Gael victory boosts team to 2-0

Defence shines in 26-14 football win over Guelph Gryphons

Queen’s defensive back Addison Rich returns a kick in the Gaels’ game against the Guelph Gryphons on Sunday. The Gaels came back to win 26-14.
Queen’s defensive back Addison Rich returns a kick in the Gaels’ game against the Guelph Gryphons on Sunday. The Gaels came back to win 26-14.
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Gaels wide receiver Rob Bagg tries to evade a Gryphons tackler in Sunday’s game.
Gaels wide receiver Rob Bagg tries to evade a Gryphons tackler in Sunday’s game.
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Queen’s linebacker T.J. Leeper stretches to bring down a Guelph ball-carrier on Sunday.
Queen’s linebacker T.J. Leeper stretches to bring down a Guelph ball-carrier on Sunday.
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The men’s football team overcame a slow start to defeat the Guelph Gryphons 26-14 in their rain-soaked home opener on Sunday.

Gaels quarterback Danny Brannagan went 15-32 for 261 yards and two touchdowns while receiver Rob Bagg caught eight passes for 96 yards and

one touchdown.

It was the second week in a row that saw the Gaels come from behind in the second half to win.

Queen’s head coach Pat Sheahan said although he was happy with the win, his team’s slow starts have become worrisome.

“To come back and score 21 points in the second half shows some character. I just wish it didn’t take us so long to get started in the game. We still have to figure out what it is about our first half performance that makes it mediocre.”

Both teams struggled to find their game in the first half.

The Gaels pinned the Gryphons deep in their own end three times but managed only a field goal and a safety in the first quarter.

After a couple of big plays, Guelph took a 14-5 lead early in the second half.

The turning point of the game came at 9:29 when Brannagan threw a 78-yard touchdown strike to second-year receiver Devan Sheahan to give the Gaels a 19-14 lead. Sheahan is the son of coach Pat Sheahan.

“It was a big one for us,” Brannagan said. “To see them come down and score and take the lead:That kicked it in for us that we had to get going and make a strong stand.”

Sheahan said that, like the rest of his team, Brannagan must improve his starts to games.

“If he can sharpen up in the first half, he’s going to be the player we need him to be.”

Brannagan shone a few minutes into the fourth quarter on a perfect 35-yard touchdown pass to Bagg, who cut across the middle of the field and caught the ball just as he hit the end zone.

“The offensive line gave us a lot of time,” Bagg said. “When you give Danny time, he’s going to throw a great ball.”

The defence had an outstanding effort. Guelph didn’t attain a first down until four minutes into the second quarter.

Defensive back Chris Smith was outstanding with eight solo tackles.

Smith credits defensive coordinator Pat Tracey for the defence’s early-season success.

“I was in the right spots all the time. Pat Tracey put me there; I just made the plays,” he said. “I was there because he put me there.”

Both teams played very conservatively at the game’s start—often using the running game—due to the constant drizzle that continued until late in the fourth quarter.

Bagg said the weather shouldn’t have been a factor.

“It’s the same for both teams, so it’s just who wants it more. I think our offence can get much better.”

The team has six days to prepare for their game against the McMaster Marauders, who visit Richardson Stadium on Saturday. The two teams last met in last year’s OUA quarter-final when the Gaels upset the Marauders 25-19 in Hamilton.

Sheahan said he expects a tough game.

“They’re probably still pretty embittered about that playoff loss last year so they’ll come in here pretty fired up and so will we.”

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