Volume 93, Issue 34

Friday, October 29, 1999


SPORTS

End of regular season at J.W.

Flying highwith Western's Robyn

Outsiders playoff preview

Predictions of play from the fringes

Keeping the pace with runner Jim Wardle

Catch the game while making history

End of regular season at J.W.




©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
ONE, TWO - JUMP, ONE, TWO - JUMP. Scott Crawley (24) and the rest of the Mustangs prepare to show the University of Toronto their fancy footwork.


By Chad Thompson
Gazette Staff

It's time to get your best shoes on for the last regular season dance at J.W. Little Memorial Stadium, as the Western Mustangs face off against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues Saturday.

Western head coach Larry Haylor said he sees this game as preparation for the playoffs. "This is an opportunity for us to develop an edge and retain it. It's important for us to play 60 minutes of football, the way good teams play. Teams struggling the week before the playoffs are not in the playoffs for long."

Western defensive back Eddie Readings said he felt his team would be prepared for the weekend game. "After last week, the coaches [were] really getting on us to pick up the intensity. Practice has been hard-nosed and we've jacked up the intensity. The attitude is a lot better."

Readings added the game tapes from last week's loss to McMaster University showed what the Mustangs were missing. "You could tell from the films we were a step behind and we seemed to not have the intensity."

The significance of the final game was not lost on Haylor who said he would be taking part in the ceremonial kickoff. "All of us will be very moved by [the ceremonies]," he said. "It's the last [regular season] game any team will play in J.W. Little. When you think of all the great teams and players, it marks the end of an incredible period of time."

Toronto's head coach Bob Laycoe said he felt the closing of the stadium could be looked at in two ways – either a nuisance or a happy occasion. "We respect a great deal the university football tradition at Western. We hold to those traditions and are happy to be a part of it."

Laycoe added it would be an interesting day and said his team would be ready to play. "We're not really concerned. We had a lot of stuff going on before our game last week versus Queen's [University] and before the game between York [University] and U of T. When you travel on the road, you get used to these sorts of things."

Readings added the ceremonies before the game would aid the team's focus. "It gives another reason to play 110 per cent."

As far as the play on the field goes, Laycoe said his team has nothing to lose. "I think we tried to learn a little about our team each week and hope this week will be the same."

Although the Mustangs have already secured a playoff spot, Readings said they are not looking past Toronto. "We like to take each game on its own, but we're going to play them hard – we gotta play better than last week."

When asked about plans to take a souvenir home from the last game, Haylor said he was not sure what he would do. "We talked months ago about taking the turf out and sending [it] to [former players] around the world, but I haven't thought about anything yet," he said.

"In the aftermath of the game, when all the fans have gone, [the coaching staff] will go out to the field to reflect on what has occurred. It's a special place for us. Each of us will look for something tangible to take home for all the intangibles that have occurred."

Western and Toronto take to the dance floor this Saturday at 2 p.m..


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gazette.sports@julian.uwo.ca

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