Richardson Stadium was full of life as past and present Gaels gathered for the Queen’s Homecoming football game last weekend.
After winning their last three games, the Gaels geared up to face off against the uOttawa Gee-Gees on Oct. 21. The Gaels looked to carry their momentum through the Homecoming game held on Oct. 21 and into their playoff campaign.
With Kingston-native quarterback Alex Vreeken, ArtSci ’25, still on the sidelines due to injury, backup quarterback Russel Weir, ArtSci ’26, was on starting lineup for the game.
The Gee-Gees got off to a hot start, putting themselves within field goal range in the first two drives of the game.
A huge interception from Oakville native and defensive lineman Joel Zarowny, Sci ’26, forced the Gee-Gees to turn the ball over, setting a precedent for how Queen’s defense would dictate the remainder of the game.
The Gaels’ offence relied heavily on the run game of running backs Jared Chisari, MSc ’25, and Anthony Soles, ArtSci ’24. Weir eventually hit wide receiver Nathan Falconi, ArtSci ’24, and the Gaels found themselves in scoring position.
Though they turned the ball over on the first-yard line, the Gaels’ defense managed to overwhelm the Gee-Gees’offensive line, forcing quarterback Josh Jansen to concede a safety. The score was 2-0 for the Gaels at the end of the first quarter.
The Gee-Gees came out hot at the beginning of the second quarter, only to be stopped in the end-zone by an interception from defensive back Dawson Matthews-Reed, ArtSci ’24.
While the Gee-Gees once again found their way into the red zone, another vital end-zone interception from defensive back Keegan Vanek, ArtSci ’24, shut down uOttawa’s hopes of taking the lead.
With no points getting past either team’s defensive line, the score was still 2-0 at the end of second quarter.
Turning the tables for the second half of the game, it was Queen’s that came out firing.
With Weir throwing a 42-yard bomb to H-back Niklas Henning, ArtSci ’25, the Gaels set up kicker Tyler Mullan, ArtSci ’26 for a 29-yard field goal. It was now 5-0 in Queen’s favour.
The rest of the third quarter was a close back-and-forth game; with Queen’s conceding a safety, the Gaels entered the fourth quarter up by only three points with a score of 5-2.
The fourth quarter was marked by pouring rain, but up only three points, the Gaels couldn’t let it impede their success.
With just under nine minutes remaining in the fourth, a 22-yard punt return by Vanek set Queen’s up for a promising campaign at the Gee-Gees’ 39-yard line.
Soles then took over, marching the Gaels down the field before punching home a 13-yard rushing touchdown, increasing Queen’s lead to 10-2 over the Gee-Gees. Alongside a successful kick from Mullan to make it 12-2, the Gaels were seemingly out of the Gee-Gees’ reach.
The Gaels’ defense proved to be an insurmountable obstacle for the Gee-Gees, who gave up a touchdown with one second left on the clock. The game ended with a 12-8 victory for Queen’s.
The Gaels increased their win streak to four straight games and cemented home-field advantage as Queen’s looks ahead to the playoffs.
Maintaining his personal momentum, Chisari was a recurring threat in this game. As the main outlet for the Gael’s offence this game, Chisari broke the all-time single season rushing yards record at Queen’s, a record standing since 2007.
Head Coach Steve Snyder was impressed by the team’s performance.
“Our defense was outstanding, just all three levels in the defensive lineman, the linebackers, and for the secondary to pick those two balls off in the endzone. That was ultimately the difference,” he said post-game.
Looking ahead to next week’s playoff game, Snyder hopes that the record-breaking turnout won’t be a one-off.
“I definitely encourage students to come out and just to push us through because we’re going to need it. If we can get the students out again next week, it will make a difference in the game, I can promise you that,” he said.
The Gaels get back to the action in their first playoff game against the Gee-Gees on Oct. 28 at Richardson Stadium.
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