Second-year receiver Tristin Park hauls in his first career touchdown. Photo: Michael P. Hall.
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Golden Hawks’ rushing offence too strong  for U of O in opening match-up

The dawn of a new season saw the young University of Ottawa Gee-Gees facing off against the Laurier Golden Hawks on the road.

The last time these teams met, it was a 65-30 blowout victory for the Golden Hawks. While this one was considerably closer, despite some strong offence late in the game, the Gee-Gees ran out of time and fell 39-21.

While the Golden Hawks were coming off a preseason match-up versus McGill, it was the first time the Gee-Gees had taken the gridiron this year.

Partly for this reason, the fast-paced, no-huddle Laurier offence was hard to handle early in the game for the young Gee-Gees defence, as the Hawks marched the ball down the field for a touchdown within the first three and a half minutes of play.

“We have a lot of athletes on both sides of the ball,” Golden Hawks head coach Michael Faulds said on the OUA TV broadcast post-game. “Week one is always tough because you’re not sure what you’re going to do, but I’m proud of the effort in all three phases of the game.”

On the next drive, the Gee-Gees came up with some serious fortune when a pass intended for Kalem Beaver was tipped into receiver Carter Matheson’s hands, who caught the Golden Hawks’ defence by surprise and took it 66 yards down the field. It would be the longest play of the game for the Gee-Gees, setting them up for their first score of the game.

The Golden Hawks run-heavy offence continued to grind the Gees’ defence down into the second quarter thanks to running backs Levondre Gordon and Kavantye Bailey.

“Yeah, Levondre had a big first half with 100 … and then we kind of leaned on the fullbacks in that second half to create a lot of first downs running the ball,” Faulds said.

Led by Gordon, the Hawks racked up more than 200 yards on the ground for the game.

Penalties were a major factor affecting the Gee-Gees throughout, as they were penalized for a total of 145 yards.

Second-year U of O quarterback Alex Lavric, addressing media after the game, agreed this was something to be improved.     

“We have to work on the little things,” said Lavric. “We have to cut down on the penalties and smooth things out, but other than that I’m excited to see what is ahead. If our offence clicks and comes together, I think we can be a force to be reckoned with.”

The Gee-Gees didn’t get their first major until the third quarter when quarterback Lavric connected with Tristin Park for a 15-yard touchdown pass to make it a 26-14 game. It would be Park’s first career touchdown for U of O.

Their second touchdown came in the fourth quarter on another pass from Lavric to Dylan St-Pierre, and despite some more crucial penalties, this kept the Gees in the game for a while.

From there, the Gee-Gees were unable to recover their deficit as the momentum slowed to a halt in the hot weather. That is where the game would remain until the clock hit 0.

Next up, the Gee-Gees return to Ottawa for their home-opener Sept. 2 to take on the McMaster Marauders. You can find tickets to the game here.