Lions look for 1st win against Warriors

York Lions running back Blair Yachetti. Photo courtesy of York University. (York)

Two winless football clubs look to change their fortunes when they face off this Saturday at Warrior Field in Waterloo.

York Lions (0-2) will leave their home turf and go on the road for the first time this season, travelling to face a Warriors team that they have not seen since the end of the 2009 season.

The Warriors (0-2) won that game in decisive fashion, beating the Lions 52-3 in regular-season action.

Waterloo lost its entire 2010 year following a Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) investigation that found several Warriors’ using steroids, as well as one incident of distributing them.

Both teams come into the contest in need of a win, coming off tough losses in each of their first two games.

“It’s never easy,” Warriors’ defensive back Brad Morton told the Toronto Observer. “We just want to forget about the first two games and focus on what we need to do to win the game against York.”

The Lions are fresh off a narrow 10-8 loss to their cross-town rivals the Toronto Varsity Blues in the 42nd annual Red & Blue Bowl and while the defeat was difficult, the team continues to improve and show signs of hope for a bright future.

Waterloo has struggled out of the gates so far falling to both Western and Guelph by a combined 151-35.

“Football means everything to us and to the school,” said Morton. “I think we’re going into this game prepared and we just really want to get our first win after the year we missed, it means a lot to us.”

Neither team appears to have a huge upper hand over the other, but one area that the Lions will surely be looking to take advantage of is the league-high 151 points that the Warriors have allowed in just two games.

On the other hand Waterloo will surely look to expose a weak York offence that is tied for second last in the league with just 15 points total.

Lions to watch

Nick Coutu and Dimitar Sevdin will likely split duties at quarterback for the Lions on Saturday, just as they did in their loss against the Varsity Blues last weekend.

Coutu went 4-9 for 21 yards in that game before being pulled for Sevdin who went 9-22 for 131 yards.

Blair Yachetti will likely lead the rushing game against the Warriors defence as he ran for 83 yards on 20 carries last game, while Nathaniel Griffith is York’s star receiver, catching three balls for 75 yards, including a game-high 48 yarder.

On defence for York, rookie defensive back Marcus Grandison has shown promise so far, leading the Lions in tackles in the first two matches with 6.5 per game.

Second-year defensive back Cory Bellerdine and rookie linebacker Hussein Hazime each picked up six tackles last game and will need more of the same if they are to win.

Warriors to watch

Two of the most important pieces to Waterloo’s puzzle are starting quarterback Evan Martin and his speedy receiver Dustin Zender who hooked up on two touchdowns for 35 and 80 yards.

Martin completed 23 of 42 passes for 314 yards despite being sacked three times on top of countless hits.

Zender led all receivers with seven catches totaling 188 yards.

As far as defence goes, a positive can be found in linebacker Corey Dawson who led all players with eight solo tackles and six assisted, and Reid Nicholson who contributed six solo tackles and four assists.