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     The number 13 has always had superstition attached to it, especially so in the sports world.  When I was growing up, hardly any athletes in any of the major sports dared to don that number. Notable exceptions were Wilt Chamberlain, Dan Marino, Mats Sundin, and  former Hawk Mario Villamizar who is now a member of the British Columbia Lions.  In today’s episode, I reached out to a number of former Hawks and asked them to describe to me their specific game day superstitions and/or rituals.  The results were very entertaining!

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Hugh Lawson excelled as a defensive linemen for the Hawks from 1988 to 1992. He was a three time OUA All Star and a key member of the 1991 National Championship team. In the summer of 2014, I had just helped my girlfriend move from Milton to Markham. I stopped into a Harvey’s to pick us up some lunch and there was a guy there in line near me. We eyed each other for a couple of minutes, both seemingly recognizing each other, but not really sure. I was not 100% certain it was Hugh because his shirt wasn’t exposing his abs! As he later told me, “Hey, when you’ve got it, flaunt it!”  He also told me that I looked exactly the same as I did in university, which is a sure sign of how nice a guy Hugh is, or perhaps, it’s a sign of post- concussion syndrome. I was a year ahead of Hugh at WLU and although we didn’t know each other back then, we did see each other in the weight room quite often. I am not sure which one of us broke the ice that day in the Harvey’s, but since then I have had the pleasure of talking to Hugh a few times over the last half dozen years. He was gracious enough to be the source of this column.

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For this episode’s edition, I asked a number of coaches on the Hawks staff to briefly relay to me the most bizarre play that they have ever been involved in. For me, it was a semifinal game in 2003 for a high school team I coached. We trailed 14 to 13 with 1 second left. We had used about 4 or 5 kickers that year and the guy who debuted as our kicker the previous week was actually one of our starting linebackers. During the game, he had missed two easy field goals and there was a botched extra point that wasn’t his fault. Now, it was down to the last play of the game and an attempt from about 30 yards. The field goal attempt was wide. The other team punted the ball out to avoid giving up a single point which would have tied the game. Our guy, future University of Western & CFL lineman Chris Greaves caught it and was immediately tackled. Game over right?  WRONG!  A no yards penalty was called. So, our kicker got a 2nd try from closer. The exact same thing happened again! On his 3rd attempt, the kicker was successful.  He was 1 for 5 on the day and he ended up being the hero!

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Laurier Football scout Dave Morrissey has spent his time in quarantine reaching out to and catching up with former Golden Hawk Football alumni. The result was a series of interviews with notable members of our Laurier Football community, which Dave was kind enough to share with us.

Matt Fischer played offensive line for Laurier in 2011 and 2012. Chris Reddy played offensive line for WLU from 2013 to 2017. Not everyone knows it, but those 2 guys are brothers. Matt got married to his wonderful wife Esthera last summer. It was a great event that I had the privilege to attend. They have a beautiful daughter named Lily who just turned 2. Chris is in the process of becoming a fire fighter. He is also a talented musician. In today’s column, we will try to solve a debate that has challenged the minds of many football pundits: who was better?

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Laurier Football scout Dave Morrissey has spent his time in quarantine reaching out to and catching up with former Golden Hawk Football alumni. The result was a series of interviews with notable members of our Laurier Football community, which Dave was kind enough to share with us.

Ese Mrabure-Ajufo was a force on the defensive line for the Hawks from 2011 to 2014.  An OUA All Star in his senior year, he was the fifth overall pick in the 2015 CFL draft by the British Columbia Lions. Currently a free agent looking for a new team, he has found his current joy in spending time with his new daughter Imani.

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Laurier Football scout Dave Morrissey has spent his time in quarantine reaching out to and catching up with former Golden Hawk Football alumni. The result was a series of interviews with notable members of our Laurier Football community, which Dave was kind enough to share with us.

In my senior year of high school football, our head coach thought we needed an upgrade in a few areas, so he convinced a guard, a linebacker, and a QB from 3 rival schools to transfer to ND. The QB was Tim Bisci. We were a running team and he was fast as lightening and a very effective option quarterback.  At Laurier, he was immediately converted to a defensive back.  He was a two time OUA All Star, a key member of the 1991 Vanier Cup championship team, and a WLU Hall of Fame inductee in 2003. Moreover, he has been a very successful high school coach at Notre Dame in Welland for two decades.

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staceycoray

Laurier Football scout Dave Morrissey has spent his time in quarantine reaching out to and catching up with former Golden Hawk Football alumni. The result was a series of interviews with notable members of our Laurier Football community, which Dave was kind enough to share with us.

In 1970, Stacey Coray and Roan Kane became the first black players to play for WLU (they were joined by Howard Masters a year later). I was able to track down Mr. Coray for an interview. Coray was a defensive back who played for 3 years before moving on to the CFL and then a very successful career. He was kind enough to spend an hour with me reminiscing about his father, his playing days, and his life now. Interestingly enough, he was on his way to visit his father, and that was the subject of my 1st question.

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Laurier Football scout Dave Morrissey has spent his time in quarantine reaching out to and catching up with former Golden Hawk Football alumni. The result was a series of interviews with notable members of our Laurier Football community, which Dave was kind enough to share with us.

Other than perhaps the goaltender in hockey or soccer, no position in team sports is so full of pressure than the kicker in football. They sit on the sideline the majority of the game and when they do come in for a field goal or an extra point, they are expected to be perfect. For punts, they are expected to bomb one every time. Today we talk to six of Laurier’s former kickers:  Chris Mamo, Spiros Anastasakis, Ed Becker, Brian Devlin, Ronnie Pfeffer, and Nathan Mesher.

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