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Volume 91, Issue 41

Tuesday, November 11, 1997



Waterloo dominates Yates Cup

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
AT LEAST IT WASN'T THE SOAP THAT I DROPPED THIS TIME. Punt returner Raymond Krumme [25] was one of many Mustangs who failed to get a handle on the ball and the game-plan during Saturday's Yates Cup.

By Ian Ross

Gazette Staff

When the dust settled after Saturday's gridiron clash, Waterloo Warrior running back Jarrett Smith took both the game ball and the school's first-ever Yates Cup, back to Waterloo after a convincing 30-10 victory over Western.

Although Western was able to collect strong total yardage stats (342 yards), they were unable to hold onto the ball in key situations. In total, the offence gave up seven turnovers including two interceptions to Warrior defensive back Tory Locker, who ran the pair back for a combined 73 yards.

"Michael [O'Brien] had an interception early in the third quarter that bothered him and caused him to lose focus," Mustang head coach Larry Haylor said. "After that the rest were window-dressing in an attempt to get back into the game quickly. That can be expected sometimes."

Falling behind early in the game, Western panicked in the second half and was unable to kick-start their explosive running game, collecting only 165 total yards on the ground.

"We couldn't make our running game a part of our threat because the score became a problem for us and we had to throw the football," Haylor said. "We really wanted to run the ball, but they didn't let us do it."

With the rush attack stymied, quarterbacks Mike O'Brien and Oliver Curri combined for four interceptions and a fumble, in an attempt to pull the game out with passing.

"They are a great offensive ball team, but when our defence hit, I think they started to try things they are unsure of," said Waterloo linebacker Jason Van Geel.

With Waterloo's aggressive defensive style forcing Western turnovers, the offence was given plenty of opportunities to march down-field and score. Jarrett Smith, the Ontario candidate for the Hec Crighton award, which goes to the nation's top player, took advantage of the extra time on the field – running ragged over Western's defence to collect 150 yards on 27 carries.

"My philosophy is smash-mouth football," Warrior head coach Dave Knight said. "Although we might have completed only two passes, we played well and ran hard and I now see 30 points on the scoreboard."

Warrior quarterback and the game's most valuable player Ryan Williamson, who completed only two passes, did what he does best by rushing for 102 yards, 75 of which came on the team's first offensive set of the game, sprinting for a touchdown on an option play.

With Smith and Williamson competing for time on the highlight reel, Western co-captain Bernie Tessier was quick to point to Waterloo's men in the trenches, who he felt opened the holes for their star players.

"What they have is an O-line, that is very big, very strong," Tessier said. "They get out there and do a good job, basically that's why Smith, Wilkinson and [Eddie] Kim do such a great job."

With the season over, the Mustangs will wave good-bye to several of the key players that have carried the team for the past few seasons. Two of the hardest hit by Saturday's loss were linebacker Derek Krete and defensive back Todd MacKay. Plagued by injuries, both were forced to watch their final game in the purple and white from the sidelines.

"The captain of the crew always wants to go down with his ship," MacKay said. "I've helped bring them to this point and it hurts not to be out there."

Smith recognized the impact that Krete and MacKay's injuries had on the Western defence.

"That might have had an effect on the team psychologically," he said. "They are great athletes and a steady part of their defence. I think that once we got the ball rolling, they were trying to compensate for the loss, they we just unable to get on track."

Waterloo will play Ottawa this Saturday, which beat Queen's last weekend for the right to play for the Vanier Cup. In the other semi-final, the University of British Columbia will battle Mount Allison, the team responsible for upsetting No.1 ranked St. Francis Xavier.

©James Pugsley/Gazette
HEY LARRY, HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO SCORE IF WATERLOO IS ALWAYS HOGGING THE BALL? Mustang Craig Higgins (above) contemplates what could have been, after Western's defence spent the day admiring Warrior running back Jarrett Smith's [34] tracks (below).

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1997