Volume 95, Issue 21

Wednesday, October 10, 2001
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Blues a Thanksgiving treat

Ripken closes the books on career

Big Four duke it out in the West

Damn those Yankees!

Mustang Weekend Scoreboard

Blues a Thanksgiving treat

Mustangs have 43 reasons to smile

By Jordan Bell
Gazette Staff

The Western Mustangs football team is no longer singing the blues.

The University of Toronto Varsity Blues came into TD Waterhouse Stadium Saturday afternoon with a confident swagger, but eventually left with their tails between their legs, after the Mustangs laid a 43-1 beating on the hapless Blues.

Things didn't start so smoothly though – the first play from scrimmage, a fumble by running back Drew Soleyn, brought back memories of the last two weekends.

The Mustangs were bullied by the McMaster Marauders 48-10 two weeks ago and then lost an uninspired Homecoming game to the Waterloo Warriors 22-3. But Mustang head coach Larry Haylor said the key to his team's success was their ability to weather the storm.

"We survived the early going," Haylor said. "We came out tight in the first quarter, giving the ball away right off the bat."

The onslaught began when Mustang quarterback Chris Hessel threw a perfectly lobbed spiral to receiver Preston Haynes in the right corner of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown. Haynes made a highlight reel lunge for the ball and notched his first touchdown of the season.

Hessel, who has struggled as of late, had a solid day. The 26-year-old signal caller was reading his receivers routes and crisply passing the ball where it was supposed to be, instead of just blindly launching away like he did in the McMaster and Waterloo games.

He finished 17 for 24, with 253 passing yards, one touchdown and most importantly no interceptions. Haylor was pleased with his leader's performance.

"The balls were thrown very well," Haylor said. "He threw well under pressure and also to the weak side."

Lauren Starr/Gazette
I LOVE MY BALL - BUT I MUST LET IT FLY. Mustang quarterback Chris Hessel launches the pigskin under pressure from Blues free safety Jalal Shah and a hidden defender.

Slotback Guillaume LeRoux was the strongest offensive player throughout the game. LeRoux caught four passes in key third quarter moments for a total of 80 yards receiving.

LeRoux made it clear how much this game meant to the Mustangs.

"The game was great for everyone," LeRoux said. "We know we're a good team – we have confidence. We're just young and we will get better every game."

As has been the case much of the season, the Mustang defense continued to carry the load and gave the offense time to work out its kinks.

Linebacker John Hammoud tallied six tackles and recovered a fumble, defensive end Graig Richter sacked Blues quarterback Carter Livingstone twice and defensive tackle Jeff Deimling contributed five key tackles.

Linebacker Darryl Fabiani, the second leading tackler in Ontario University Athletics, added his usual might with four tackles and a recovered fumble.

Still, the Mustangs were, at times undisciplined. Haylor seemed disgusted with the Mustangs penalties – an astonishing 14 for a loss of 120 yards. "The penalties were a consequence of us making mistakes, procedure penalties. I was disappointed in the first half in particular."

When your team is on the losing end of a 43-1 score and you haven't won a single game since 1997, it's tough to find any satisfaction. Blues head coach Bob Laycoe summed up his feelings. "We were obviously disappointed with the outcome. Every time we play Western it's a real battle, so we expected a tough game."

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Copyright The Gazette 2001