Volume 93, Issue x
Wednesday, March 18, 1999
Mustangs run wild over Gryphons
© Will Edmondson/Gazette
ALL MUST BOW DOWN TO MY QUARTERBACKING ABILITY. Western quarterback Mike O'Brien (12) stands tall as linemen surround his feet in Saturday's victory over Guelph.
By Chad Thompson
It was a long day in Guelph for the Gryphons as their wings were clipped by an invading Western Mustangs' football team, 26-3.
The game opened slowly as Western was only able to score two singles in the first quarter one coming off kicker Giulio Fricano's missed field goal and the other from punter/quarterback Mike O'Brien's 67-yard punt, which landed in the end zone.
The second quarter was all Mustangs. Western linebacker Darryl Fabiani was able to block kicker Norman Nasser's punt, setting up the Mustangs on the Gryphons' five yard line. Western running back Fabian Rayne plunged in from the one yard line to give Western a 9-0 lead.
Later, with five minutes left in the second quarter, Mustang runningback Scott Crawley broke through Guelph's defensive line and ran 68-yards to the end zone. After a fake punt by Guelph was thwarted, Fabian Rayne shot through the Gryphon defence en route to a 54-yard touchdown. The half closed with Western up 23-0.
The Mustangs added three more singles at the beginning of the second half from the foot of O'Brien with kicks of 62, 57 and 67 yards. The game ended with Guelph marching down the field to score their first points of the season, as kicker Dwight Griffith added a field goal with 28 seconds left in the game.
Western's head coach Larry Haylor felt the only thing that stopped the Mustangs' offence was the amount of penalties the team took. "We keep getting penalty after penalty. We seem to work when the play breaks instead of working the whole time. Players see the play going down the field and suddenly feel the need to block which leads to penalties it is frustrating."
A bright spot for Haylor was the special teams and O'Brien, pinning the Gryphons in their end for most of the game. "Special teams were part of the offence today," he said.
Coach Haylor said he was pleased with the way the team ran the ball, as Western amassed 300 yards on the ground over the duration of the game. "We felt if we got into their linebackers we would do well and when we did, we ran well."
Rayne felt the game was not a great performance by the Mustang's offence. "We had spurts. On a whole we did not click as a unit."
When asked about the long touchdown run, Rayne said it was all instinct. "You may see something, but you have to go for it at a 110 per cent."
Defensively, the Mustangs were able to control the Gryphons and Western's defensive co-ordinator Bob Larosse said he felt his unit did well. "They came with a different formation so we had to play our base defence," he said. "Our athletes did a great job."
Western's secondary was able to hit the Guelph receivers every time they touched the ball and Larosse was pleased with their play. "They threw quickly, we knew the basic game plan, if [Guelph] threw to their receivers, they would be punished."
Eddie Readings, a defensive back for the Mustangs, cited the quick release of Guelph's quarterback Mike Ruthven as the reason they were able to hit the receivers quickly. "They run a three-step drop and fire right away," he said of Guelph's offence. "We would just target the receiver and hit them."
Readings felt the defence played with confidence all day and were able to stop Guelph's running game. "We ran an effective search," he said. "[Runningback Gerrit] Stam is a good runner and we expected him to run well."
Guelph's coach Dan McNally said he was disappointed with the play of his offensive line. "The line is talented but they had no focus and did not perform well," he said. "We didn't execute well [on offence]."
McNally felt field position was the difference in the game. "We always had a long field to work against," he said. "They always had a short field as a result." McNally added he felt his defence played well with the exception of the long touchdown runs by Rayne and Crawley.
Western's next game is Sept. 25 versus the York Yeoman.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999