Volume 96, Issue 6
Friday September 6, 2002

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Yeomen next up for improved Mustangs

By Jordan Bell
Gazette Staff


It may have been Windsor and they may have had home field advantage, but anyway you slice it, the Western Mustangs football team's 52-5 victory last Monday looked quite impressive.

However, the Mustangs don't plan on resting on their laurels when they face the York Yeomen at TD Waterhouse Stadium tomorrow at 2 p.m..

"We have a very positive feeling coming out of the Windsor game," said Mustangs head coach Larry Haylor. "But, we don't have a false sense of security."

Mustangs running back Drew Soleyn was electric in the Windsor contest, torching the Lancers defense for 181 yards on 17 carries, including a 75 yard touchdown burst. York head coach Tom Gretes explained the key to containing the Mustangs is containing their elusive back.

"Shutting down Drew is a big thing for us," Gretes said. "Western's passing game is set up by their running game, so we'll try to mix up the fronts on them."

Gretes added, "[Soleyn's] not the fastest guy, but he's a slippery kind of guy. He sets up his blocks, has great vision and hits his holes."

Everything went perfect for the Mustangs on Tuesday. Veteran quarterback Chris Hessel has really come into his own and displayed a cool, calm demeanor while throwing for 308 yards and two touchdowns.

And what can you say about rookie receiver Andy Fantuz that hasn't already been said? The freshman out of Chatham, Ontario caught four passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. It may be premature for the "Tyrone Williams" talk that has surfaced, but it's hard not to respect his performance. Fantuz didn't just open the door on his university career, he knocked it down.

The Mustangs, however, aren't the only squad on cloud nine after their first regular season game. The Yeomen handled the Guelph Gryphons, a traditionally tough squad, 23-11 on their home field of York Stadium.

The Yeomen's strength lies in their defensive line and the veteran leadership returning to the team. Ten starters return on defense and 9 starters return on offense, including fifth-year starting quarterback Billy Barbosa (possibly the greatest football name ever) and 6"2, 230 pound defensive lineman Reet Jana, who was a beast in York's opener, gaining three sacks.

"Their defense is very experienced, athletic and aggressive," Haylor said. "And Barbosa is a great veteran quarterback. They have been good at times on the offensive end, but inconsistent like ourselves."

Soleyn added that sometimes the competition is ignorant of York's ability. "People always have a certain outlook on York because of some of their losing streaks in the past. But, they always play hard and come out tough."

Both teams are coming off impressive opening games and both teams are primed to stamp themselves as early favourites for Ontario University Athletics prominence. The Mustangs, however, may have the ace up their sleeve playing in the home confines of TD Waterhouse, Gretes said.

"It's extremely tough going into Western. Period."

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2002 THE GAZETTE