Volume 93, Issue 16
Friday, September 24, 1999
Western poised to battle York
GONNA MAKE THEM SAY YEOW-MAN. Runningback Scott Crawley (24) and the rest of the Mustang football team stampede into York this Saturday.
By Chad Thompson
Clear off the 401, because a purple hurricane is scheduled to blow through Toronto on Saturday as Western's football team faces the York Yeomen.
Western head coach Larry Haylor said he felt this game would be a test for his club. "This is the first physical team we have played. York is a very good football team, they have speed at receiver and runningback, which is different from the teams we have played. They also have speed on defence."
One question facing the Mustangs is their throwing game. Haylor said his team did not throw as well as he had hoped against Guelph Gryphons. "We didn't light it up with the throwing game, we have a quarterback who can light it up. We need to protect [Mike O'Brien]. We have to get the receivers on the same chapter and verse as the quarterback. We have struggled to do that over the past two games."
Western tight end Hudson Clark said the team's passing game is starting to develop. "We have had to move guys around [but] we have new quick plays that have quicker releases."
Haylor stated the setup of York's stadium works to the advantage of the Yeoman. "York is a more difficult place to play Guelph has a stadium which is enclosed. York is more wide open, we have to dress in the hockey rink," he said. "The team is far superior to the environment which they play in."
Clark noted the two kilometre walk from the hockey rink to the playing field at York can affect a players' focus. "It can be upsetting. You try to be focused, then you have to walk two kilometres to get to the field."
He later joked about the team changing in the York hockey arena. "At least you have the Gordie Howe spirit going on the field with you."
Haylor added the days of long losing streaks and bad athletes at York are long gone. Tom Arnott, the Yeomen's head coach, echoed Haylor's sentiment. "You have no idea how the attitude has changed," Arnott said, discussing the improvements York's team has made over the past five years.
"Our guys are positive and enthusiastic. They think in terms of what we can do better in order to help win games. Each year it has grown and it is no longer easy to be a player here, you have to work for your position."
Clark added the York team is not to be taken lightly. "They are physical and fast," he said. "They beat [the University of] Toronto bad and they were only beat by two points by one of our arch rivals, [Wilfred] Laurier [University]."
Arnott said he felt the attitude change came with the fact that many of the current players were not around for the losing seasons. "Most of the players on the current team have had some sort of success," he said. "Our guys now take pride in what they are doing on the field."
Arnott said he expects the Western offence to run the ball. "We are looking for them to establish control on the ground. Versus Guelph, they established the ground game. They only throw when they have to."
Defensively, Arnott said Western has improved from the squad who took the field last year. "The secondary is more aggressive and the linebackers are flowing well and pursuing better. Their defence is more aggressive."
Arnott added the Yeomen are looking forward to the game. "We always look forward to playing the better teams. If we achieve our potential we can be as good as any team in the league."
As for the Ontario University Athletics conference, Arnott said it is wide open in terms of playoff spots. "It used to be in the OUA that three teams were pretty good and another team would slip into the fourth playoff spot. This year there are five legitimate teams for those four spots."
Copyright © The Gazette 1999