It's Great to be a Laurier Goldenhawk: The Yates Cup Comeback

This past weekend the Wilfrid Laurier men’s football team brought home the 109th Yates Cup. However, it was not an easy task as they fought a long, hard battle against the Western Mustangs who saw themselves in the same position this time last year falling short of a championship win against the Guelph Gryphons. With the stands full of an extremely high level of spirited Goldenhawk fans, Laurier was able to achieve the ultimate comeback in the history of the OUA at a Yates Cup game.

Photography credit to Kha Vo of Kha Vo Photography / Laurier Athletics and Football!

Brandon Calver, fourth year linebacker, was exceptionally proud of this comeback as he describes the second half of the game. “When we were down 21 points with 8 minutes left it was honestly hard to keep the morale high on the sidelines but I feel the veterans on the team did a great job at making sure we didn’t just give up. We just kept going out there trying to ignore the score and play our best football of the year.” After tying the game with only a few minutes left in the fourth quarter, everyone in the stands was on their feet waiting to see the outcome of Nathan Mesher’s final 26-yard field goal attempt in the last few seconds of what was turning out to be the most pivotal moment for the team. “Having the support of hundreds of students, friends and family in the stands really played a huge part in keeping our team motivated to succeed. Once we had kicked the field goal to win the game it almost felt like that perfect movie ending” says Calver thinking back to those final moments of November 12th.

“I think the thing that really brought us back was our mental toughness. We don’t ever really think we’re out of a game because we have players with faith, heart and determination” says #11 Nakas Onyeka, linebacker and this year’s recipient of the OUA Men’s Football President’s Award. Cousins, Nakas and Godfrey Onyeka were both key players on defence forcing multiple turnovers. After Western responded with their last touchdown to make the score 40-19 Coach Faulds told the team, “guys we’re going to come back, and we gotta do it now, we gotta believe” restates Michael Knevel, fourth year quarterback who led the team to its victory by connecting with Brentyn Hall, Carson Ouellette and Kurleigh Gittens Jr for three solid TD passes to close the score in the last quarter. “He repeated this every scoring drive in the fourth quarter. This motivated us because with little time remaining our coach still believed in our ability to come back from 19 points in 10 minutes.”

Photography credit to Kha Vo of Kha Vo Photography /Laurier Athletics and Football!

Patrick Tape, a first-year Laurier linebacker, had an ACL surgery prior to starting training camp and he was worried about how’d be able to cope after being told football would be difficult for awhile. Fortunately, he was entering a strong system installed by Coach Faulds that offered a lot of support. “After my first day at Laurier I already felt like I was a part of the family. When you feel so appreciated and loved it really affects the way you perform and that’s the strength of this team, we are one.”

It was definitely clear that the “we are one” mantra was taking place as soon as Mesher’s kick was good as thousands of friends, family, and proud Laurier students stormed the field chanting “it’s great to be a Laurier Goldenhawk” to join in an unforgettable moment of celebration.

Photography credit to Kha Vo of Kha Vo Photography /Laurier Athletics and Football!

 “Going into that game nobody expected us to win and for us to win in that fashion really felt surreal. It most definitely took a bit for it to sink in that we had actually won the Yates Cup!” says Brandon Calver. This is just another reason why it is exceptionally great to be a Laurier Goldenhawk because it is always more rewarding to be doubted in the beginning and prove thousands of disbelievers wrong. This team proved that they were more than deserving of this title coming off of a 7-1 season that surprised many.

This coming weekend, Saturday, November 19th 2016, the Laurier Goldenhawks will be battling the Laval Rouge et Or in the UTECK Bowl in hopes of advancing to the 52nd Vanier Cup which will be taking place in Hamilton the following weekend.

Photography credit to Kha Vo of Kha Vo Photography /Laurier Athletics and Football!

From all the ladies at Her Campus Laurier we would like to wish the Laurier Men’s Football team the best of luck this weekend against Laval and know that the entire school is behind you. One play at a time.