The football team won an OUA quarter-final without its starting quarterback on Saturday.
Billy McPhee sat on the sidelines and watched backup Ryan Mitchell complete 23 of 38 passes for 272 yards en route to a 14-10 win over the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks.
Both offences started slow, ending the first half tied 4-4. The Golden Hawks came as close as the Gaels’ one-yard line, but Gaels defensive back Josh Sultana intercepted a touchdown pass from Laurier quarterback Shane Kelly to stop the drive.
Running back Ryan Granberg scored the only touchdown of the game off a 75-yard drive in the second half.
“We took the ball from our own 35, marched it down and scored … the old-fashioned way, by punching it in,” head coach Pat Sheahan said.
Receiver Giovanni Aprile kept the Gaels’ second-half touchdown drive alive by holding on to a first-down catch despite a head-on hit.
“He may have been one of the best players on the field today,” Sheahan said.
Kicker Dan Village made only two of four field goal attempts in windy weather. But Sheahan said Village converted the important ones, including a 29-yard kick at the end of the first half to tie at 4-4.
McPhee was injured on a hard tackle in last weekend’s game against the Western Mustangs. Sheahan said the date of McPhee’s return still isn’t certain. Linebackers Sam Sabourin and Ted Festeryga missed Saturday’s game with injuries and receiver Alex Carroll left the game early with a lower body injury.
The Gaels are on a seven-game winning streak and haven’t conceded a touchdown in three games. The defence had three interceptions and one recovered fumble on Saturday.
Sheahan said the Gaels will have to play their best game of the season to beat McMaster next weekend.
The Marauders won 26-2 at Richardson Stadium on Sept. 5. They finished the season with a 7-1 record and had a first-round bye this weekend.
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