Aidan’s Angle: Looking back on the Gaels 2023 football season

The Gaels were OUA semi-finalists

Image supplied by: Journal File Photo
Gaels put up a 5-3 season record this year.

The Gaels wrapped up a solid season last Saturday after a devastating loss to the Western Mustangs 47-20 in the OUA Semi-finals. While disappointing, their season offered much to look forward to for the Gaels Football program. 

Starting the season with one win and two losses, the Gaels were off to a shaky start. Despite their starting quarterback, Alex Vreeken, Kin ’25, getting injured in the Gaels’ third game of the season, Queen’s showed immense resilience and finished the regular season with a record of five wins and three losses. 

Several Gaels stepped up throughout the season. Quarterback Russel Weir, ArtSci ’26, put up several great performances, and helped the Gaels secure a playoff spot despite a subpar start to the season. Running back Jared Chisari, MSc ’25, posted a legendary season by breaking the all-time single-season rushing yards and single-game touchdowns records at Queen’s. He lead the entire country in rushing yards, with a total of 1,178 yards. 

Chisari’s breakout season as the league’s top rusher stood out as a bright spot along the Gaels’ 2023-24 campaign, tallying 1,379 rushing yards throughout 10 games. Averaging almost eight yards per carry, Chisari asserted himself as an enigma for an opposing team’s defenses, and an efficient option for the Gaels’ offense. 

Defensively, we saw lineman Van Wishart, Kin ’24, step up big-time, recording 34 sack yards on the season, which is the third most in the league. Similarly, defensive lineman Darien Newell, ArtSci ’24, who was named an OUA first-team all-star, recorded 33 sack yards and total of 29 tackles. 

After closing out the season with a four-game winning streak going into the playoffs, the Gaels stayed hot when they beat the uOttawa Gee-Gees in a competitive 15-10 victory in the OUA quarter-finals. Advancing to the semi-finals, the Gaels hoped to continue their hot streak and take down the Western Mustangs, a feat the team hasn’t been able to accomplish for 12 straight matchups. 

Although the semi-final game against Western was Vreeken’s first game back, he still connected on a number of drives, one of which being a 31-yard gain where he teamed up with wide receiver Aidan O’Neal, MIR ’25, setting up Chisari for Queen’s lone touchdown in the game. 

Vreeken finished the game recording 263 yards while going 21-40 on passing attempts, providing Gaels fans with a substantial amount of promise to look forward to next season. 

Missing Vreeken for majority of the season, and clawing their way back to a 5-3 finish, the Gaels showed immense promise this season. Head Coach Steve Snyder showed off the versatility of his offense, and his team embodied the true defensive powerhouse it strives to be. 

While we hoped to watch a bit more Gaels football this year, we can all look forward to watching talents like wide receiver Jack Ashby-Jacobs, ArtSci ’27, running back Jaden Blackman, ArtSci ’26, and linebacker Justin Pace, ArtSci ’26, continue to develop and step up for Queen’s Football. 

Although the Gaels’ season is over, it’s not quite the end of football season in Kingston, as Queen’s hosts this year’s Vanier Cup at Richardson Stadium on Nov. 25. 

If all goes as I expect it to, I’d expect to see the Mustangs and the University of Montreal Carabins continue along their trend of dominance and kick off against each other for the Vanier Cup. Seeing as the Mustangs were able to knock our Gaels out of championship contention, I’m making them my pick to bring the Vanier to Ontario. 


Aidan’s Angle, men's football, OUA championship

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