WATERLOO, ON – For the first time since 2002, the No. 4 Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team suffered a defeat at the hands of their University Ave. rivals as they lost 34-32 to the Waterloo Warriors on Saturday at University Stadium.
In a back-and-forth contest, the Golden Hawks and Warriors put on an offensive display for the 1,736 fans in attendance on a hot and sunny afternoon. Combining for over 1150 yards of offence, the two squads breathed life into a rivalry that was in need of a boost after the Hawks had posted 14 consecutive wins over the black and gold.
After falling behind early, Laurier quarterback Tristan Arndt of London, Ont., found his big weapons in the receiving core as a pair of majors from Brentyn Hall of Toronto, and another from Kurleigh Gittens Jr. of Ottawa, had the Hawks in front 22-17 at the break.
A Levondre Gordon (Mississauga, Ont.) touchdown midway through the third quarter extended Laurier’s lead to 12 but from that point on, the Warriors took over.
Waterloo’s next possession saw them go 15 plays and 92 yards in almost eight minutes and although it only resulted in a field goal, gave the visitors the momentum.
Following a Nathan Mesher (Waterloo, Ont.) field goal, Dion Pellerin of Abbotsford, B.C., found the endzone with a short touchdown run to cut the Hawks’ lead to five.
Then, with Laurier leading 32-27 late in the fourth quarter, Waterloo quarterback Tre Ford of Niagara Falls, Ont., hit Tyler Ternowski of Hamilton, over the middle for an 88-yard touchdown, vaulting the Warriors into the lead.
Laurier had a pair of opportunities to even the score but time ran out on the hosts as they fell to 2-1 on the season while Waterloo moved to 3-1.
– Arndt had a career day for the Hawks as he finished the game 20-for-32 for 417 yards, a new career high, and three touchdowns. He also added 46 yards on the ground
– Gittens Jr. and Hall both had over 100 yards receiving on the day with Gittens Jr. finishing with 144 yards while Hall had 123
– Ford had another impressive afternoon for the Warriors, finishing the game 26-for-35 for 472 yards and three majors while adding 88 yards rushing
– Ternowski was the big target again for his quarterback, hauling in 10 catches for 251 yards
THE GITTENS JR. SHOW
– with his 29-yard kickoff return to open the game, Gittens Jr. moved into first all-time in Laurier’s record books with 1008 yards, passing Will Pitt-Doe’s previous mark of 982 yards
– Gittens Jr.’s 144 receiving yards vaulted him past both Andrew Baechler and Joe Nastasiuk into second on Laurier’s career list. His 2326 yards now trails only Stefan Ptaszek’s 3126 yards for first place all-time in team history
COACH’S QUOTES – Michael Faulds
Overall thoughts on the game
“We knew it was going to be a hard fought game and that we were going to get Waterloo’s best. They were the better team today and the better coached team. They have a talented quarterback and a great receiving corps.”
Lessons learned from the loss
“The Yates Cup and the Vanier Cup aren’t decided on September 15th so we’re going to find out how we’re going to respond. Adversity isn’t a bad thing, we’ve faced it before and we have the type of leaders and coaching staff that are just going to work that much harder going forward.”
The road doesn’t get any easier for Laurier as they head to Hamilton next Saturday to take on the McMaster Marauders (2-2). Kick off is set for 1 p.m. at Ron Joyce Stadium.