Volume 93, Issue 9
Tuesday, September 14, 1999
Mustangs trample over lancers
©Geoff Robins and Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
HELP IS ON THE WAY. The Windsor Lancers could not be helped from above on the weekend as the Western Mustangs pushed to a 32-10 victory.
By Chad Thompson
Western's football season opener against the Windsor Lancers was a perfect example of how momentum is necessary for victory.
As sky divers brought in the game ball for what will be the final season opener at J.W. Little Memorial Stadium, the Mustang's seemed unprepared for how difficult their 32-10 win would be. Windsor was flying high in the first half and opened the scoring with a 32 yard field goal by Chris Sak. In the second quarter, Windsor quarterback Morgan Gallagher threw a 25 yard touchdown to wide receiver Chris Philion. Windsor was ahead of Western 10-1 at the half.
"The first half we played soft," Western's coach Larry Haylor said. "For 35 minutes we got outplayed."
Quarterback Mike O'Brien shared his coaches sentiments, adding the offence was feeling a little nervous. "The first half we started to panic," he said. "But then we relaxed and played how we should."
In the third quarter the momentum left the Lancers' sideline and headed to Western, after a third and one defensive stop by the Mustangs' defence. Western forced Windsor to concede a safety and O'Brien engineered a drive which saw runningback Scott Crawley push for a four yard touchdown, tying the score at 10 a piece.
The back-breaker for Windsor was the 67 yard interception return for touchdown by Western defensive back Adam McLeod, which gave Western the lead. In the fourth quarter, Western added touchdowns by runningbacks Fabian Rayne and Mike Laszlo on a 19 yard run and five yard run respectively.
Windsor's head coach Mike Morenci said his team played well for a good portion of the game. "We are proud of our kids," he said. "We played nose to nose for 35 minutes with one of the best teams in the country."
Morenci added the turning point was Western's defensive stop on third and one. "We had a poor block," he said when discussing the play. "That play would have given us the momentum I mean if you cannot make a third and one in this league than you are not going to win."
Western's defensive co-ordinator Bob Larosse said the defence focused on containing Gallagher in the pocket.
"We wanted to pressure them with our front four," he said. "We were concerned with [Gallagher's] running ability."
Linebacker Eddie Readings said the defence attempted to confuse Windsor's offensive line. "Their line is not quick," he said. "We wanted to get heat on them and showed odd fronts to confuse their blockers."
Readings said it took a while to get going but Western gained a lot of confidence as the game wore on.
In the second half, Western's passing game opened up as O'Brien was able to find wide receiver James Prescott five times for a total of 164 yards.
"James and I practiced together every Tuesday during the summer," O'Brien said. "I told the coaches we have to get him the ball."
O'Brien added he was able to get good looks down the field because of how well his offensive line played. "I have all the faith in the world in them."
Tight-end Hudson Clark said O'Brien helped settle the team down after the shaky start in the first half. "It was tight in the huddle but Mike calmed us down," he said. "The second half speaks for itself we calmed down and played well. I think Prescott shut everyone up about our questions at the receiver position."
Haylor added in the second half the team was forced to go with a young receiving core, after wide receiver Preston Haynes was knocked out of the game with a broken collarbone. "When Preston went down we had to go with freshmen at wide receiver Chris Baxter and Brad Murphy played really well."
Western's next game is Saturday, visiting the Guelph Gryphons.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999