Football falters in final seconds

Tough games ahead for 2-2 Gaels

Receiver Billy Burke evades a tackle during Saturday’s game.
Receiver Billy Burke evades a tackle during Saturday’s game.
Jeff Chan

It seems impossible that a football team could be leading a game with zero seconds remaining on the
clock and still lose, but that’s exactly what happened to the Golden Gaels last weekend.

Last Saturday night, the Gaels’ fell to the Waterloo Warriors 14-13 at University Stadium in Waterloo.
A last-second touchdown from Warrior quarterback Jon Morbey capped a thrilling see-saw battle in which the lead changed hands four times and twice in the final two minutes.

The Gaels have now dropped two games in a row after winning their first two.

The schedule doesn’t get easier for Queen’s either, as their next two games are both against teams
in the CIS top ten. They head to Hamilton on Saturday to face the third-ranked and undefeated McMaster Marauders at 2 p.m. this Saturday before returning to Richardson Stadium to face the fifth-ranked Ottawa Gee Gees on Oct. 7. Queen’s was the favourite going into the game against the Warriors, particularly because Waterloo had only narrowly escaped defeat at the hands of the University of Toronto the week before. The Gaels took an early lead with a field goal from kicker Ryan
Elger, whose 35-yard score put up the only points of the first quarter.

It set the tone for a defensive duel in which only 13 points were scored by both teams in the first three quarters of play. Waterloo took their first lead of the game after an effective red zone drive in which Morbey found fullback Ryan Felhaber in the end zone from four yards out. Queen’s responded with another Elger field goal in the dying seconds of the first half. The 19-yard kick made the score 7-6 in favour of Waterloo at halftime. The score remained that way through the third quarter, setting up an exciting final frame. A single from Waterloo punter Jason Cook narrowly extended the Waterloo lead to 8-6, where it remained until Queen’s fullback Mike Giffin found the end zone from two yards out with only 1:04 left in the game, giving Queen’s the 13-8 lead.

But despite the Queen’s comeback, Waterloo’s Morbey strung together a last-minute comeback of his own.

On second and goal, the Gaels’ defence managed to sack Morbey, bringing up the third down at the
Queen’s nine yard line with only two seconds left in play. Morbey’s pass into the end zone was incomplete but Queen’s was called for pass interference, bringing Waterloo to a first and goal, on the 1 yard line, with no time left on the clock.

Morbey took the ball himself and scored the decisive major, making the final score 14-13 on what was literally a last-second play. Morbey completed 15 of 29 passes for 143 yards and one passing touchdown. He also rushed for 117 yards on 12 carries, out-rushing starting running back Travis Gellatly. Gellatly had 70 yards on 15 carries. Waterloo tore up the Queen’s rushing defence for 206 yards on 33 carries, averaging over six yards per carry. Conversely, the Queen’s rushing attack faltered, gaining only 74 yards on 25 carries.

Gaels’ Quarterback Danny Brannagan completed 16 of 27, with no touchdowns and one interception.
Brannagan is currently tied for first in the league in both interceptions and touchdowns, with seven and eight respectively. Star wide out Brad Smith returned to form for the Gaels after being held to mostly short gains in the homecoming match-up against Windsor.

Smith gained 90 yards on 7 catches, including one 47- yard catch. However, Smith has yet to score a touchdown since the record-tying four majors against Guelph.

The Gaels’ defence also continued to be a bright spot for the team, performing well despite the
absence of injured star linebacker Ian Hazlett.

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