This is a big game on Saturday. A victory is important regardless of whether we make the playoffs or not. It would do a lot for this 2-5 team, certainly emphasizing the improved play of the second half of the season. Gryphon players seem to have the right attitude from the quotes I’ve read in the Mercury.
Laurier fans must be equally disappointed with their season and it comes on top of a problematic 2010 campaign for them. After extremely close games between these two teams in 2008 and 2009 we had two embarassing losses to WLU last season. Sure, there were some extenuating circumstances, not having our starting QB in one game and losing both our QBs in the first half of the second game, but those were disappointing games that I hope our players and coaches will make amends for.
There are also some interesting connections between the two programs. Former Guelph HC Tom Arnott is WLU’s OL Coach. Guelph has three important players on its roster who have transferred from Laurier – Mark Durigon, Chris Rossetti and Saxon Lindsey. And our two coordinators are both former Golden Hawk players and assistant coaches. It’s a credit to WLU HC Gary Jefferies that five OUA coordinators and one head coach developed under him. Kevin MacNeill and Todd Galloway appeared in a brief feature on thescore.ca that looks at his coaching tree.
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It’s almost noon on Friday and I can’t find any previews of the game on the usual websites and blogs. I’ll add links to previews later if I find them. Only Gryphons.ca has come through with a thorough look at this matchup: Gryphons face Golden Hawks in crucial contest. It includes a link that shows the full playoff scenarios.
The 3-4 WLU Golden Hawks did receive one vote in CIS top 10 balloting last week and the guys at the Always OUA blog want to know “Who voted for Laurier?” Good question!
I did see one place where Laurier was listed as a 16-point favourite. That seems ridiculous to me. The WLU defense is not what we’ve seen in the past – ranked 8th in the OUA. And I was impressed with the game strategies OC Todd Galloway plans to use to exploit it (as outlined at the QB Club luncheon this week).