – Michael Faulds
On performance in opening game of the regular season
“Yeah, first games are always tough, especially when you play a team for only the second time in six years so we weren’t familiar with them at all. Admittedly, there’s a lot to clean up which is okay because you never expect to play perfect football week one. We have a lot to improve before our game next week against Queen’s.”
On the play of playmakers Gordon and Gittens Jr.
“For Levondre, I thought his speed was back to where it was two years ago. Last year, he was hampered by a hamstring and he didn’t quite have that burst. Today he did and you saw that in the first half as he rushed for over 100 yards. I think they [Ottawa] did a good bracketing Kurleigh but his first big play was a long punt return that set up a touchdown and then he found a way to make some big catches after that.”
On the defence’s play against an unfamiliar opponent
“Ottawa has a lot of speed at receiver and their QB can throw it pretty far. We were pretty fortunate on a couple of throws that the wind took it away from the receivers. Overall, I’m happy with the D. They hung in there and made a lot of good plays as our offence settled for field goals. The D-line put pressure on their offence and Will Amoah had a big-time interception.”
Laurier hits the road for the first time in the 2018 season next Sunday, September 2, as they face the Queen’s Gaels (1-0) at Richardson Stadium in Kingston.