Volume 94, Issue 7
Mustangs barely excape opener loss
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE DON'T LET US LOSE TO WINDSOR. This Mustang got his wish when Western came out victorious in a hotly contested game against the underdog Lancers.
By Joel Brown
A sigh of relief from the Western football team was heard Saturday as they barely won in nail biter against the Windsor Lancers.
Quarterback Mike O'Brien and wide receiver Tim Hatfield saved the Mustangs from defeat by connecting on a 57-yard touchdown pass with 2:18 remaining in the fourth quarter. Western converted their two-point convert to put Western ahead by three and bring the score to 18-15, the game's final tally.
"The catch felt great," Hatfield said. "The defender jumped in on the other receiver and just let me go wide open. I was almost too open and had too much time to think about it. All I was saying to myself was 'Please don't drop the ball'."
It became evident early in the game that Windsor would provide stiff opposition, as both the intensity of their offence and defence was enough to put the Mustangs back on their heels.
The Lancers opened the scoring early in the first quarter off a missed field goal attempt by kicker Jamey Byers. The wide kick gave them a single point.
Later in the opening period, Lancers' quarterback Morgan Gallagher ran his way in to the end zone to give Windsor an 8 - 0 edge.
"There's no doubt that Windsor came to play," said Mustangs head coach Larry Haylor. "Their offence ran and threw the ball different than they had in the past and did some things that we weren't necessarily expecting."
After the first quarter the strong play of the Western defence held the Lancers to just seven points for the rest of the game and allowed the offence time to mount a comeback. Jamie Ewart led the defence with five tackles and an interception. Chris Tiede also got in on five takedowns while Craig Richter and Mike Panel each added four.
Western's offence couldn't find cohesiveness during the first three quarters, which resulted in a number missed catches and fumbles. "I wasn't at all disappointed," Haylor said. "Especially with 5 brand new faces on offence. We had been struggling through camp just to manage the basics. I knew our offence would have to make adjustments throughout the game and just hang in."
"The way they changed their defensive fronts and movements really confused our young offense early in the game," he said. "We seemed to gain stability towards the end."
Windsor head coach Mike Morencie was impressed by the Mustang offence's ability to recover after their early struggles. "Their offence really hung in there," he said. "The for the first three quarters but managed to play great down the stretch, especially the offensive line. We had a tough time getting any pressure on them late in the game."
Hatfield had a strong game making 6 catches for 107 yards while fellow receiver James Prescott totaled 77 yards with 4 catches.
O'Brien went 17 for 31 in pass completions and punted 12 times for an average of 52.5 yards. Fullback Fabian Rayne carried the ball 10 times for 80 yards while running back Drew Soleyn compiled 51 yards in 12 attempts.
Despite being labeled underdogs, Morencie was upset his team was unable to pull off the victory. "We really let the game get away from us, we let Western off the hook," he said. "It seemed that Western expected to win. Our kids seemed to be ambivalent and took the attitude that 'hey if we win, we win but it's not what's expected off us.'"
Haylor, however, was not upset by the play of his team and the close score, but believes the Mustangs have a lot to work on in the coming weeks.
Along with the offence, he believes the special teams play will be critical to any future success. "I'd especially like the return game to get a lot better," he said.
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