Golden Hawks are playing for position
WATERLOO — The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks have already secured a spot in the playoffs.
The next two weeks are all about positioning.
The Golden Hawks (5-1) play the penultimate game of their Ontario University Athletics regularseason football schedule Saturday at Alumni Stadium against the Guelph Gryphons (3-3) and wrap it up one week later at University Stadium against the McMaster Marauders (5-1).
With wins in both games, the Hawks will leave nothing to chance and earn a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Other scenarios come into play with anything less than back-toback victories.
“It’s nice to control your own destiny at this time of year, we don’t have to scoreboard watch and we can literally just take care of our business,” said Golden Hawks head coach Michael Faulds.
“It (first-round bye) is really important if your team is banged up and currently, we’re a little banged up, as often happens this time of the year.”
The Golden Hawks are expecting a tough clash against the Gryphons, a team that hasn’t played since rallying for a 53-49 win over the Waterloo Warriors on Sept. 30. Guelph currently occupies the sixth and final playoff spot.
Guelph’s losses include a 24-21 overtime loss to the Ottawa GeeGees on Aug. 27 and a 41-34 overtime loss to Western on Sept. 4. The Gryphons’ only lopsided defeat took place on Sept. 23, a 29-9 loss to McMaster.
Gryphons’ starting quarterback James Roberts went down with an injury after taking a nasty hit against McMaster and Faulds isn’t certain whether he’ll be back for Saturday’s game. Backup Theo Landers made his first career start against Waterloo and turned in a solid performance, completing 16 of 26 passes for 206 yards and rushing for a team-high 106 yards on 13 carries.
The Golden Hawks are preparing to face both quarterbacks, a situation that is similar to what took place last month they were hatching a defensive game plan to control the Waterloo Warriors’ quarterback tandem of Tre Ford and Lucas McConnell.
“With either one, it’s going to be a stiff challenge for us. Defensively, they’ve got some outstanding players, and offensively, they’re pretty balanced,” said Faulds.
“We’re going to have to play a lot better than we did last Thursday (a 53-31 win over the York Lions) but our guys are ready for that.”