Mustangs QB Stevenson Bone
Mustangs RB Cedric Joseph
Mustangs WR Harry McMaster
Mustangs K/P Marc Liegghio
Mustangs S Daniel Valente Jr.
On Saturday afternoon the McMaster Marauders (1-0) hosted the Western Mustangs (2-0) in a battle of undefeated teams in Week #3 of OUA Football competition at Ron Joyce Stadium. Western came into the contest with wins over York (66-3) and Guelph (OT 41-34), while McMaster after a Week #1 BYE; beat Carleton 23-9 on the road in Week #2. Despite having a 47-15-1 all-time record against the Marauders, the Mustangs had just a slight 6-4 advantage on the last ten occasions heading into the weekend. That includes the tight 19-18 win at TD Stadium last season on October 22nd, that allowed the purple and white to clinch first place in the standings. In a game that started off as a defensive chess match, ended up boiling down to a superior offense by Western in a 29-14 win, as the Mustangs remain undefeated in 2017.
In the 14-point victory over the Ravens the Marauders defense was the difference with 4 fumble recoveries and 2 interceptions. They needed another huge performance in order to give their young offense led by Winnipeg, Manitoba Freshman Quarterback Andreas Dueck a chance on the afternoon. After the 1pm kickoff, it was evident that throughout the 1st quarter of play the defenses were cancelling each other out. It was a quarter that featured; 5 punts (3 Western/2 McMaster), 2 fumble recoveries (Fraser Sopik –Western/Alec Robertson – McMaster), a missed 38-yard field goal attempt by Marc Liegghio and a safety conceded by the Marauders for a 2-0 score after 15 minutes of play.
After the 6th punt of the game, third by Burlington, Ontario Kicker Adam Preocanin, the Mustangs offense grabbed the first major of the day in the 2nd quarter. Winnipeg, Manitoba Runningback Alex Taylor came into the game with 195 yards on 31 carries so far in 2017, but with no touchdowns yet to his name. So instead of having him run for a touchdown, they threw for one. With a 1st and 10 situation from the Marauders 44-yard line, the Calgary, Alberta Quarterback Chris Merchant completed a pass to Taylor, who used his speed and determination to punch the ball across the goal line. With the score 9-0 and with only 5:16 left before halftime, Special Teams would play a factor. As Preocanin attempted his 6th punt of the afternoon from his own 38-yard line, the Mustangs blocked it and Aurora, Ontario’s Fraser Sopik recovered it for another Western touchdown to make it 16-0. However, just when you thought the game was about to be dominated by the visiting team, they let their opponent back into the contest. Following Chris Merchant throwing two interceptions on back to back drives and Western’s defense called for pass interference in the end zone; McMasters offense had 1st and GOAL from the 1-yard line with 28 seconds left on the clock. On that play Burlington, Ontario Runningback Jordan Lyons grabbed his first touchdown of the season and first for his team on Saturday to make it 16-7 at halftime.
It’s not uncommon to see a Quarterback change at halftime by a team, as coaches try to make adjustments to swing the battle into their favor, but both squads? Stevenson Bone entered the game for Western over starter Chris Merchant and Cambridge, Ontario Freshman Jackson White was at the helm for McMaster over starter Andrea Dueck. The 3rd quarter of play looked like a repeat of the 1st, with both defenses frustrating their opposition. In a 15 minute span that featured another 6 punts (2 Western/4 McMaster) and a lone 27-yard Field Goal made by Marc Liegghio to make it 19-7 heading into the 4th.
After Caledonia, Ontario’s Nolan Putt intercepted a Stevenson Bone attempted pass to Brett Ellerman to start off the 4th quarter, McMaster would gamble on offense and have it pay off. With the ball on the Western 33-yard line and a 3rd and 1 situation, the Marauders elected to go for it down by 12. Everyone in attendance assumed the typical QB sneak was about to happen and so did the Western defense, only to have Jackson White roll out to the left side to a wide open field. The Freshman on the home opener in Hamilton, Ontario raced all the way into the maroon end zone, bringing his team back into the game, only down by 5 points in a 19-14 game. Unfortunately for the thousands in attendance that was as close as the game would get, as Western controlled the rest of the game, tacking on a Cedric Joseph 3-yard touchdown run and a 26-yard field goal by Marc Liegghio, to bring the final score to 29-14.
The Mustangs improve to 3-0 and remain undefeated in 2017, while McMaster suffers their first loss of the season to drop to 1-1. Fraser Sopik had himself a day with 9 total tackles, 1 forced fumble/fumble recovery and a blocked punt for a touchdown, easily being named the Radio Western Player of the Game. The Marauders will take on a different type of undefeated horse next week at home, as they play the 3-0 Ottawa Gee Gees at 1pm. Western on the other hand will take its 3-0 record to Windsor to play the 0-3 Lancers at 1pm Saturday at Alumni Field, with Windsor coming off an 82-10 loss handed to them by the Gryphons in Guelph. That game will be broadcasted here on Radio Western, tune in this Saturday at 12:50pm, as we set you up for the 1:00pm kickoff from Alumni Field in Windsor, Ontario.
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