Volume 93, Issue 20
October 1, 1999
Ready for Homecoming
Gazette file photo
By Chad Thompson
Welcome home. On today's menu grilled Golden Hawk, our Homecoming special.
Saturday, the Western Mustangs football team faces their toughest challenge of the year - the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks. Western's head coach Larry Haylor is not taking the game lightly.
"We are just beginning to gain a sense of their defensive schemes," he said. "Offensively they spread the field with their passing game and they strike quickly with their running game. Offensively and defensively they dominated against a good McMaster [University] team."
For Western's offence, Haylor said he hoped the team would be able to find a middle ground between their running and passing attack. "We hope to have a reasonable balance," he said. "It is okay to have one over the other [pass or run] if we are moving the ball, but we need to be able to throw or else we are going to give the ball back."
Haylor added the large crowd would help the players become more enthusiastic, but pointed out the fans can't play the game for them. "We have to play better than last week, our goal is to be more consistent and execute well on offence."
Western tailback Scott Crawley said he felt the game would be a battle. "It will be competitive, they are probably the toughest team we have faced," he said. "Both teams are really skilled and it will be a mental battle of who wants it more."
As for the crowd at the Homecoming game, Crawley admitted it would be the largest he has seen, but Laurier will be well motivated as well.
"We have beaten them the last two years and Larry [Haylor] said they have the advantage. The crowd for Homecoming is always great," he said.
Linebacker Darryl Fabiani also acknowledged the fans' presence. "They will be behind us when we are up and hopefully bring us up when we are down."
Fabiani added the Laurier offence would be a tough test for the defence. "They're a big team and they have not lost much personnel. They are a hard-nosed football team. Who ever wants it more will win."
Defensive back Eddie Readings added they have to stop the run. "The key to the game is to shut down the runningback, he is similar to the York [University] runningback [in his style]."
On the other side of the field, Laurier Golden Hawks head coach Rich Zmich said he was looking for a solid performance from his team. "Offensively we see a lot of similarities from past Western teams, the running game and the passing game is developing," he said. "We are looking for a precision game. Western's a year older, we are looking for a good physical presence and a good defensive effort."
Zmich said he felt the crowd would bring a good energy to the game. "It's exciting, [the players'] nerves will be taxed because they are all student athletes. They work hard in the on and off season. When you get this kind of opportunity, it is like a national game. We think we can win if we play error free but that's easier said than done," he said.
"Our defensive group is quick and we can put pressure on the quarterback," he added. "Offensively we have to protect our quarterback. It is exciting to play but we have to remember what we are playing for first place."
Western faces the Golden Hawks Saturday at 2 p.m. at J.W. Little Memorial Stadium.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999