TD Waterhouse gets its first Homecoming
Solyen catches TD pass in thrilling
By David Lee
WITH STYLE. The Mustangs' Chris Murphy returns an interception
25 yards for a score during the second quarter of Saturday's
Homecoming game. The Mustangs won the game 41-38.
TD Waterhouse Stadium has finally been christened with a Homecoming
In a game Western head coach Larry Haylor called "as close
as we can get to a must-win game," the Mustangs did not disappoint.
After heartbreaking Homecoming losses the last two years, the
Mustangs football team won a hard-fought overtime game against
the Ottawa Gee-Gees 41-38 on Saturday afternoon.
After ending regulation time in a 35-35 deadlock, the game
moved into the Canadian Interuniversity Sport version of OT,
whereby each team begins its possession on the opponent's 35
yard line. Following an Ottawa field goal, the Mustangs had
to manage at least three points to stay alive. Instead, Haylor
made a gutsy call to go for the win and even the Mustangs' record
Haylor didn't hesitate in making his OT gamble. "The game had
been so back and forth - it seemed to me it was a 'win it or
not win it' moment. [The coaching staff] said 'OK, we're going
to give our guys a chance on third and goal to win it' and let
them make a play and they made it."
Ottawa head coach Denis Piche didn't see Haylor's gambit as
a back-breaker. "You never win or lose a football game on one
play," Piche stated. "To the people in the stands it might be
so, but anyone that knows football knows [it doesn't]. We should
have put the game away in the first half. We never did and it
came back to haunt us."
Western running back Drew Soleyn was thrilled to score the
game-winner but was quick to put his catch in perspective. "We
got a win. That's the most important thing," Soleyn said. "I
saw the ball and thought 'That's the game.' I didn't even realize
it until I was mobbed by everyone else. I was like 'Oh right,
we just won.'"
The game also featured standout play from rookie running back
Randy McAuley. After performing the national anthem with his
brothers - London ensemble The McAuley Boys - the youngest McAuley
had two key 4th quarter possessions, including a 17-yard touchdown
that brought the game to a 35-all tie. "I was thinking, 'We
need to put this one in the end zone,'" McAuley said, when asked
about his tying score. "We got in the huddle, gave some assignments
and we punched it in."
Soleyn believes McAuley will have a bright future. "Randy's
really talented and he's going to be something special. He came
in and had two huge runs that brought us to the point that we
could win the game."
Western quarterback Chris Hessel echoed Soleyn's sentiments.
"He's an excellent athlete with great speed. You're going to
see him in the game a lot more, I think."
A PARTY GOIN' ON RIGHT HERE, A CELEBRATION TO LAST THROUGHOUT
THE YEARS... Kool and the Gang wasn't in attendance at
Western's Homecoming game on Saturday, but after Drew
Soleyn's game-winning TD, the party was on.
Western's special teams were also key in helping the Mustangs
edge the Gee-Gees. First-year player Nick Kordic blocked a key
Gee-Gee field goal attempt late in the game to preserve the
tie and send the game to OT.
The game also saw Hessel set a new Western career passing record
with 5,850 career yards. Hessel surpassed Mike O'Brien, who
previously held the mark with 5,553 career yards. Additionally,
Hessel's two touchdown strikes put him in a tie for the Mustang
career touchdown record of 39, a mark he now shares with Jamie
What will likely be remembered years from now is the nail-biting
excitement of OT. Haylor had further impressions of what could
become known as Western's version of "The Catch" meant for his
team: "It probably lifted us as much as we could have possibly
Piche added his thoughts as well: "If we would have stopped
them, people would have questioned his call and said it was
the worst call in the world. It worked, so it's the best call
in the world. That's what coaching is all about. I'm not surprised
he made that kind of call. I think [Haylor's] proved over the
years that he wants to win."