Volume 93, Issue 38
Friday, November 5, 1999
Preparing to plow over Warriors
I WONDER WHERE THE BALL IS, HE'S PASSING TO ME, RIGHT? Mike Laszloh (30) and the rest of the Mustangs are ready to make the perfect pass against the Waterloo Warriors tomorrow.
By Chad Thompson
Even Jack Frost won't be able to get in the way of the Western football team when they take on the Waterloo Warriors tomorrow.
With the semifinals of the Ontario University Athletics football playoffs beginning this weekend, Western head coach Larry Haylor said the team is preparing for another physical confrontation with the Warriors. "We're expecting and preparing for an outstanding opponent," he said.
Although the team tends to become nervous, under the pressure of the playoffs, Haylor said he believes the Mustangs will be well prepared.
One thing Western will have to be ready for is Waterloo's use of an option play and the running ability of the Warriors' quarterback Ryan Wilkinson. "The option requires three assignments and commitment to those assignments," Haylor said. "It requires no mistakes to be made and for people to follow through with their responsibilities. We struggled with the quarterback phase the last [time we played Waterloo]."
Wilkinson poses a double threat, as he can both run the ball and capitalize on an open man with a pass. Haylor said the team is not taking Wilkinson lightly. "He's an excellent athlete. He's big, really strong and fast. In the open field he is difficult to run down."
Waterloo head coach Chris Triantafilou said Wilkinson provides his team with yet another weapon. "Including our quarterback in the run package provides [us] with another good athlete and another threat."
Triantafilou added the key for his team is not to fall behind much like they did when Western beat them 20-17 on Oct. 9. "We're looking for a better first half than the last game," he said. "We did a heck of a lot better and crept back into the game in the second half. It's always key in this league to get the first score. We don't want to play catchup."
In the past, games between Western and Waterloo have been won or lost in the trenches by the team who controls the line of scrimmage. This fact was not lost on either coach.
"With the weather, it's probably truer," Haylor said. "When the fields get slippery and the footing treacherous, [the issue of control] becomes a bigger concern. The weather, field and wind is enormous in planning strategy and tactics," he said. "[The weather] is one thing you miss in indoor football. The wind is important, but we will be battling the wind, a bad field and snow."
In contrast, Triantafilou said he saw the weather as a benefit to his team. "I think [the bad weather] focuses upon the run and we throw shorter balls. We have a more controlled offence," he said, adding his team is looking forward to the game. "We want to get dirty on Saturday."
Triantafilou said he believes it is the defensive line which will determine the triumphant team. "[Which ever] defensive line shows up [tomorrow] will win the game."
Western defensive lineman Blaine Palinsky said the defence is preparing for a tough one. "They're a solid team and we all have to play our best game of the year. We have to keep our focus and be intense," he said. "They're always physical and it's always a smash mouth football game."
Western will blast through the cold to face the Waterloo Warriors 1 p.m. tomorrow at J.W. Little Memorial Stadium.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999