Football goes 3-0 with win over Ottawa

Win over Gee-Gees sees Gaels go two straight games without allowing a touchdown

Queen’s football avenged last year’s playoff disappointment on Saturday against the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees. The Gaels lost 23-13 to the Gee-Gees in last year’s quarter-finals, but didn’t let the past repeat itself, winning 20-8 at Frank Clair Stadium in Ottawa.

For the first time since 2005, the Gaels entered a game without their first-string quarterback, Danny Brannagan, who suffered an upper-body injury in the Gaels’ last game against McMaster. He was replaced by the combined efforts of rookie Justin Chapdelaine and Tom Howes. Chapdelaine filled in for Brannagan in the McMaster game before being replaced by Howes.

“I was really upset about how I played against Mac,” Chapdelaine said. “Being taken out motivated me play a lot harder.”

Chapdelaine said it’s tough being a rookie quarterback.

“When you see a bunch of rushers coming towards you, it’s kind of intimidating,” he said. “As a rookie playing, these are men. Some of them have wives.”

Head coach Pat Sheahan said he was impressed with how the quarterbacks handled themselves.

“There’s an experience factor there,” he said. “With the young guys in, there was some intimidation. … They didn’t shy away.”

Sheahan said Brannagan was healthy before Saturday’s game, but it wasn’t important enough to take the chance.

“If it were a playoff game, we would have played him,” he said. “We felt erring on the side of caution was the most prudent course of action. But he’s all systems go. He’s been green-lighted and he’s looking forward to returning |

this weekend.”

The Gaels’ hadn’t won in Ottawa since 2002 and the Gee-Gees were responsible for crushing the Gaels’ playoff dreams twice in three years. Sheahan said the coaching staff didn’t dwell on their history against the Gee-Gees.

“We didn’t emphasize the playoff loss as a source of motivation or revenge,” he said. “But it’s difficult to do anything around here without people reminding you about it.”

The Queen’s defence held the Gee-Gees touchdown-less, with new defensive lineman Shomari Williams notching two sacks and fumble recovery. Williams, who played last season for the Division I University of Houston Cougars, joined the Gaels for his first CIS game on Saturday.

“Even being a new person on the team, I could feel the energy,” Williams said. “I don’t want to say the hatred, but definitely a sense of rivalry.”

Ottawa running back Jordan Wilson-Ross was posted 232 rushing yards in the Gee-Gees’s previous game against Waterloo but the Gaels held him to 75 yards and the entire Gee-Gee offence to 264.

Williams said his team was well prepared.

“Our defensive co-ordinator [Pat Tracy] told us exactly what was going to happen and what happened was exactly what he said.”

Williams said he brings fire to the team.

“It’s an emotional game and I’m an emotional player,” he said. “I’m kind of an emotional leader when I’m on the sidelines and when I’m playing.”

The Gaels will try to keep their perfect season going when they host the York Lions on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Richardson Stadium.

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