Mustangs fall 42-39 to Guelph
London Community News
By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
Chris Berman is famously quoted almost every Sunday saying, ‘He could go all the way.’ If the Western Mustangs aren’t careful, they could go all the way to the back of the Ontario University Athletic (OUA) standings after a tight 42-39 loss to the Guelph Gryphons on the road Saturday (Oct. 6).
The defeat brings Western to three losses on the season, something coach Greg Marshall hasn’t seen the Mustangs do since his first year as head coach of the Mustangs in 2007 when they went 5-3. Headed into the game Western hadn’t been beaten by Guelph in five seasons.
Second-string quarterback Will Finch started the game, despite having an emergency appendectomy Monday (Oct. 1). The field general might have needed some more time on the sidelines, throwing more interceptions than he did completions and was eventually held to the bench for good in the second quarter.
“Last night he said he was fine and had no pain throwing. We had met with the doctors and the doctors felt very comfortable in him playing and he wanted to play,” Marshall said, about his choice to put in Finch after regular starter Donnie Marshall injured his right ankle last week during homecoming. “When he was throwing the football it got sore, at that point we’re just not going to take any chances.”
In the rookie quarterback’s short time on the field, he finished with two completions on five attempts for -14 yards and had three interceptions. He was also sacked twice.
By the time Blake Huggins came into the game to replace Finch, Western had dug themselves a deep hole going down 29-7.
The second-year quarterback had never even dressed a game in purple and white colours until Saturday’s matchup, but had practiced with the team all week and has had time learning the Mustang system in the Western-affiliated London Beefeaters program this year.
Huggins looked to fit in well with Western. He didn’t really perform any highlight reel plays and only had modest statistics to end the game (12-for-18 for 121 passing yards and one touchdown), but he was probably the most energetic and excited purple player after every point the Mustangs’ put up. Whether it was after running back Garrett Sanvido’s nine-yard rushing touchdown to start the third quarter to make the score 23-14 or when the Mustangs’ took their first lead of the game with less than 12 minutes to play, Huggins was always the loudest.
“It was really a team comeback,” Huggins said. “Defence was making plays, the offensive line was blocking for me, receivers were making the plays obviously and Sanvido was doing a great job with running the ball.”
The second-year running back punished the Gryphons on the ground and stacked up 216 rushing yards on 30 attempts. This is the sixth-straight game Sanvido has picked up more than 100 yards.
Despite Huggins helping lead the Mustangs to a near comeback, Marshall said Finch will get the start next week (Oct. 13) against the Laurier Golden Hawks who match Western’s record at 3-3.
“If (Finch) is healthy, and I’m sure he will be, most likely he would be our starting quarterback. He got thrown into a tough situation today and the (Gryphons) made some plays on it and it’s one of those learning experience,” Marshal said.
After playing for Western Huggins is forced to miss the rest of the Beefeaters season after he helped the team get to their first playoff game since 1990. He’ll be back with London in a similar spot he played for Western before getting his first OUA action—on the sidelines cheering.