TORONTO, ON – It’s not often football coaches (or coaches from any sport, really) get to relax.
That is especially not the case on game day. No matter what’s going on in the game, whatever the score, coaches are locked in. Week 7 in U SPORTS football was no different. Of the eight games on the docket across the country, seven of them were decided by one score or less.
What does that mean? Any coaches looking for an easy day at the office were out of luck. Except for Canada West coaches, that is, who were all off this week for the Thanksgiving bye.
TORONTO 24 | CARLETON 27
The first game of Thanksgiving weekend saw the 1-2 Carleton Ravens hosting the 1-1 Toronto Varsity Blues in a Friday evening matchup. Carleton was coming off a loss to their crosstown-rival Gee-Gees in Week 6, and looked to find some consistency. The Blues and veteran quarterback Clay Sequeira didn’t make it easy. They hung with the Ravens through the entire first half, which ended tied at 10. They took an 8-point lead on a 14-yard Sequeira scamper, going up 18-10. The Ravens responded to cut the lead to one, and then took a 24-21 lead on a Nathan Carter 5-yard run with less than five minutes to play. The Blues drove the field on their next drive and tied it at 24 on a 17-yard Chris MacLean field goal. That left Carleton had 1:56 left to engineer a winning drive, and QB Reid Vankoughnett did just that, setting up a game-winning, 21-yard field goal with four seconds left to live the Ravens to a gritty 27-24 victory.
GUELPH 8 | QUEEN’S 14
Also on Friday night, the Queen’s Gaels continued their quest to remain perfect against the Guelph Gryphons on home turf. After beating Western in their opener, Guelph suffered a letdown with a narrow loss to the Windsor Lancers. This game was much less high-octane than the one at Carleton, but was still a battle. Guelph took a late first-quarter lead on an Eric Stranz chip shot field goal, before the Gaels responded with a pair of majors, one late in the second, the other early in the 3rd, both of which came on Rasheed Tucker runs of 10 and 7, respectively. The Gryphons added another Stranz field goal and scored another two on a safety conceded by the Gaels. Guelph got one more chance to tie it up, but pivot Deandre Rose fired three straight incomplete passes to end any hope of a late comeback. The win moves Queen’s to 4-0, firmly entrenching them at the top of the OUA East.
McMASTER 24 | WINDSOR 27 (OT)
Here you have it; this week’s obligatory OUA surprise. (Can you really call anything that happens in this league a surprise anymore? I don’t know.) The Lancers got out to a 11-0 lead on a 20-yard field goal and a Matthew Jones 24-yard TD reception, plus a rouge. The Marauders rallied to tie it in the third, though, thanks to three Adam Preocanin field goals and a conceded safety. Then a 7-yard Justice Allen TD run gave them an 18-11 lead. Windsor wasn’t done, however, tying it at 18 on a David Adeniran 1-yard run. The teams then traded field goals in the 4th –Windsor’s coming on the final play of regulation after kicker Sam Richardson initially missed but was given a reprieve by an offside call – to send it to OT knotted at 21. Preocanin hit a field goal in OT to give Mac the lead, but Windsor got the ball with a chance to do better. After a loss of one on first down, Windsor faced a 2nd and long from the 36, but never had to snap the ball to be given a fresh set of downs. An offside call on the Marauders was immediately followed up by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the McMaster bench. On the very next play, Sam Girard found Callum Bethune in tight coverage for the walk-off touchdown and a 27-24 Lancers win. That moves them into a three-way tie with Western and Waterloo for top spot in the OUA West at 2-1.
YORK 17 | OTTAWA 20
This is a game that had a chance to have major East Division playoff implications. f the Lions could pull off a win, they would move into a tie for Toronto for the fourth and final playoff spot. They got off to a good start, scoring on their opening possession to go up 7-0. There was little offence to speak of through the next two-plus quarters, as the Gee-Gees took a 12-9 lead to the 4th on the strength of four Campbell Fair field goals. Then in the fourth, Ottawa QB Ben Maracle had a pass picked off by freshman DB Mack Bannatyne, who returned it all the way to the house, 64 yards, for his first OUA touchdown. That gave the Lions a 16-12 lead; they would add another point on a Dante Mastrogiuseppe missed field goal. York then got another interception from Maracle but couldn’t take advantage. On the next drive, the Gee-Gees found paydirt for the one and only time, as, with just 1:06 to go, Maracle found Nicholas Gendron from five yards out to cap a 12-play, 74-yard drive before connecting with Nathan Walker for two to go up 20-17. The Lions had one more chance, but QB Noah Craney was intercepted by Alex Douglas to ice the win for Ottawa.
