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Volume 91, Issue 37

Tuesday, November 4, 1997

till you drop


Football team drubs Gryphons minus head coach

©Geoff Robins/Gazette
GET BACK INTO THE CONGO LINE. First-year Mustang Jim Meldrum left the scene of the crime on Saturday before Guelph's defence clued in. Perhaps a long off-season will wake the Gryphons.

By Alex Chiang

Gazette Staff

If Saturday's OUA semifinal football game at J.W. Little Stadium demonstrated anything, it's that the Mustangs hold tremendous poise and determination. Poise because they didn't let off-the-field events deter their focus; and determination because they handily defeated Guelph 25-10 under sloppy weather conditions.

On Wednesday, the Ontario University Athletics Executive announced that Western head coach Larry Haylor was to be given an immediate one game suspension for his conduct in the Mustangs' game against McMaster on Oct. 25.

Western's chair of intercollegiate athletics, Darwin Semotiuk, said Haylor's actions were labeled as "verbal abuse towards the officials" and the reason the issue was not made public until game day was in the best interests of the team.

"We didn't want to create a feeding frenzy," Semotiuk said. "We conferred with the coaching staff and agreed that this was the best way to approach the situation in fairness to the players."

The suspension forbid Haylor from coaching or being in the stadium for Saturday's game. "I abided by the ruling," Haylor responded when asked if he agreed with the league's decision. "I was nowhere near the stadium and there was no play signaling, because that would've been a violation."

Western has appealed the decision.

In Haylor's absence, defensive coordinator Bob LaRose was given control of the team. The switch, however, didn't faze the Mustangs who played one of their best games of the season, despite the rain and muddy conditions.

The Gryphons, on the other hand, turned the ball over seven times, including two fumbles on special teams by punt returner Scott Gordon.

"It was tough seeing the ball at times," Gordon said. "Usually in these conditions it's better to let the ball bounce first. It was a lack of focus on my part."

Although Gordon was eventually replaced, the damage had already been done as both his mishaps led directly to Western scores.

"Yeah, the outcome could've been different," Gryphon head coach Dan McNally said on whether better weather could have helped Guelph's cause. "We may not have dropped those punts, but that's just speculating."

No one could put the blame on Guelph's first-team OUA all-star quarterback Nathan Body, however, who completed 20 of his 31 passes for 205 yards.

Western quarterback Mike O'Brien, on the other hand, passed the ball only 13 times the whole game as the 'Stangs elected to run more than pass – including 22 carries and 111 yards for running back Mike Laszlo. O'Brien showed his athleticism in the fourth quarter when he dashed 16 yards into the endzone to give the Mustangs a 24-8 lead early in the fourth quarter.

"It was a broken play," O'Brien said. "There was a man in motion and I ran into him so I just took off for the endzone. If we have better weather next week, we'll mix it up a lot more than we did today."

Mustang receiver Dan Disley scored two touchdowns including a 12-yard score on a perfectly executed reverse play from rookie Jim Meldrum.

On the defensive side, Western lineman Sean McBurney was named the player of the game.

"We knew that we had to win the war on the offensive and defensive line," McBurney said. "We had a lapse last week, so we put in some new systems and if we play the way we did today, Waterloo's gonna' be in trouble."

Western will host the Waterloo Warriors this Saturday for the Yates Cup at 1 p.m..

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

Copyright © The Gazette 1997