Opening week doesn’t go as planned for warrior football with loss to McMaster

The Warrior faithful came out in strong numbers for Sept. 6’s game against the McMaster Marauders. Attendance was recorded at 2,265 for Black and Gold Day.  While they certainly had the fans’ support, the Warriors were unable to come away with the victory in front of the enthusiastic crowd, falling 66–0 to the Marauders. The Warriors move to 0–2 on the season, while McMaster improved to 2–0.

The absence of Christian Mahler, a four-year defensive back, was certainly felt as McMaster produced 348 yards on the ground of their 650 yards total.

The Marauders were rolling on offence: riding the coattails of a wave of momentum picked up from a thrilling come-from-behind overtime win in week one against the Guelph Gryphons. Since the late stages of the third quarter of that game against Guelph, the Marauders had been averaging about 18 points a quarter. This production was maintained up until the third quarter of Saturday’s game against the Warriors.

Starting quarterback Jamie Cook threw for .500 on the day, making five completions on 10 attempts for 46 yards before being relieved by rookie QB Lucas McConnell. McConnell had a strong outing on offence, moving the Warriors ahead several times on separate drives and showing strong promise for the future of Waterloo Warriors football, earning player of the game honors. McConnell threw 4–for–11 on the day, picking up an identical 46 yards to Cook’s.

Second-year QB Kyle Ross, who typically comes in during second or third and short situations to punch the ball ahead and earn first downs, even got a few reps behind centre during the fourth quarter and completed the quarterback rotation. Ross threw 2–for–4, earning seven yards on the day.

McMaster’s second-string QB Asher Hastings came into the game early during the second quarter and also had a strong showing. After a shaky start, which almost saw a Waterloo fumble recovery followed by an interception, Hastings eventually settled into his role on the field. He threw 10–for–12 on the day, earning 211 yards.

There were some touching moments on the day. Chris Pezzetta, a third-year running back, earned his first OUA touchdown after missing his first two seasons, a result of consecutive MCL injuries in back-to-back years. Pezzetta returned from the end zone to a reception on the sidelines by the Marauders. Stephen Kofi-Akuffo received similar praise for earning his first career OUA scoring major after putting on football gear for the first time in four years.

One point of pride for the Warriors was the performances of Greg Zaitz and Yazeed Sinan, who have 15 and 14 tackles respectively, putting them fourth and fifth for number of tackles in the OUA. Zaitz also currently leads the league in assisted tackles.

The Warriors will be in action on next Saturday, Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. as they make the trip down University Avenue to take on their rivals, the 1–1 Laurier Golden Hawks. The Warriors will be in action at home the following Saturday, Sept 20 at 1 p.m. as they take on the Windsor Lancers.