Hoping to regain some momentum before starting a new season in the playoffs, the Lancers Football team was badly upset Saturday by the last place Waterloo Warriors 48-29 at Warrior Field.
The upset was both quantitative and emotional. “This was a very disappointing loss, despite the fact that it didn’t have any bearing on our playoff position. There was no sense of urgency in the kids, and it showed as we turned the ball over eight times,” lamented coach Joe D’Amore in reference to the overall team effort, which included six interceptions and two fumbles en route to a resounding defeat.
The loss was a bittersweet moment for Jordan Brescacin, who broke two more conference records in the final regular season game of his career. Notwithstanding the problematic errors of the offensive unit on this outing, Jordan now holds the CIS record for single season catches with 68 besting the old mark of 63 set by Craig Spear of Queen’s. His career total of 190 receptions beat the OUA all-time record established by his Tiger Cats mentor Andy Fantuz.
“He’s obviously a dynamic player and those records are deserved as many of those balls were caught in key situations,” said Windsor quarterback Austin Kennedy of Brescacin’s accomplishments.
“He’s the guy you go to on second or third and short, and when the play breaks down.”
D’Amore added, “Jordan’s record setting accomplishments were the only good things that happened today.”
Yet, with regard to the slipshod performance of his team and what it would take to get ready for their playoff game with third place Western this Saturday, D’Amore commented, “I don’t think I need to get them motivated for this. I’m getting to understand my team better. I simply stated to them after the game, ‘How do you want to be remembered?
If we beat Western next week people will forget the Waterloo defeat, but if we don’t, do you want people to remember your last game as a defeat to the last place team?’”
However, D’Amore pointed out that if they take care of the football, they can beat Western. “We’ve got to play conservative. In 2011, we had 14 turnovers. This year, we have 28 so far.”
Kennedy, the undisputed leader of the Lancers on and off the turf, took direct responsibility for the turn-over situation. “I just gotta be smarter with the ball by making safer, more conservative throws and not take unnecessary risks,” he said.
Both Kennedy and D’Amore agree that they are not yet the caliber team that can make costly errors, like the conference leaders.
While the Lancers won the topsy turvy first half 21-16 of Saturday’s game, Waterloo’s Paul Cecile’s 60-yard touchdown run at 12:14 in the third quarter got the formerly lackluster Warriors fired-up to take the lead and never look back. Ironically, the Waterloo attack was led by their third string quarterback Ben Hall, who entered the game in the second half and rallied for 32 points on 11 completions for 196 yards, including two touchdowns.
Kennedy had another 300-plus yard before being replaced late in the game by Andrew Downer. He added to his touchdown count with a three-yard keeper and seven-yard bullet to Evan Pszczonak in the first quarter, as well as a 12-yard lob to Brescacin in the second.
Mitch Dender also ran back a Waterloo kick-off in the fourth to cap Lancers scoring. Unfortunately, the Lancer defence allowed 49 points total on the other side of the ball, and that, coupled with the aforementioned Lancer turnovers, was their undoing once again.
Despite the disappointing loss, the Lancers hopes of winning the Yates Cup is still alive, as they were allowed to remain in the playoff picture by virtue of an OUA tie-breaking scenario.
It remains to be seen whether the Lancers can match their playoff run last year by finally unleashing the full fury of their receiving corps with a prospective upset victory in the first round against perennial rival the Western Mustangs Saturday in London, Ont. at 1 p.m.