Photo by Thomas Kolodziej
WATERLOO, Ont. - Dillon Campbell of Whitby, Ont., rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns to eclipse 1,000 yards on the season as the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men's football team defeated the York Lions 27-10 on Saturday afternoon at University Stadium.
Campbell, a fourth year running back out of St. Mary CSS, became the fifth player is school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season. Through five games this year, he has amassed 1,021 yards, an average of 204.2 yards per game.
"It's unbelievable when you think it's only been five games," said head coach Michael Faulds of his running back's success. "What he's doing – and I know he's going to give all of the credit to the o-line – but I'll stand here and give him credit. He's an unbelievable running back and he works extremely hard. He's a good leader for us, and he gained a lot of tough yards today. He popped through on two runs, but most of the runs were really tough runs."
"Honestly, I'm just thinking forward to Western," commented the ever-humble Campbell. "It's great to get over 1,000 but to get this win, it's a tough win and we faced adversity, but we overcame it to take over the Lions."
Receiver Scott Campbell of Cambridge, Ont., also had a big afternoon for the purple and gold as he had 132 all-purpose yards, highlighted by a 71-yard rushing touchdown that put the game out of reach for Laurier in the fourth quarter.
In what was a much closer game than many expected, the Hawks had the wind in the first quarter and took advantage of it. After kicker Ronnie Pfeffer of Kitchener, Ont., recorded a rouge on a 65-yard punt, D. Campbell scored his first touchdown of the afternoon on Laurier's next possession. From his own 50-yard line, he broke outside and ran away from the York defenders for a 60-yard major, giving Laurier an 8-0 lead.
Leading 10-0 heading to the second quarter, the Hawks' offence stalled as they only picked up four first downs against the wind, allowing York to climb back into the game. A pair of field goals and a rouge from kicker Nick Naylor of Abbotsford, B.C., pulled the Lions to within three points at halftime.
The third quarter was not much better for Laurier. With the Lions doing a good job of maintaining possession against the wind, quarterback James Fracas of Waterloo, Ont., and the Hawks' offence were only able to manage a 34-yard field goal from Pfeffer in the quarter. However, the continued strong play of the Hawks' defence kept them in front 13-7 heading to the fourth.
With a possible upset looming over their heads, the Hawks responded in a big way. D. Campbell featured heavily in an 11-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off by his second touchdown of the day, a 17-yard score, to give the Hawks some breathing room. The touchdown run also pushed D. Campbell over the 1,000 yard mark and gave him 10 touchdowns on the season, matching the second-most in school history.
Laurier put the game out of reach on their next possession when Fracas faked the handoff to D. Campbell and instead gave it to S. Campbell who broke his way through the Lions' defence for his second career touchdown.
Despite the loss, Bennett had a breakout game for York and helped keep his team in the game all afternoon. He finished the game throwing for 255 yards and rushing for a team-high 62 yards.
Despite the strong afternoon from the Lions' pivot, Laurier's defence contained him when needed, led by a strong effort from Ese Mrabure-Ajufo of Mississauga, Ont., and the Hawks' defensive line. Mrabure-Ajufo recorded a season-best 5.5 tackles, including 2.5 sacks, while fellow defensive end Kwaku Boateng of Milton, Ont., had a team-high 6.5 tackles and a sack. In total, Laurier's defence registered six sacks and are now second in the OUA in total sacks with 17.
With the victory, Laurier improves to 4-1 on the season and sit in a four-way tie for second place in the conference along with Guelph, Windsor and Western. The Hawks will have a chance to break away from at least one of those three teams next week as they travel to London to battle the Mustangs on Thursday, October 9.
"Our guys are ready," said Faulds, who will return to coach at his alma mater for the first time as Laurier's bench boss. "We've got a really short week, we go down to London on Thursday, so it changes our schedule quite a bit. Our guys will be ready. They'll be excited to play at Western. "
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
NOTES: Pfeffer's third quarter field goal was the 50th of his career…receiver Anthony Pizzuti of Hamilton, added another six catches to his season total and now has 28 on the year…attendance at the game on a rainy afternoon was 806.