Football topples Mac in semifinal

Win over rival McMaster Marauders sets Gaels a Yates Cup date with the Western Mustangs

Gaels’ running back Jimmy Therrien gets pulled down during Queen’s 36-6 OUA semifinal win over the McMaster Marauders on Saturday at Richardson Stadium. Therrien picked up 89 total rushing yards and a touchdown in the game.
Gaels’ running back Jimmy Therrien gets pulled down during Queen’s 36-6 OUA semifinal win over the McMaster Marauders on Saturday at Richardson Stadium. Therrien picked up 89 total rushing yards and a touchdown in the game.
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Gaels’ linebacker T.J. Leeper drops Marauder wide reciever Michael DiCroce to the ground.
Gaels’ linebacker T.J. Leeper drops Marauder wide reciever Michael DiCroce to the ground.
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Gaels’ running back Marty Gordon goes on a 50-yard run for what would have been the Gaels’ fourth touchdown of the game, but it was called back for holding.
Gaels’ running back Marty Gordon goes on a 50-yard run for what would have been the Gaels’ fourth touchdown of the game, but it was called back for holding.
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Football head coach Pat Sheahan said there was an unusual vibe amongst the Gaels before Saturday’s OUA semifinal.

“There was a different feel to our team today,” he said. “What I sensed was that good kind of anxiety that no coach’s talk can produce.”

It was justified. The 32-6 win over the McMaster Marauders at Richardson Stadium means the Gaels’ will compete in their first Yates Cup since 2002, hosting it for the first time since 1979.

Defensive end Shomari Williams said the he was overwhelmed by the magnitude of Saturday’s game.

“Even yesterday I was so nervous I didn’t sleep,” he said. “It wasn’t because I was afraid of the opponent, it was because of what I knew this game meant to the school and to the University and to the community.”

Williams’s sleepless nights may continue. The Gaels’ Yates Cup opponent is the rival Western Mustangs, who the Gaels beat by a mere point on Oct. 17.

The blustery November weather brought some unconventional occurrences to Saturday’s game. Two passes were called dead balls after bouncing off the uprights, one of which caused a Gaels touchdown to be called back in the second quarter. Later in the same quarter, a tipped ball from Marauders quarterback Kyle Quinlan fell into the hands of Gaels defensive lineman John Miniaci.

Strong wind posed a problem for the Gaels. Quarterback Danny Brannagan only posted 161 yards. He averaged 367 yards per game during the regular season.

McMaster felt the wind’s conceded three safeties in the first quarter instead of punting into the wind from their defensive zone.

Sheahan said the game was decided by how well the teams handled their time against the wind.

“There were a few overthrows on both sides because the ball carries,” he said. “How well you manage yourself into the wind is going to have a significant bearing on the outcome of the game.”

The semifinal game was the second time this year running backs Jimmy Therrien and Marty Gordon were both healthy enough to play together. The two combined for 146 yards and each scored a touchdown.

Therrien, who suffered cramps in fourth quarters earlier in the season, said having an extra running back available made the running game a bigger threat.

“I’m still fresh—could play another game right now,” he said. “Obviously it’s amazing to have both of us healthy and good enough to run the ball and stay fresh. It’s a curveball for the other team too, because me and Marty see different things out there so we hit different holes with different timing.”

The Gaels kept the Marauders from scoring a touchdown for the second time in two games this year. The Gaels won their previous meeting 8-7 on Sept. 12.

Marauders head coach Stefan Ptaszek said the age difference between the two teams was apparent.

“[McMaster] is a team that had 12 first year guys out there,” he said. “It’s not laden with fourth and fifth-year kids like the team we played across the way. So the future is definitely bright and we wanted to take a shot at a team whose future is now.”

For a preview of Saturday’s Yates Cup bout with the Western Mustangs, please see Friday’s issue of the Journal.

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