Volume 92, Issue 6
Friday, September 11, 1998
Higgins takes the helm
Tom Baumgartner/Photo Editor
SMASH MOUTH FOOTBALL!! The poor fellow really had no idea what he was getting himself into when he tried to stop the locomotive known as Higgins (34).
By John Dinner
Being named captain in any sport, at any level, is always an honour, but when you are named captain of the Western Mustang football team it is particularly special. This year's captain is Craig Higgins, a six-foot-three, 250-pound bulldozing fullback.
Higgins, who was highly recruited as a freshman in 1995, was recognized by his teammates as their leader heading into the 1998 season.
"The biggest part of this for me is that it was chosen by the guys." Higgins said.
For the last three seasons, Higgins has been a rock solid contributor coming out of the backfield with bone-crunching blocks and timely running. Higgins will lead the Mustang squad into action this year as they look to once again perch themselves atop of Ontario University Athletics and the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union, after last year's disappointing Yates Cup loss.
An extremely devoted athlete, Higgins leads through his on-field performance as opposed to being an outspoken leader and his performance has been nothing short of stellar. Being one of the better blocking fullbacks in the OUA, as well as having a bruising straight ahead style, has gotten him over five yards per carry throughout his career.
Larry Haylor, head coach of the Mustangs, was extremely pleased with his team's selection of Higgins as their representative.
"You can't delegate leadership or a leader," Haylor said. "These guys are very bright student athletes and I think it is a positive reflection of the team values when a player like Craig is voted captain.
"He's very commited and intense, both on and off the field. He leads by example and is always playing for the team." Haylor continued. "Everything he has achieved here at Western is a result of his hard work and effort and I believe the players admire his work ethic."
Fabian Rayne, who shares fullback duties with Higgins, echoed Haylor's feelings and believes Craig was the best man for the job.
"He's a Mustang. He's one of the hardest workers on the team. At practice, during the games and during the off-season. A guy everyone can look up to."
"I believe that one my greatest assets is my mental toughness," Higgins said. "Everyone gets tired or hurt and that's difficult to overcome. I think that being mentally tough is one the most important aspects to football."
Spending at least two hours a day working out during the off-season, Higgins is extremely anxious to get the season underway.
"We've been preparing for this game since last November," Higgins said. "This should be the easiest game to mentally prepare for and I'm really excited to get at it."
If his intensity during practices this week is any indication of the passion he will be playing with throughout the season, then there are a lot of opposing linebackers around the OUA this fall who will be black and blue come Sunday morning.
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