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Volume 91, Issue 40

Friday, November 7, 1997

musical chairs


Defences will dominate Yates Cup clash

©Geoff Robins/Gazette
GOTTA STOP THAT RUNNING MAN. Western's defence will have its hands full stopping Waterloo running back Jarrett Smith in tommorrow's Yates Cup showdown. This season Smith set a new OUA record for yards rushed.

By Ian Ross

Gazette Staff

Don't expect a flashy aerial assualt in tomorrow's Yates Cup football match at J.W. Little Stadium between Western and Waterloo – this game will be won by the defence. What can fans can be ready for, is a low scoring game will a lot of hard-hitting and bone-breaking tackles.

The top priority for Western will be to contain Warrior running back Jarrett Smith, who ran for 1,275 yards in the regular season to break the existing OUA rushing record set by former Mustang and current Buffalo Bill Tim Tindale.

Yet stopping Waterloo's all-star rusher is a lot easier said than done and it's something no team, including Western, has been able to do all season. When Waterloo beat Western 20-13 over Homecoming weekend, Smith amassed 236 yards on 30 carries.

"It's hard to load on only one player, because they have so many threats," head coach Larry Haylor said. "Smith may get the ball or he may not, the defence just has to be ready for both."

Getting at Smith is in itself no easy chore as Waterloo's offensive line, led by all-star tackle Dan Sendechki and guard Stephen Szimanski, can dominate the line of scrimmage and buy quarterback Ryan Wilkinson enough time to throw on occasion to a receiving core headed by Andy MacGregor.

Shutting down the Warrior offensive attack will be even more difficult considering that Western's all-star defensive back Todd MacKay and linebacker Derek Krete will likely miss tomorrow's game. MacKay injured his shoulder against Guelph three weeks ago and after sitting out the final game of the season versus McMaster, reaggravated it in the first half of last weekend's match against the Gryphons. Krete meanwhile hurt his ankle after making a tackle and landing awkwardly in last week's contest.

"At this point it is hard to say if either of them will see the field this weekend," Haylor said. "But it's the time of year, that if they think they play, they will."

On the other side of the field, Warrior head coach Dave "Tuffy" Knight wields a defence that is red hot, shutting out both York and Guelph in their last two games. Western's offence will have a tough time moving the ball up the field against a team that had the most defensive players named to the OUA all-star honoraria including corner back Jason Tibbits, tackle Rob McMurren and linebackers Jason Van Geel and Kevin Pressburger.

Knight's biggest consern is Mustang quarterback Mike O'Brien, who did not move into the starting role until after Waterloo met Western in the regular season.

"O'Brien is more athletic and has helped their offence," Knight said. "We have only seen one game film with him in it, so the defense is going to have to find out O'Brien's strong points during the game and attack them."

As for whether Knight feels his team is ready to face Western in tomorrow's winner-take-all format, he responded, "They're playing in the Yates Cup, if that's not going to motivate you, you must be dead."

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

Copyright © The Gazette 1997