Volume 95, Issue 17

Friday, September 28, 2001
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Mustangs look to steady the ship

TD Waterhouse - good or bad?

Kwiatkowski- the next Steve Nash? Anything's possible

Elliotte Friedman: a reporter and a gentleman

Smith taking sports out to the Mustang masses

Mustang Mike Pasel holds the line on defense

As good as it gets

Mustangs look to steady the ship

Waterloo Warriors invade the Forest City

By Ryan Dixon
Gazette Staff

Beth Kerim/Gazette
HOMECOMING IS ALWAYS AN EMOTIONAL EVENT AT WESTERN. Western will be spreading lots of love to everyone - except the visiting Warriors from Waterloo Saturday.

After a lopsided loss to McMaster in Hamilton last week, Western's gridiron warriors hope coming home will cure what ails them.

Opposition during the annual Homecoming game will be the 2-1-1 Waterloo Warriors, a team Mustangs' head coach Larry Haylor said will definitely be ready to do battle.

"They have great physical presence on both sides of the ball and on special teams as well," Haylor said.

As far as what the Mustangs will have to do to reverse their fortunes from last Saturday's game, Haylor said his team must be much less charitable. "We have to take better care of the football. We had five interceptions and five fumbles – three of which Mac recovered – eight turnovers usually results in a significant difference of score."

Haylor added it's not just the offense that will have to tighten up. "Defensively, we're going to have to be better up front. We will need great play against the option, power and quickness of Waterloo," Haylor said.

One of the question marks that popped up after last week's loss was who would be taking the snaps for Western's Homecoming match?

Haylor cleared the air saying Chris Hessel would start and offered an explanation for the quarterback's struggles against the Marauders last week.

"In fairness to Chris, we probably didn't have the best week of preparation and he had a lot to work through. With youth, you've got to be patient and allow errors to be learning steps," he said.

Wide receiver James Prescott said improving the offense will have to be a group effort. "Watching the film [from the McMaster game], there was a lot of times when one guy would miss an assignment or two guys would miss an assignment, so I think the biggest thing is just to have 12 guys going together."

Last weekend, it merely took a five minute outburst from the Marauders to bury the Mustangs. Haylor said Western will have to be quick on their feet to ensure there is no domino effect this Saturday.

"The essence of football is a killer instinct and Mac demonstrated that. We demonstrated an inability to react," he said.

Haylor once again pointed out the value of patience with a young team. "It can be hard to stem the tide with young people and the only way to get through it is to play, gain experience and move forward," he said.

Defensive lineman Graig Richter said this week is an opportunity for Mustang redemption. "What happened last week, happened last week. It's only one game of the season and you can bounce back. It's our Homecoming so it's a big game – we'll have to get some respect back by knocking off Waterloo," he said.

Of course, this being Homecoming weekend, emotions will be running high. When asked if the added excitement could motivate his club, Haylor was optimistic, but cautioned it could be a double-edged sword.

"I hope [the emotion helps], but I also imagine it will help Waterloo. They're a veteran team and will be motivated by the environment. Our guys will be excited; this is our fifth game of the year and only our second home game so just playing at home will be nice," he said.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001