OUA WEEK 5 SCHEDULE
Windsor [2-1] @ Western [2-1] (Sat, Oct 16 – 1:00 pm ET)
York [0-3] @ Toronto [1-2] (Sat, Oct 16 – 1:00 pm ET)
Laurier [1-2] @ McMaster [1-2] (Sat, Oct 16 – 1:00 pm ET)
Carleton [2-2] @ Queen’s [4-0] (Sat, Oct 16 – 3:00 pm ET)
Waterloo [2-1] @ Guelph [1-2] (Sat, Oct 16 – 3:00 pm ET)
ST. FX 21 | MOUNT ALLISON 19
The first game on the AUS ledger in Week 4 was a battle between the only remaining undefeated teams in the conference, the St. FX X-Men and the Mount Allison Mounties. The offences took awhile to get going, but heated up in the second. With the score 5-1 X-Men, 3rd-year Mounties running back Aidan O’Neal ran it in from two yards out to give Mt. A an 8-5 lead. They extended that lead to 11-8 later in the quarter on a 25-yard James Parker field goal. St. FX took responded with a touchdown of their own on another Fagnan-to-Fagnan, Silas-to-Isaac connection, this one from eight yards out, to make it 12-11 St. FX at the break. Three field goals from St. FX kicker Max Capriotti stretched their lead to 10 by the fourth. The Mounties needed a miracle if they were going to stay perfect, and, for a moment, it looked like they may get it. Quarterback Drew Basco found Adam Shamble for a 52-yard major to give Mount Allison a pulse, down 21-19 with 54 seconds to go. The Mounties were unable to recover the onside kick, though, all but assuring an X-Men win to stay perfect at 3-0.
ST. MARY’S 13 | BISHOP’S 14
The Bishops Gaiters were in search of their first win of the year against the St. Mary’s Huskies, who were coming off a nice rebound performance after having a win stripped due to using an academically-ineligible player the week prior. This one was another tight affair that remained scoreless through one. Bishop’s went ahead on the first play of the second, thanks to a 35-yard touchdown pass from Mason McGrisken to Nykolas Pierre-Masse. The Huskies would counter-punch later in the quarter on a 1-yard Malik Williams rush, and took a 9-7 lead after forcing the Gaiters to concede a safety. The Gaiters pounced back in the 3rd as McGrisken and Pierre-Masse hooked up once again, this time on a 13-yard play, to make it 14-9 Gaiters after 45 minutes. After a single point made it 14-10, the Huskies decided to kick a 27-yard field goal on 3rd & 11 from the 20 to make it a 1-point game. The Huskies, however, never again sniffed field goal range – their best chance taken away on their final drive due to a Trydell Mintis fumble at their own 38 recovered by Bishop’s – and came up one point short.
AUS WEEK 5 SCHEDULE:
Mount Allison [2-1] @ St. Mary’s [1-3] (Sat, Oct 16 – 2:00 pm AT)
Bishop’s [1-2] @ Acadia [1-2] (Sat, Oct 16 – 2:00 pm AT)
BYE: St. FX
McGILL 13 | SHERBROOKE 21
This game was going to go a long way in determining the final playoff spot in the RSEQ. Both clubs came in 1-4, with McGill’s only win coming in Week 2 over the same Vert et Or. The first touchdown of this one didn’t come until the second half. With the score 5-3 Vert et Or, Redbirds running back Zacharie Magnan scored from two yards out to give McGill a 10-5 advantage. After a safety put two on the board for Sherbooke to make it 10-7, the Redbirds responded once more with a 30-yard Antoine Couture field goal to make it 13-7. They got the ball back after a Sherbooke punt, but Dimitrios Sinodinos threw one of his four interceptions in this one to give the Vert et Or the ball back on the McGill 25. That set up the go-ahead, and game-winning, touchdown, a 10-yard pass from Antoine Robichaud to Emilio Jaimes Leclair. The Vert et Or added another score late for good measure, and move into sole possession of 4th in the RSEQ standings, exacting revenge for their Week 2 defeat at McGill.
CONCORDIA 10 | LAVAL 36
The Concordia Stingers have certainly been the cinderella story of the RSEQ this season, and probably all of U SPORTS. After three consecutive thrilling victories, they came into their contest with the Laval Rouge et Or on Thanksgiving Sunday with a chance to move into a first-place tie with the Montreal Carabins. After Laval struck first on a Vincent Blanchard 40-yard field goal, the Stingers grabbed the lead. Hec Creighton candidate Olivier Roy spotted Jacob Salvail in the end zone for a 4-yard score to make it 7-3. The teams traded field goals before Aranud Desjardins – starting for a second straight game in place of Thomas Bolduc – connected with Vincent Forbes-Mombleau for a 29-yard major to give Laval the lead back at the half, 13-10. Concordia kept the game close through 30 minutes, but the second 30 was all Laval. Desjardins fired three more TD passes – two to Kevin Mital and another to Antoine Danseraeu-Leclerc – as the Rouge et Or scored 23 unanswered points over the final two quarters en route to a 36-10 win. That moves Laval to 4-2 and means they can finish no worse than 4th in the conference, although unlikely. Concordia, meanwhile, is 3-2, and faces Montreal, who they beat in Week 3 for the first time since 2010, McGill and Sherbrooke over their final three games.
RSEQ WEEK 8 SCHEDULE
Montreal [4-1] @ Concordia [3-2] (Sat, Oct 16 – 2:00 pm ET)
Sherbrooke [2-4] @ Laval [4-2] (Sun, Oct 17 – 1:00 pm ET)