Queen’s Football serves uOttawa ‘the knockout blow’

Queen’s advances to the Yates Cup after 35-13 victory 

Image by: Curtis Heinzl
Jared Chisari scores a touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Queen’s is going to the Yates Cup. 

The Gaels played their semi-final game at Richardson Stadium in front of an enthusiastic home crowd, dominating despite heavy winds and bad weather. 

“To be able to secure another championship game opportunity two years in a row now is a big deal for our program and we are definitely pushing in the right direction right now so feels great,” Head Coach Steve Snyder said in an interview with The Journal

Queen’s hit their stride early when Alex Vreeken found Aidan O’Neal with a 35-yard pass. 

From there Queen’s kept it up, immediately earning another first down when Vreeken found Richard Burton with a 20-yard reception. 

As they brought it close to the line, Vreeken handed the ball off to Anthony Soles for their first touchdown. That play marked the first of Vreeken and Burton’s many connections. 

“Richard is kind of one of those quarter back friendly guys,” Snyder said. “He’s had a unique ability to click with just about anybody who’s throwing him the ball and that’s a credit to him.”

As for Vreeken, Snyder said he “settled into that game really well.”

The Gaels maintained pressure and possession and despite radical winds, as Tyler Mullan scored a 17-yard field goal for another three points. Soles then scored his second touchdown of the game with another short rush across the line to put the Gaels up 17-0 at half time. 

In the third quarter, uOttawa fought back and used Queen’s confidence against them.

The Gee-Gee’s scored up their first touchdown of the game with a 78-yard pass set by a fake hand-off and pass from quarterback Ben Maracle. 

Soon after their seven points, the Gee-Gee’s earned three more when Queen’s conceded a safety and the Gee-Gee’s forced a rouge soon after. 

“We knew it was going to be a fight. We knew we were going to go four quarters with these guys; its playoff football and they’re a great team,” Burton said in a post-game interview.

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Queen’s tallied a field goal, touchdown, and rouge while uOttawa only scored another field goal. 

With less than five game minutes left, however, Queen’s delivered what Burton dubbed “the knockout blow” on a critical 45-yeard punt return touchdown. 

“I think that big catch in the fourth quarter there was the nail in the coffin,” Snyder said.

After a great conversion from Mullan, the game ended with a 35-13 victory for Queen’s. The team put on a show of excellent teamwork to prove they are ready for the Yates Cup. 

In a post-game interview, Vreeken put it best.

“I’m surrounded by greatness; they’re just going to rise, and I’ll rise with them.”

After a devastating loss in the finals last year, Queen’s is ready for revenge. 

“I think we’re more experienced. I think we’re a better football team […] making that playoff run last year was powerful for our program but I don’t think we were ready to go win a championship. I think this team is in a much better place to be able to compete at a high level,” Snyder said.

Stakes will be high, but the whole team is ready for a fight. 

“We understand that if we lose its over and this group will never be back together again,” Vreeken said. “We just got to play our brand of football.”

In the end, however, Queen’s is just relishing the experience.

“An opportunity to win the Yates Cup is something special,” Burton said. 


Alex Vreeken, Football, home, Richard Burton, uOttawa, win, Yates Cup

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