by Brett Hedges
The Lance – Sports Editor
The 2016 OUA season came to an end for the Windsor Lancers football program with a 38-9 loss to the visiting Laurier Golden Hawks at Alumni Field Oct.22.
The loss gave Windsor a 2-6 record and out a playoff spot in tenth place in the OUA conference. Lancers head coach Joe D’Amore said two consecutive years with only two wins is not where the program wants to be but a tough schedule paired with inconsistent play proved to be their biggest detractor in 2016.
“I thought we showed at times that we were a pretty good football team,” said D’Amore. “Our win over Guelph was signature but we were just too inconsistent this year. Very up and down. We gave up a lot of points on defense and we couldn’t score enough on offence. There is a lot to work out. Two straight year of 2-6 is not good for anyone, no one wants to be that way. We had some success early on in my tenure here and we have to try and get back to that.”
Windsor’s lone touchdown came late in the fourth quarter when rookie Chris Tannous caught his first OUA career touchdown on the final throw of quarterback Casey Wright’s career, a seven-yard strike with 2:26 left in regulation. Clark Green booted a pair of singles and graduating kicker Anthony Malandruccolo knocked in the extra point after Wright’s 10th career touchdown pass.
Quarterback Jalen Brady came in relief and led the Lancers offence completing 10 of 16 passes for 86 yards and one interception. Lancers first year receiver Cassell Jones caught for 41 yards on four catches. On the ground, Tarrence Crawford led the way with 68 yards on 18 carries.
“We have a good group of young people coming up, we’re graduating some pretty good football players but all-in-all we’re still a young football team,” said D’Amore. “Half of our team is first or second year so we need to get those guys in the gym and we need to find some young, good recruits who can help us and we need to evaluate the entire program and see where we go from there.”
Prior to the game, the Lancers honoured a total of 11 graduating seniors, including offensive lineman Randy Beardy and linebackers Joe Iatzko and Frank Renaud, who all gained professional player experience this past summer in the Canadian Football League. As he looks forward towards the next step in his career, Renaud said he is thankful to have played at Windsor and is excited for what the pro playing future has in store.
“The game really put into perspective how short a career can be,” said Renaud. “There are a lot of guys who will never strap up again and it’s crazy to be closer to the end than the beginning now. The program has really helped put me in a position to have opportunities to further my career. There are a lot of decisions I need to make moving forward but I’m feeling optimistic.”
Also graduating from the program are Lancers Anthony Malandruccolo, Jeff Masson, Nick Vincent, David Flewelling, Travis Durocher, Scott McEwen, Matt Lefler, Greg Bolger and Wright.
“We started our tenures together, in my second year this group went to the playoff three straight years to start their career,” said D’Amore. “Their last two years haven’t been great but everything we have done as a program is because of them and we told the young guys they have to get in the gym to help us right the ship and get back on track so in their third, fourth and fifth years, we can get back to where we are or even go further.”