Volume 95, Issue 36
Tuesday, November 6, 2001
Fairy tale end doesn't come true
Questionable call mars big game
By Jordan Bell
Watching the Ontario University Athletics semifinal between the Western Mustangs and the McMaster Marauders was like sitting through a roadrunner segment in Loony Tunes.
Every time Wile E. Coyote, in this case the Mustangs, thought he had the Roadrunner, the Marauders, trapped, that wily bird eluded him once again.
The Marauders came up with all the big plays in a 46-20 victory at Les Prince Field in the steel city. Mac gave Western such sound thrashing Saturday, you could almost see the stars and little cuckoo birds circling the Mustangs' heads.
The defeat eliminated the Mustangs from post-season play and propelled the Marauders to the Yates Cup.
The disappointment was clearly evident throughout the squad. Quarterback Chris Hessel put it into words.
"It definitely hurts," Hessel said. "It was a tough loss but you can't hang your head. You just have to look forward to next season."
The Mustangs clipped at the heels of the Marauders throughout the second half until an extremely influential play sent a dagger through the Mustangs' hearts.
The Marauders were stuffed on a third-down-and-one situation with 8:44 remaining and the score 25-20 in favour of McMaster. Amazingly though, the ball popped loose and Marauder quarterback Ben Chapdelaine corralled it and ran 53 yards for the touchdown.
A chorus of boos rained down from the Western faithful. Many fans and Mustang brass believed Marauder fullback Kojo Aidoo had been downed and the play should've been whistled dead.
Western head coach Larry Haylor was in that group.
"Watch it on the replay," Haylor said. "He was laying on his back. The ball was down, dead, done, finished. It was a big moment in a big game, but we had lots of chances."
As expected, the Marauder offense was explosive.
Ben Chapdelaine continuously exploited the Mustang secondary, throwing for 460 yards, 244 of which were to rookie receiver Vaughan Swart. Swart was a one-man wrecking crew, pulling down big catch after big catch and finishing with ten receptions.
Marauder head coach Greg Marshall was highly critical of the Mustangs defensive play calling. "They didn't mix it up at all. They played nothing but man coverage, blitzing every time. You put kids into that situation, you're going to get burnt."
The passing game and lack of Acme gadgets wasn't all that boggled the Mustang psyche. Running back Kyle Pyear gained 106 yards rushing to go along with two touchdowns and Aidoo steamrolled the Mustang defensive line for 64 yards and a touchdown.
On the Mustang side of the ball, running back Drew Soleyn continued his solid play, gaining 93 yards on the ground. Hessel, who has drastically improved throughout the year, threw for 297 yards. His main target was receiver Preston Haynes who caught four balls for 107 yards.
But, in the end, the Mac attack inflicted too much bleeding, as Hessel bluntly afterwards, "the better team won today."
Sadly, despite his daring and creativity, Wile E. was foiled again.
Copyright © The Gazette 2001