Volume 92, Issue 33
Tuesday, November 3, 1998
Blowout caps perfect season
© Dipesh Mistry/Gazette
BY JOHN INTINI
The Western Mustangs are unbeatable. At least in regular season action, that is.
The Mustangs finished the Ontario University Athletics regular season a perfect 8-0, demolishing the visiting Windsor Lancers by a 48-10 count Saturday afternoon.
Even though the playoff games were decided last week, interim head coach Bob LaRose said the game gives his club a solid base from which to prepare for the playoffs.
"We wanted to go out on a high note," he said. "We didn't want to coast into the playoffs and today's performance made sure that didn't happen."
Breaking out to a first-half 25-2 lead, the Mustangs were able to turn the game over to their ground game to break the backs of the Lancers a strategy which has worked all year.
"Their running game is explosive. They were running on high octane all afternoon," said Lancer defensive back Paul Kurantsin-Mills. "Our youth is a major factor which made it almost impossible to stop them."
Team captain Craig Higgins said the running game has been incredible this year, with Saturday's game being no exception. Full back Fabian Rayne's four touchdowns were complemented by running back Scott Crawley's 172 yards on 22 carries on the ground bringing Crawley to over 1,000 yards rushing on the season.
Higgins said the game plan is simple. "We don't do anything tricky. Our opponents know we are going to run at them and that is what we do."
Windsor moved the football in the second half but rookie mistakes ended any hopes in a comeback attempt.
"The difference between the two teams, aside from experience, is the astronomical difference in size," said Lancer head coach Mike Morencie. "If Higgins was on our team, he would be a tackle."
According to Morencie, the playoffs are tough to call but the balance of the Mustang attack may be a factor if the weather turns for the worse.
"They have such an incredible balanced attack," he said. "There are four good offenses but if the weather is not great, as it is known to be in the past, Western will have the edge. They are fundamental in all parts of the game."
Western last went undefeated in 1994, a year which also marked their last Vanier Cup triumph. LaRose, who was a member of that championship club, felt this year's team, although potentially better, still has a long way to go.
"It's hard to say which team is better," he said. "It's the playoffs now and everything is wiped clean. We have to go out and prove we're the best."
Higgins noted it is the intangibles which make this team the best he has seen during his four-year career with the 'Stangs.
"There are no real superstars on this team," he said. "We have had years with some great players but it is the attitude and cohesiveness of this team which makes it different."
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