Volume 95, Issue 24

Tuesday, October 16, 2001
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Failed comeback in Kingston

Winning like it's nobody's business

UWO Scoreboard

Failed comeback in Kingston

Sluggish start seals Western's fate

By Ryan Dixon
Gazette Staff

Sooner or later the Western Mustangs are going to have to learn it's tough to get a leg up on the opposition with one foot in the grave.

Saturday, the Queen's Golden Gaels scored on their first play from scrimmage and built a 16-0 lead before the Mustangs got their chin straps done up. Western mounted a strong comeback attempt, but it was all in vain as they dropped to 4-3 on the season, after losing 26-21 in Kingston.

"It was a strange game," said Western head coach Larry Haylor. "It was a game we dominated, but didn't win."

Indeed, the statistical story certainly favoured the purple and white, but Haylor said, even though the Mustang numbers were positive, the final product left something to be desired.

"We got 34 first downs – they had ten. We ran 92 offensive plays, so there was tremendous improvement [over past weeks] but we've had to work unbelievably hard for what we get," Haylor said.

The coach added it's going to take a full team commitment to reap the rewards of their labour. "We're not running what I would call 'finished plays.' We had five to seven plays that should have been long touchdowns and they were not. We need 12 players on the field doing the necessary things – not nine."

Haylor acknowledged his team needs to improve out of the blocks. "We've got to improve how we start. For 10-15 minutes, we didn't look like we had a singular purpose or passion, which is critical," he said.

Beth Kerim/Gazette
I AM AN ARMY OF ONE. Drew Soleyn trudges interpidly across the field holding a ball-shaped object, commonly referred to as a "football."

Queen's bench boss Pat Sheahan said his team's big plays early on set the stage for the victory, but he also said jumping out to a quick lead is not always unconditionally good.

"In my experience, it's not always a good thing to score on your first play from scrimmage – it can give you a false sense of security. No question though, it did jack our guys up," Sheahan said.

The big plays Queen's made were in sharp contrast to Western's inability to generate timely advances. A lack of creating turnovers is also a concern of Haylor's.

"We need to start creating turnovers and limiting giveaways – that's a huge concern. We also need to get better at making plays when we need them," the coach said.

According to Sheahan, the big play was there for the taking late, but Western couldn't capitalize.

"What we did was crowd the line to stop the run and left the big pass play open and they couldn't make it. The opportunity was there for them to win the game with the pass," he said.

Linebacker Darryl Fabiani said, with only one week left in the regular season before the playoffs, the Mustangs will have to step up and play consistent football.

"We've got [defending Vanier Cup champs] Ottawa coming up and that will be a challenge, then heading into the playoffs – we've got to make sure we're tough all the way through," he said.

Despite coming up on the wrong end of the score, Haylor said this was the Mustangs' best effort to date. "It's hard to believe, but this was our best game. We just didn't find a way to win it."

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Copyright The Gazette 2001