Volume 92, Issue 25

Tuesday, October 20, 1998

coughing up debt


Comeback kids do it again

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette

OFF TO THE RACES. Inside receiver Jim Meldrum is out and running as he paced the 'Stangs with a four-yard TD run followed by a 17-yard TD reception.

By Ian Ross
Gazette Staff

It was an all too familiar situation on Saturday afternoon for the Western Mustang football team – the come from behind victory. This time it was a 43-27 defeat of the winless Toronto Varsity Blues.

In what had become the norm for this team, the Mustangs struggled to get any sort of momentum going early in the contest, fumbling the ball twice that led directly to two Toronto majors. It took a 14-point deficit (21-7) early in the second quarter to wake the purple and white from their slumber and refocus on the task at hand.

"It was another slow start," admitted Western receiver Dan Disley. "The guys are confident heading into the game but it takes a while to get it going."

While the team is filled with veterans, it took a kick-start from the younger players on the team to get things going. Sophomore Jim Meldrum started the rally with a four-yard touchdown run and freshman linebacker Justin Anania followed the lead 35 seconds later, picking up a dropped handoff and carrying it into the endzone. Second-year kicker Jeff Proctor, in his return from an off-season car accident, kicked home a field goal before the half and the Mustangs were on their way to their sixth straight victory.

Western head coach Larry Haylor shook his head in disbelief at the difficulty the team has on getting mentally prepared each Saturday.

"Maybe this is the nature of this team in not getting excited early," he said with a shrug.

Toronto's head coach Bob Lacoye, still a little stunned by the sudden turn of events, stated he was impressed by the Mustangs' ability to fight back against the Blues' early momentum.

"Western scored quick but our kids bounced back and played as hard as they could play," he said. "It just came down to the big plays and Western had more of them."

The need to rally the troops in every contest is not exactly the most positive approach to each game. Haylor recognizes that come playoff time the mystery had better be solved if the team hopes to survive against "the big boys" from across Canada. With only two games left until the post-season, it is a serious concern for the no. 1 ranked team in the country.

Yet, the team is improving in the eyes of Disley, who pulled down three receptions for 73 yards on the day. He compared the previous matchup against Toronto in week three and saw a team that is coming together.

"There is definitely a difference," he said. "Last game we had nothing going at all. This time we finished on the offence and defensive ends."

Lacoye agreed Western had improved and after being burnt twice by come-from-behind defeats he wishes he had the answer to Western's late game domination.

"If I knew that I would be writing a lot of books," he said.

The Mustangs will attempt to continue their perfect season on Saturday as they take on the Guelph Gryphons at 2 p.m..

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

Copyright © The Gazette 1998