Golden Hawks are play­ing for po­si­tion

Waterloo Region Record - - SPORTS - Mark Bryson, Record staff

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.”

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