Golden Hawks fail to make playoffs for first time since 2013 following 46-13 loss to Mustangs
LONDON, ON – For the first time since 2013, and just the second time in the last 21 years, the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s football team failed to advance to the OUA playoffs as they lost 46-13 to the No. 1 Western Mustangs on Saturday afternoon at TD Stadium.
Needing a win over the Mustangs, or victories by Queen’s and Waterloo to advance, nothing went the way of the purple and gold on Saturday afternoon.
Laurier was able to keep the game close through three quarters of play, using a great defensive effort and forcing some key turnovers as they trailed 25-13.
However, after Ottawa and Guelph won their games, the Hawks were forced to take risks on offence. Those risks turned into turnovers on downs which the Mustangs converted into points as Laurier saw their season come to an end.
Rookie quarterback Connor Carusello of Caledonia, Ont., making his third career start, finished the game 26-for-42 for 217 yards and a touchdown while throwing two interceptions.
His favourite target on the day was Brentyn Hall of Toronto, who made eight catches for 55 yards and a touchdown. Running back Levondre Gordon of Mississauga, Ont., added 56 yards on 15 carries on the ground.
Defensively, Laurier forced three turnovers as Malcolm Thompson of Windsor, Ont., and Tommy Bringi of London, Ont., recovered fumbles. The other turnover came courtesy of Will Amoah of Kitchener, Ont., who recorded his fifth interception of the season, finishing the year two shy of Laurier’s single-season.
Thompson also finished the contest with a team-high 6.5 tackles.
For Western, despite Laurier containing their vaunted run game, the Mustangs still managed three scores on the ground, led by quarterback Chris Merchant of Calgary, who ran for two majors and a team-high 97 yards.
Merchant added 251 yards through the air and two touchdowns, both to Harry McMaster of Niagara Falls, Ont., who finished the game with seven catches for 160 yards.
GOING OUT IN STYLE?
– kicker Nathan Mesher of Waterloo, Ont., set and tied school records in the final game of the season. His two field goals gave him 18 for the season, equaling the school record also held by Ronnie Pfeffer. The two kicks also move him past Pfeffer for first on Laurier’s career list, giving him 55 in his four seasons.
– Gordon finishes the season with 805 yards, giving him 2332 for his career with the Hawks, passing Jim Reid for sixth on Laurier’s all-time list
IN THEIR WORDS – Michael Faulds
On how the season played out
“Obviously, it was a disappointing year. No one expected our season to end on October 20th. No one will talk about how close our losses were or how many guys we lost to injuries, it’s simply did we win or did we lose. We had chances this year to win a lot of football games outside of the one today. The message to the young guys is we just continue on and fight the battle and to recognize our seniors who have given us a tremendous four or five years.”