Volume 92, Issue 18

Friday, October 2, 1998

homing in


Let the swagger return

Homecoming weekend means a lot of things to a lot of different people. It means hanging with the old gang, drinking lots and remembering less.

There has however been one constant that has brought people to this campus for years – the football game. Sure not everyone comes to see these dedicated athletes do what they do best. But let's face it, when it comes right down to it, it is the biggest thing going.

And this year is no exception, as our beloved 'Stangs try to rebound from a humiliating homecoming loss last year at the hands of the very same Waterloo Warriors (who also happened to spank our boys at home during the playoffs last year too).

Well now it's pay back time. Western needs to get back to old school football and what a weekend for it to come. The two losses last year and an offence that's been off more than it has been on has taken some the luster and mystique away from the Mustangs.

Traditionally our football teams have been able walk into any stadium with such confidence that the opponents would hate us. The reason they hated us was because they knew whatever they did they wouldn't win. Our teams were the best. They knew it, we knew it and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.

That confident swagger seems to be one of the things missing this year as Western, while still undefeated, could just as easily be without a win. Well, this is the weekend they get it back. Or at least this should be the weekend they get it back.

The incentive to do so is tremendous. They are playing a team that has beaten them three times in a row (twice at home). They have yet to play a complete game where both the offence and the defence click together. They are ranked second in the nation but many people question whether they belong there. And finally it's homecoming and the Western world is watching.

About a year ago at this time this space was being used to say basically the same thing. The difference this time is that it looks as though the boys are about to provide us with a statement game – meaning they are going to go out and lay the smack down on the Warriors for their part in the demise of the Western aura.

The Western running game seems to be moving at full throttle despite missing their leading rusher from last year, Mike Laszlo. And when Fabian Rayne and Craig Higgins are on the field together there is not a more intimidating, powerful set of backs in Ontario University Athletics.

And with that, the offensive line has gained the confidence needed, so they are now on the threshold of dominating games to such an extent that defences will be worn down by the second quarter, not the second half.

The defence, with all of its new faces, should now be confident. After last week's solid performance and the fact they are the starting defence, the confidence will be seen this weekend.

All in all the Mustangs seem to be at that point where they will either come out flat and unsure of themselves or come out like gang busters, who knock some heads and start to re-establish the Mustang swagger.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998