Volume 94, Issue 22
Friday, October, 6, 2000
Western looks to right wrongs - Football team needs to rebound from loss
THIS WILL TAKE CARE OF THAT PESKY BODY HAIR! Things could get hot under the lights tomorrow when Western hosts Waterloo.
By Joel Brown
The Mustangs hope to be serenaded with sweet victory music under the TDW Stadium lights for the first time tomorrow, when they take on the Waterloo Warriors in football action.
Coming of the heels of their first loss at the hands of Laurier, Western will need to turn around their fortunes to inch closer to sealing a playoff position. "It's a critical game, it's very important," said Western head coach Larry Haylor. "Particularly with these two individual teams."
"If it were hockey it'd be a four point game. If we win, I think we'll have a playoff position sealed. If they lose they'll be in a struggle to make the playoffs."
The match is the first since Western was knocked off by the underdog Warriors in the first round of last year's Ontario University Athletics playoffs. Haylor said he believes the battle for playoff position will not necessarily be the biggest motivating factor for his team. "There are some players who still have vivid memories about the event," Haylor said. "But we've also had a lot of new guys that don't, so it won't be as much of a motivating factor for them."
Western defensive back Alexis Sanschagrin, who leads the team with 18 tackles, said payback is in the back of his mind but it is not the biggest incentive to win.
"I'd be lying if I didn't say it was a factor," he said. "But all we really want to do is win. If we were just to think about revenge, we would forget about a lot of the little things that make a difference."
Waterloo has had a up-and-down season and are sporting a 2-2 record after a 18-12 win over York last week. Despite the disappointing season for the team, Haylor says he expects a hard-fought battle. "Waterloo has always been identified as a physical, intimidating team," he said.
Offensively the Warriors will run their traditional option offence. Haylor is most concerned with Waterloo's running game. "Their run game has been for a long time one of the best in the province, if not the country," he said.
Sanschagrin said Waterloo's offence has added another challenge to this week's game preparation. "It's tougher for the whole defence because you don't see it very often," he said.
Waterloo's starting quarterback, second-year player Jordie Holton, is starting for the first time this year. Warriors head coach Chris Triantafilou said much of the team's struggles have been because of Holton's inexperience. "The option offence is tough to run and he's been struggling."
Helping out Holton on offence will be receiver Chris Krebick, a London native who Haylor describe as being Waterloo's go-to-guy. All-Canadian Mike Bradley is questionable for the game because of a high ankle sprain.
Triantafilou said his team will need to improve their play immensely in order to challenge Western. "We've got to make it tough for [Mike] O'Brien and move the ball offensively."
Despite the last-second loss to Laurier last weekend both Haylor and Western's defensive coach, Bob LaRose, say the team is in good spirits and is ready to learn from their mistakes.
"Obviously we're disappointed," LaRose said. "We thought we had things under control but we're not disheartened by any means."
"We'll need to make plays at critical moments," Haylor said. "But the difference between the loss last week was only one play."
Haylor described his team's early week preparation for the game as not being as intense as usual, but says he understands the pressure his student-athletes are under. "It's mid-term time and the academic demands are intensifying," he said. "Plus it's the mid-point of the season, so we're still kind of resurfacing."
Widereceiver Tim Hatfiled is questionable for Saturday's game with a hurting knee. Defensiveback Greg Henderson is also has a knee injury and is expected out for two or three more weeks.
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