The Waterloo Warriors football team is headed to the playoffs after a much-needed win against the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks on Oct. 30.
After getting the season off to a flying start with two straight wins, the Warriors came into the last game of the season on the back of three straight losses. Fittingly, in what’s known as the Battle of Waterloo, their opponents were the cross-town rivals: the Golden Hawks.
Laurier and Waterloo had already faced each other once this season on Sept. 25, with the game being the Warrior’s last win with a score of 36-12.
The Warriors got off to a quick start with Cole Crossett kicking a 16-yard field goal to put them up early in the game. Laurier responded with a touchdown later in the first quarter. The Warriors then retook the lead in the second quarter with Nicklas Sua running in the ball from two yards out.
It was a close game for three quarters. The Warriors had a narrow lead, 11-8 heading into the third quarter. Then the dam broke open and the Warriors went on a spree.
It was in the fourth quarter where the Warriors really did their damage, with Tre Ford completing three passes in quick succession for three touchdowns in a minute and 32 seconds — effectively ending the game and extending the Warriors’ season. Crossett added another field goal to make the final score 36-8 and complete the season sweep of the Golden Hawks.
The Warriors now face the first-place Western Mustangs this Saturday in London, Ont.
The Warriors’ men’s soccer team needed all six points going into their home and away games with the Brock Badgers to guarantee a playoff spot for the second time in three years. And with two narrow wins, 2-1 at Brock and 1-0 at home, they got the points they needed.
In the first game, the Warriors needed a late goal from substitute Sasha Dmitrovic who came on and scored in the 78th minute with what was almost his first touch of the game. The defence took over in the second game as Kevin Espiro put the Warriors up early with a penalty in the 16th minute.
“With the Brock weekend, we wanted to get over the line and we did with a two-one victory on Friday and then a one-nil victory at home,” said head coach Mark Worton. “I just have to say we used Warriors’ field as a good advantage and it was a bit of a fortress for us. Because we didn’t lose any home games this year.”
Making the playoffs isn’t the only sign of progress for the team this season. The Warriors were able to take a point from number one seeded Guelph Gryphons for the first time in 19 games with a 2-2 draw at home earlier this year.
The Warriors now face Ryerson on Nov. 3 for a shot at making the OUA Final Four. The Warriors enter the game as underdogs but Worton said he isn’t worried.
“I honestly believe because of the confidence that we’re feeling right now, we know we’re in a game. We enter the game as underdogs. But I have a very good team with seven or eight staff come in and to be quite honest, I think one or two of them will be in the running for rookie of the year this year, just based on the performance thus far,” said Worton.
No matter the result on Nov. 3, Worton said he feels the program is making progress. This year, the team had set out a goal of playing in the OUA Final Four within the next five years. Now, they are one win away from being there in year one.