Gaels Blaise past ’Stangs

With an 11th-hour touchdown in barnburner against Western, Gaels clinch first in OUA

Gaels’ quarterback Danny Brannagan scans the defence to make a pass during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Western Mustangs at Richardson Stadium. Brannagan became the second quarterback in CIS history to pass for 10,000 yards.
Gaels’ quarterback Danny Brannagan scans the defence to make a pass during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Western Mustangs at Richardson Stadium. Brannagan became the second quarterback in CIS history to pass for 10,000 yards.
Photo: 
Quarterback Danny Brannagan throws through a crowd at Richardson Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Quarterback Danny Brannagan throws through a crowd at Richardson Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Photo: 
The Gaels celebrate after beating the Mustangs on Saturday. Bottom
The Gaels celebrate after beating the Mustangs on Saturday. Bottom
Photo: 
Corner back Jimmy Allin tackles Western running back Da’Shawn Thomas.
Corner back Jimmy Allin tackles Western running back Da’Shawn Thomas.
Photo: 
Allin looks to make a tackle on Western wide receiver Sean Blake.
Allin looks to make a tackle on Western wide receiver Sean Blake.
Photo: 

The football team was one point away from blemishing their undefeated record on Saturday against the rival Western Mustangs. A 30-yard Blaise Morrison touchdown with 13 seconds left secured a 27-26 win for the Gaels, maintaining the only perfect record in the country and guaranteeing them first place in the OUA.

Western running back Nathan Riva ran a 10-yard touchdown with 1:16 left in the game that gave the Mustangs a 26-21 lead. Western’s touchdown ended a 78-yard long drive from the other end.

Queen’s began their final drive following the touchdown with just over a minute left from their own 25-yard line.

The drive ended with a 30-yard pass from quarterback Danny Brannagan to Morrison, who eluded two tackles for the deciding six points.

Brannagan said a routine simulation in practice equipped his team for the situation.

“At least once a week we have that exact situation in practice,” he said. “Our coaches put us in a hurry up drill where we’re down and we need to score and we have to march a majority of the field. It was something we were prepared for.”

Queen’s led 14-3 at the half, but a potential 21-3 lead was extinguished when Gaels’ running back Marty Gordon’s run from the one-yard line was smothered by the Mustang defence as the half expired. Despite there being no evidence of a hole to run through, Gordon said he blames himself for coming up short.

“That goal-line touchdown should never be stuffed inside one [yard],” he said. “If you’re a running back you’ve got to be able to find a yard.”

Gaels head coach Pat Sheahan said a personnel issue on the play stuffed the Gaels’ momentum.

“We were actually a man short on the play,” he said. “Ironically the guy who should have been covered made the tackle. We could should have come in here 21-3 and really had them back on their heels. Instead we allowed them a big stop and they got a little bit of life.”

Brannagan and Western quarterback Michael Faulds racked up over 350 yards each in their respective campaigns for the most yards in CIS history. Despite one interception and four sacks, Brannagan threw for 436 yards, bringing him within 31 yards of Matt Connell’s record of 10,455. Faulds sustained an ankle injury that saw him helped off the field in the third quarter, but he still posted 385 yards, giving him 10,261 career yards. Sheahan said Faulds and the Western offence were the day’s biggest challenge.

“Where I think the offence got challenged today was their team can hold on to the ball and they can force you to stand there with your hands in your pockets for long periods of time,” he said. “You’re not going to shut them down. You’re going to slow them down.”

The win ensures the Gaels’ playoff games will all be played at Richardson Stadium.

Next Saturday the Gaels are in Waterloo to play the Laurier Golden Hawks for their final game of the regular season.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.