Volume 92, Issue 19

Tuesday, October 6, 1998

no funny business


Warriors leave weapons at home

Dipesh Mistry/Gazette

Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
A HOMECOMING COFFIN. Western fans packed J.W. Little Stadium on Saturday to witness the 44-20 slaughter of the rival Waterloo Warriors.

By John Dinner
Gazette Staff

It seems as if the old swagger of the Western Mustang football team has returned, made evident by a convincing 44-20 trouncing of the Waterloo Warriors Saturday afternoon at Homecoming.

After three consecutive losses to Waterloo in the last two years, Western players and particularly the veterans wanted to make sure the streak was put to an end.

"We really wanted to pay them back," said captain Craig Higgins. "The whole team was really up for this game. This game was really important to the players. The coaches didn't play it up too much, but the players really wanted to get back at these guys."

And that they did, opening up a 17-0 lead by the end of the first quarter, from which they would not look back.

"They really came out of the starting blocks," said Waterloo head coach Chris Triantaflou. "Their o-line [offensive line] was really fired up. They came out more prepared than we were and it showed."

The Western attack was lead by running backs Fabian Rayne (18 rushes, 155 yards) and Scott Crawley (27 rushes, 145 yards) who pounded the ball all day long. This went with some timely passing by Mike O'Brien, throwing only six times, converting on five of them for 191 yards.

"We were committed to running the ball," said head coach Larry Haylor. "We played really well and the offensive line gave us a real advantage."

To go along with his 155 yards of running, Rayne counted four touchdowns on the day, mostly behind blocking full back, Higgins.

"The last couple of weeks, when myself and Fabian were in the game, we've been really successful," Higgins said. "I don't think anyone can stop us when we're out there together."

This game was not only about an offensive explosion long awaited from the 'Stangs, but also a complete and total shutdown of the Warrior offence, which led Ontario University Athletics coming into the game.

Aside from two long scoring plays, an 82 yard scamper from Waterloo quarterback Ryan Wilkinson and a 53 yard romp by tailback Mike Bradley, the Western defense controlled the game and didn't allow Waterloo to get on track.

The aggressive defense of Western led to three interceptions on the day, including one by linebacker Justin Anania, who returned the pick 72 yards for a touchdown, only to have it called back 20 yards on a clipping penalty.

"As a defense we really played together," Anania said. "We played with a lot of emotion and a lot of intensity, keeping Waterloo on their heels all game."

The all around Western performance brought the team to 4-0 and on track to once again win the OUA regular season crown. As for the future, Haylor didn't want his troops to get too ahead of themselves.

"We have to remember that Saturday is the only day that matters and what we did before doesn't matter. We still have to continue learning and getting better because there is no doubt that everyone else [in the OUA] will."

This game was also particularly sweet for Haylor. Not only did he end Waterloo's winning streak, but Haylor passed Mustang legend John Metras on the all-time victories list with his 120th victory of his coaching career.

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

Copyright The Gazette 1998