Lau­rier ral­lies to top vis­it­ing Wind­sor

Lau­rier stays in OUA play­off chase but reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale is against un­de­feated Western

Waterloo Region Record - - Front Page - MARK BRYSON Water­loo Re­gion Record

WATER­LOO — Kurleigh Git­tens Jr. has made much bet­ter catches than the one that moved his name into the On­tario Uni­ver­sity Ath­let­ics record books.

Still, a record-set­ting catch is a record-set­ting catch, even for some­one who only learned of his mile­stone-in-the-mak­ing on Fri­day morn­ing, less than an hour be­fore his Wil­frid Lau­rier Golden Hawks would face the Wind­sor Lancers at Uni­ver­sity Sta­dium.

“The Wind­sor coach (Joe D’Amore) told me in warmups, but I had no idea,” said Git­tens, an af­fa­ble fourth-year player from Ot­tawa. “It feels nice, you could say that, but life goes on.”

Git­tens, the con­fer­ence’s reign­ing MVP, hauled in his OUA record-set­ting 193rd ca­reer re­cep­tion with a two-yard ef­fort in the first quar­ter of his team’s 39-24 come-from-be­hind vic­tory. The re­cep­tion, on a pass from Lau­rier quar­ter­back Con­nor Carusello, came on a sec­ond-and-five play from the Lau­rier 38-yard line and led to ... wait for it ... a Max Sher­wood punt.

A bit of a letdown, one might say, es­pe­cially when Git­tens fol­lowed up his first re­cep­tion with an im­pres­sive 10-yard catch that led to a Lau­rier field goal. The 13th-ranked prospect for next year’s Cana­dian Foot­ball League draft fin­ished with eight catches for 101 yards and now has 200 ca­reer re­cep­tions, mak­ing him the fifth player in U Sports his­tory with 200 or more catches.

Lau­rier head coach Michael Faulds chuck­led when it was sug­gested a more ex­cit­ing play could have been called on the record-break­ing catch. He then shared part of his pre-game speech that touched on Git­tens and what he’s meant to the pro­gram.

“We have so many great se­niors but this (then) 17-year-old who came to us from Ot­tawa, no one re­ally knew that we were go­ing to be play­ing with, and coach­ing, one of the great­est Golden Hawks ever,” said Faulds.

“We’re all priv­i­leged to be around Kurleigh each and ev­ery day.”

Golden Hawks kicker Nathan Mesher also made his­tory, be­com­ing Lau­rier’s all-time lead­ing scorer with 275 points. The fourth-year player, from Water­loo’s Sir John A. Mac­don­ald Sec­ondary School, kicked four field goals and three ex­tra points for a 15-point per­for­mance. Mesher now shares the all-time field goal record of 53 with Ron­nie Pf­ef­fer, a Cameron Heights alum­nus who is cur­rently with the Toronto Arg­onauts.

As for the nuts and bolts of Fri­day’s game, the Hawks (4-3) kept their post-sea­son hopes alive in front of a school-day crowd of 4,498, with their fi­nal reg­u­lar-sea­son game set for next Satur­day in Lon­don against the Western Mus­tangs (6-0). The Hawks trailed 19-15 at half­time but re­bounded with a 21-point third quar­ter against the Lancers (1-6).

The fo­cus now, said Faulds, is pre­par­ing for Western, not track­ing out-of-town scores that could play a role in the Hawks’ play­off hopes.

“Our sole fo­cus is get­ting to 5-3. Ob­vi­ously, Western is the best team in the con­fer­ence and they proved it last year but for us to get where we want to be, we’ve got to beat a team like Western,” said Faulds.

“Whether it’s in the mid­dle of Novem­ber in the Yates Cup or whether it’s Oct. 20, if we want to be On­tario cham­pi­ons, we have to beat a team like that.”

Levon­dre Gor­don car­ried the ball 19 times for 173 yards and a first-quar­ter touch­down and Carusello, mak­ing his sec­ond ca­reer start, con­nected on 12 of 22 passes, and was picked off once.

Lancers quar­ter­back Sam Gi­rard was good on 25 of 40 passes for 262 yards, two touch­downs and an in­ter­cep­tion.

Tris­tan Carter was his favourite tar­get, mak­ing nine re­cep­tions for 75 yards. Alex Bour­nais and Cody Knights had re­cev­ing touch­downs for Wind­sor, both of them com­ing in the sec­ond quar­ter af­ter Lau­rier had jumped out to a 13-0 lead on two Mesher field goals and a 36-yard rush­ing TD by Gor­don.

Lau­rier re­gained the lead in the third quar­ter on a 19-yard rush­ing score by Kevin Wong. On the en­sus­ing kick­off, Wind­sor’s David Adeni­ran was hit by Lau­rier’s Christo­pher Hag­gart in the end zone, fum­bled the ball, and Es­son Hamil­ton re­cov­ered for a touch­down that gave Lau­rier a 31-19 lead.

Lau­rier fin­ished with 396 yards of to­tal of­fence, com­pared to 262 for Wind­sor.

Water­loo na­tive Dan Stir­ling, for­merly of St. David, had a teamhigh eight tack­les for Wind­sor.

Lau­rier’s Will Amoah, who at­tended Kitch­ener St. Mary’s, paced his team with seven tack­les and added his fourth in­ter­cep­tion of the sea­son.

The Water­loo War­riors (3-3) re­turn to ac­tion Satur­day (1 p.m., War­rior Field) against the McMaster Ma­raud­ers (4-2).

MATHEW MCCARTHY WATER­LOO RE­GION RECORD

Lau­rier's Levon­dre Gor­don scam­pers for some of his sea­son-high 173 rush­ing yards, while Wind­sor Lancers de­fen­sive back Matt Gayer loses his hel­met at Uni­ver­sity Sta­dium on Fri­day.

MATHEW MCCARTHY WATER­LOO RE­GION RECORD

Cole Ver­linde of the Wind­sor Lancers knocks down a pass in­tended for Lau­rier's Kurleigh Git­tens Jr. dur­ing their game at Uni­ver­sity Staduim, Fri­day.

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