Now playing: Laurier redemption
Hawks bring the pain seven times
Tea party emerging
Now playing: Laurier redemption
By Joel Brown
Payback is a bitch.
Or at least that is what Western's football team is hoping, as they head to Laurier tomorrow to play the Golden Hawks in the first round of the Ontario University Athletics football playoffs.
The Mustangs hope this week's result will be better than the last time they faced Laurier midway into the season and lost by only one point in a comeback victory. The win was eventually the deciding factor in awarding Laurier second place in the OUA and host privileges for the playoff match
"Basically we're going into their place looking for redemption," said Western defensive back, Jamie Ewart.
Add the perennial rivalry between the two schools and it's apparent this game will not lack intensity.
"This is obviously a big match," said Laurier head coach, Rick Zmitch. "We've got a long, rich history between us. It's clear to our players that the winners advance and the losers pack their bag. We won't be needing a lot of inspirational speeches."
Zmitch went on to say the home field advantage for his club can be thrown out the window, citing harsh lessons from Western in the past.
"We've beaten Western two times in a season only twice in 27 years," he said. "Home field advantage has not been a factor since I've been here and it's not here this week."
The Golden Hawk head coach, said he expects the game will be decided by the team that can best limit their turnovers and other mistakes.
"The one thing I've learned, is that when the teams are this closely matched it is often the team that beats themselves that loses," Zmitch said.
Larry Haylor, Western's head coach, said the team's preparation for the game will not differ just because of the added importance.
"I don't think there's any particular point that is necessary to hammer into our player's," he said. "We know what type of emotional and physical states that are required.
"I'd like to think our style of coaching leads to this time of season. We're not easily pleased, we try to push our people. I think that's the best way to prepare a team for the post season," Haylor said.
Haylor added he believes the key to a winning game for Western will be making sure Laurier widereceiver and kick returner Andre Talbot does not have a field day. In the last match between the two teams Talbot collected 175 yards on nine receptions while scoring three touchdowns.
"I would like Talbot to not dominate the game," Haylor said. "He's impossible to stop but we hope to limit him somewhat. I'd like to see the ball in his hands as little as possible."
Western will also face the large task of controlling both Talbot and Laurier runningback Justin Praamsma, who rushed for 159 yards against Western in a game earlier this season.
Haylor said he expects Mustang widereceiver Tim Hatfield to return from a knee injury, but said defensiveback Kris Aiken is still questionable to comeback because he is still having trouble with his ankle.
In the other OUA playoff game the Waterloo Warriors will play the top-ranked team in Ontario, the McMaster Marauders, in Hamilton.