London ball

Western Mustangs hold off Windsor Lancers to advance to 7-0

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The Windsor Lancers gave the Western Mustangs a good scare on Saturday afternoon.

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But three touchdowns and a 25-point fourth quarter ultimately secured the Mustangs’ seventh-straight football team win in a 50-18 decision Saturday at Windy Western Alumni Stadium.

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“Their coaches know what we’re doing very well,” said quarterback Evan Hillock, who was 17 of 25 for 299 yards, two touchdowns and a rushing major. “They hung around but you have to hang around four quarterbacks with us. Congratulations to Windsor, they are a good team and they did their thing. We still scored 50. I just told the guys to keep fighting, they did a great job and (a) good win.

Western (7-0) will end the regular season in Ottawa next weekend against the Gee-Gees (6-1), who crushed York 66-0 on Saturday. This game will decide first place in the Ontario conference and the winner will earn a bye to the opening round.

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“It’s a playoff game,” said Hillock, the 2021 Vanier Cup MVP. “It’s our mentality. We have to go to them and it’s a long trip. We have to lock down this week. The playoffs start now.

Hillock, normally a pocket passer behind a strong line, showed that postseason desperation by hiding the ball and running for 14 yards early in the fourth quarter. That gave Western a two-touchdown lead, but did little for his coach’s anxiety level.

“(I) hold my breath when Evan takes off with the football,” Mustangs boss Greg Marshall said. “He missed a few guys, broke a tackle, went out and I just want him to get out of bounds.”

It was his plan – after sneaking past the orange pylon, Hillock joked. Windsor coach Jean-Paul Circelli and his team did a terrific job of slowing Western’s run, although the Mustangs eventually got four rushing touchdowns – two by Edouard Wanadi and Keon Edwards escaped for 157 yards on 20 carries.

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“It’s a good lesson for all of us,” Marshall said. “We like to run football, but if they are committed to stopping it, we have to start it. We have to catch the football more regularly than we are. Just flat (beginning). Windsor did a good job of mixing. In three-a-side football you have to be productive on the first try and sometimes we weren’t.

But they made big plays on defense.

Bruce Maas, who admirably filled the shoes of graduate Deionte Knight at defensive end, went wild for a forced fumble and recovery to keep the Lancers on their heels. Western Stoppers held Windsor to 270 total yards.

“It was a lot of fun,” Maas said. “I came off the edge and they weren’t really blocking me. I just tried to put the ball on the ground and I thought, might as well grab it too.

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Defensive turnovers gave Hillock and Co. the time they needed to retreat. Seth Robertson’s one-handed touchdown catch and Wanadi and Edwards’ ball carrying eventually helped break Windsor’s momentum.

Robertson, the deep threat, finished with 163 receiving cards on seven catches. He had a few adventures on punt return serve, but the elements were a factor.

“There was more wind than you think,” Marshall said. “The sun was there. Seth isn’t too shaken up. Those abandoned punts, he’s already forgotten about them. It is roughly balanced.

It’s the pedigree of the championship that comes into play.

Forty-five minutes into a tight game, the Mustangs didn’t panic.

They will need that confidence in Ottawa – and beyond.

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Twitter.com/RyanatLFPress

West 50, Windsor 18

Mustang touchdowns: Edouard Wanadi (2), Keon Edwards, Seth Robertson, Evan Hillock, Savaughn Magnaye-Jones

Lancers throw-in: Chris John

Next: The Mustangs end the regular season next Saturday in Ottawa. Game time against the Gee-Gees is noon.

GAME STATS

West 50, Windsor 18

At Western Alumni Stadium

first quarter

WU – TD Edwards run 4 (Garrity kick) 1:42

WU – Security 3:32

UW-FG Lidster 26 6:46

WU – Security 12:35

WU – TD Wanadi run 1 (Garrity kick) 15:00

second quarter

UW – Security 12:49

Third quarter

UW-FG Lidster 32 5:16

UW-FG Lidster 39 8:34

WU – TD Robertson 10 Hillock pass (Garrity kick) 13:30

UW – TD John run 2 (Lidster kick) 15:00

Fourth trimester

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WU – TD Hillock run 14 (Garrity kick) 2:31

WU – Security 4:29

WU – TD Magnaye-Jones pass from Hillock (Garrity kick) 6:10

WU – TD Wanadi run 23 (Garrity kick) 11:35

WU – Security 12:30

UW– 3 2 13 0–18

UT– 18 0 7 25–50

Individual

Rushing: UW-Zorn 11-58, John 9-53, TD, James 5-20. WU: Edwards 20-157, TD, Wanadi 9-53, TD, Hillock 1-14, TD.

Passes: UW – Skelton 10-17, 119 yards, Shim 2-4, 12 yards, 1 INT. WU: Hillock 17-25, 299 yards, 2 touchdowns.

Reception: UW: Amoah 3-55, Pytka 4-33, Mihailides 1-18. WU: Robertson 7-163, TD, Magnaye-Jones 4-71, TD, Nickson 1-22.

  1. University of Windsor Lancers football team head coach Jean-Paul Circelli, center, is shown during a practice.  (Dan Janisse/Postmedia Network)

    Can the London-led Windsor Lancers hurt the No. 1 West Mustangs?

  2. Four Waterloo Warriors take down Western Mustangs running back Edouard Wanadi during their match at the Western Alumni Stadium in London on Saturday September 24, 2022. The Mustangs won 66-3.  Derek Ruttan/The London Free Press/Postmedia Network

    Running back’s four-touchdown night keeps Western Mustangs undefeated

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