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Volume 91, Issue 39

Thursday, November 6, 1997

purple goat


Football captains build a mystery

©Ian Ross/Gazette
THAT'S IT BOYS, GET THAT PUNK'S LUNCH MONEY. Bernie Tessier [37] has been leading his gang around the league all season ruffing up weaker teams and destroying their self esteem.

By Alan Russette

Gazette Writer

The list of captains for the Mustang football program, particularly over the last few seasons, reads like a journal of Western's football history: Tim Tindale, 1993, Jude St. John, 1994, Tom McConnell, 1995 and Patrice Denis, 1996.

Now, with the Yates Cup approaching, the identity of Western's co-captains still remain somewhat mysterious to many. They are not household names, but they've paid their dues and their contributions on and off the field make them valuable members of the Mustang squad. Their names are Bernie Tessier and Mike Wilson.

"It's kind of unusual to have two team captains, but this type of recognition by their teammates shows the type of confidence the others have in them," head coach Larry Haylor said, speaking highly of his team's leaders.

At six feet, 215 pounds, Bernie Tessier is a little smaller than Mustang fans are used to seeing as a linebacker. In fact, he's spent the last couple of seasons on special teams duty, seeing limited time behind all-Canadian's Patrice Denis and Derek Krete. But his teammates believe what Tessier lacks in size, he makes up in other areas. Haylor was pleased overall with how Tessier has adjusted to the starting roster. "I think it took two or three games for Bernie to get climatized to the whole thing, but he's very strong, has good speed and quickness."

Tessier, a fourth-year geography major from Belle River, Ontario, is enjoying the move from special teams to starting defence.

"It's been a great jump. A lot more is demanded of you. You have to spend a lot more time studying tapes and schemes. It's been great."

It is this type of work ethic that has paid off in his play and has not gone unnoticed by his teammates. "At the beginning of the season Bernie was a little inexperienced, but he's stepped up his play and has proven that he belongs on the field both as a defensive player and as a captain," Mustang linebacker Derek Krete said. "He's done a great job in the huddle, calling the signals and after the snap as well."

Unfortunately for Mike Wilson, injuries have forced him to lead from the sidelines more than he expected this year. Wilson broke his hand and injured his foot on consecutive plays during the first game of the season against Windsor.

The fifth-year tight end from Mississauga has been cycled through the starting line-up since 1995 and has been mainly used this year as a blocker in the offensive schemes. Haylor spoke highly of Wilson's performance.

"All in all he's played pretty well on offense since becoming a starter. When our offense is working, it's because everyone's doing their job. Mike does a lot of the little things."

The diminished role of the tight end in Western's offensive game-plan hasn't affected Wilson's enthusiasm. "We've all got a common goal, common desires," he said. "With the way the offence has worked this year, they've been mainly hitting the receivers on their first read, but I've got a few catches." he said.

Wilson was surprised to be nominated for captain. "It's not something I expected. When you take a look at some of the other names on that list: Tim Tindale, Patrice Denis – it's quite an honour. "It's been a lot of work, but it's been great," he said.

Injuries to key defensive players Derek Krete and Todd MacKay in Saturday's 25-10 playoff victory over Guelph will put the co-captains' leadership abilities to the test as the Mustangs prepare to tackle Waterloo in the Yates Cup final at J.W. Little Stadium this Saturday.

©Brendan Howe/Gazette
OH MY GOSH! THOSE CAN'T BE REAL. Mike Wilson [75] was distracted most of the year, by um... injuries, but looks to make up for his time off by leading his team deep into the playoffs.

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

Copyright © The Gazette 1997