Ron Joyce Stadium has not been a friendly place for the Gee-Gees in recent years. The team has not won a game in Hamilton for the past seven seasons, a streak that continued on Saturday with a 24-7 loss to McMaster.
Although the Gee-Gees took a slim 4-0 lead into halftime, it was the Marauders’ offensive awakening in the third quarter that proved to be the Gee-Gees’ undoing.
Once again, rookie quarterback Alex Lavric was thrust into action unexpectedly after starter Victor Twynstra went down with an injury early in the first quarter. Unfortunately for the Gee-Gees, the rookie faced one of the best defences in the nation and was unable to get a steady attack going throughout.
McMaster on the other hand, have put their early offensive struggles behind them as they were effective in carving an exhausted Ottawa defence. Losing the time of possession battle hampered the Gee-Gees throughout, a lack of movement on offence translated to a worn down defence in the second half.
Later in the game, the offence opened up and committed to throwing longer passes, letting Lavric show off his arm. Given the strength of defence, the plan showed success which could be the spark the team needs, particularly if Twynstra misses more time.
Fifth-year kicker Lewis Ward continued to be a bright spot for the team, as he was responsible for the team’s seven points, connecting on both of his field goal tries and punting for a rouge. Another positive on special teams is the ever improving return game, Kalem Beaver racked up 111 yards on punt returns, an impressive chunk of the team’s 235 total on the day.
Going forward, the Gee-Gees will take on the winless Windsor Lancers at home, a game that is essential in establishing offensive rhythm before taking on Carleton in the Panda Game the following Saturday.
Kickoff against Windsor is set for 1 p.m. at Gee-Gees Field and will be live streamed on OUA.tv. There will be a ceremony honouring the 20th anniversary the 1997 Gee-Gees team that appeared in the Vanier Cup that season.