TORONTO, ON – Western shut out Laurier in the second half to win their third straight Yates Cup. The Mustangs used a 15 point third quarter to eventually push them to a 29-14 win. Western are now one step closer their third Vanier Cup appearance in five years.
Western coach Greg Marshall once again claiming victory against his former player and OUA coach of the year Michael Faulds. This was the third time these two brilliant minds of the Canadian game met in the highest stakes game in Ontario football. Marshall breaking their Yates Cup deadlock, now holding a 2-1 record versus his former quarterback. In a classic student meets master affair, a tale as old as time, the master still has the edge.
The Western coach’s new star quarterback Evan Hillock made a resilient comeback in the second-half after being rocked in the first half. Hillock missed the majority of the first-half due to a shoulder injury he received while tacking a sack.
Coming out of the break, the third-year quarterback led the Mustangs to a comeback. Western scored on the next three drives with Hillock at the helm. The first two drives ended in Brian Garrity field goals. After Elgersma’s second interception of the game, Hillock needed just one play to make him pay. Seth Robertson beat his man deep giving the third-year signal caller an easy target for their first touchdown to take the lead.
The only points after the Robertson touchdown was a voluntarily safety by Laurier and a couple Garrity field goals. The Golden Hawks couldn’t create any offense for the remainder of the game. It was a combination of shutdown defense and the uncharacteristic play of MVP quarterback Taylor Elgersma. Multiple short drives and plays going in the wrong direction led to the demise of Laurier.
Despite missing their two main running backs Western opened the scoring on the first possession of the game. utilizing the ground game They capped off a long ten-play drive with a Brian Garrity field goal. The Mustangs established the run using Ethan Dolby and Troy Thompson, who combined for 30 of the 55 yards gained on the drive.
Western just spawn new football players like weeds in a lawn. Edwards and Yazbeck gone, here comes Dolby and Thompson who combined for over 200 yards on the ground for the game.
The next possession, Western engage in another long drive taking up nearly five-minutes of game time to bring inside the five. The Golden Hawks defense came up huge, stuffing three near goal line attempts forcing the turnover on downs.
In the second quarter, Laurier found their rhythm. It was very much a mirror to the Western’s turnover on downs drive. The Golden Hawks faced the same decision after failing to score on first and second down. OUA coach of the year Michael Faulds trusted in offense and his MVP quarterback. Unlike Western, Laurier scored in a similar situation. Taylor Elgersma hit a wide open Ethan Jordan in the flat for the games first touchdown.
That rhythm was interrupted by the Western pass rush on the following possession. Elgersma felt the pressure and tried to fit a throw into an impossibly tight window. Mustangs safety Jackson Findley came up with an interception that showed receiver-like awareness. Findley leaped and secured the turnover with a toe tap.
The turnover didn’t shake the Golden Hawks offense. Quentin Scott ripped a 30-yard run getting them into Western territory on the first play of the drive. Elgersma finished off the drive a few plays later, somehow escaping a collapsing pocket and taking it in himself for the major. Elgersma finished the game with more interceptions than touchdowns completing 27 of his 43 passes for just over a 50 percent completion rate, unable to continue his good play into the latter stages of thegame.
It all ended in Western remaining undefeated in the post-COVID era of OUA football. The Mustangs head to the Uteck bowl after claiming the 115th Yates Cup.
FEATURE PHOTO CREDIT: OUA