The Gaels have not prevailed over the Mustangs in the last nine matchups they’ve played. Unfortunately, Saturday was no different: Western made it ten with a win on home turf.
This game was part of Western’s orientation activities, so the stands were packed at Western Alumni Stadium. The game began with pomp and circumstance; the cheer squad and marching band set the tone and hyped up the fans. The ultimate display, however, were the two horses riding around the field bearing the Western flag. It was a great atmosphere for OUA football.
Queen’s came into the game riding a high off two straight wins. Head Coach Steve Snyder addressed the expectations heading into the matchup in a pre-game press conference.
“I think our football team is definitely getting used to winning to some extent there. They are starting to believe in those high expectations.”
However, Snyder also understood the grit this game would demand.
“[The Mustangs] are sitting in the driver’s seat, not only in the OUA but in the country, and we feel we’ve got a really good football team and we’ve just got to rise to the occasion and go give them all we’ve got for four quarters.”
When the game began, the first few plays by both teams didn’t capture much yardage. With strong defense on both sides shutting down the running game, it started to feel like a ping-pong match of alternating third-down punts.
The Mustangs decided they’d had enough, and after Queen’s left a connection wide open, Justin Nixon made the catch and ran it into the endzone for the first points of the game.
Western was still dominating as the first quarter ended, and they put up another seven points less than a minute into the second. Queen’s needed to step up.
Heading into the game, Snyder preached the Gaels’ “reset mentality.” It was time to show it off.
Queen’s rallied in the only way they know how: through pure determination. Sitting one yard from the endzone, they lined up and used blunt force to push the ball over the line.
Although Queen’s was getting better at collapsing on defense, Western passes kept connecting. The score was a brutal 21-7 for the Mustangs heading into the second half.
This season, Queen’s has prided itself on halftime adjustments.
“Halftime adjustments are huge for us. It’s something we take very seriously, and we want to play better in the second half having been able to take all the information from the first half and just do some things differently and make adjustments. We’ve been able to do that so far this season,” Snyder said.
Fans were itching to see what would happen in the next two quarters. Unfortunately, Queen’s was unable to pull it off like they had the last two games.
A repeat of the 113th Yates Cup loss became inevitable as the Mustangs scored another 14 points in the second half while Queen’s struggled to put up much. They sent one kick through the uprights earning three points, and Justin Pace forced a rouge.
“Our guys are just excited about going and playing our brand of football for four quarters and seeing what happens,” Snyder said.
Even in a disappointing loss, that’s what they did.
The Queen’s brand of football is unpredictable and resilient. On downs when everyone expected the Gaels to kick, they rushed. When traditional scoring got difficult, Gaels looked to collect points in any way possible. No matter the outcome, the Gaels always bring their own flair to the game.
Queen’s will look to get back on track against the Carleton Ravens this Saturday at 6 p.m. at Richardson Stadium. Despite the recent loss, Queen’s maintains its 5th ranked spot.
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