Guelph capitalizes on Queen’s blunders

Chapdelaine and McPhee throw a combined four interceptions to cripple Saturday effort

Gaels aim to clean up mistakes for game against Ottawa.
Gaels aim to clean up mistakes for game against Ottawa.
Credit: 
Supplied Photo By Jeff Chan

After losing 21-15 to the Guelph Gryphons on Saturday, the Gaels enter two challenging matchups with a disappointing 1-2 record.

This weekend they face off against the nationally ranked University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and the 3-1 Western Mustangs the following week.

Head coach Pat Sheahan said that the results were disappointing.

“We didn’t quite execute to the level that we’re capable of,” he said. “It was an unfortunate set of circumstances. I thought that the game was boiled down to a couple of plays and if we make them we win. Unfortunately we didn’t.”

Sheahan said there’s room for improvement and pointed to the team’s receiving ability as an area they will work on.

“There was lots of good effort,” he said. “I thought that people really tried. But ... in some instances, they were trying a little too hard.”

Even with rookie Billy McPhee entering the game late in the third quarter and making an impressive attempt at a comeback, starting quarterback Justin Chapdelaine’s ability was not questioned by the coach. Sheahan remembers his second-year quarterback’s impressive performance against the Windsor Lancers.

“If you go back to last week, Justin was terrific,” he said. “As a young player, there were a couple instances [where] not all of it was his fault. There were a couple drop balls that really could have made a difference in the ballgame when Justin was in there.”

First-year quarterback McPhee entered the game and threw the Gaels’ only touchdown of the game to receiver Chris Ioannides. He finished 10-for-18 for 119 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

“[McPhee] has demonstrated that he has certain capabilities,” he said. “He’s got a very strong arm and there were times in the ballgame when bringing him in enhances our offensive potential.”

Rather than place any weight on his young quarterbacks’ shoulders, Sheahan deflected the attention to himself and his coaching staff.

“We’ve got two very capable players,” he said. “Moving forward ... I’m afraid the pressure’s on the coach on how to use them properly.”

The late rally by McPhee would not have been necessary if the Gaels could have cleaned up their mistakes, the most glaring being the eight turnovers committed by Queen’s.

“At any level you can’t win games if you have four interceptions,” Sheahan said. “You can’t be turning the ball over and expect to win. Unfortunately that happened on the weekend.”

The Gaels were also thwarted by a missed call from the officials who later came over to apologize. Although as Sheahan said there is little comfort in the apology.

“On Guelph’s touchdown run where the quarterback scored, they had 13 men on the field,” he said. “The referees have apologized for it. [It] doesn’t help us at all I’m afraid.”

A scary moment for the Gaels occurred in the last quarter when Ioannides fell awkwardly and had to be helped off the field. Sheahan said he will be missing time which is unfortunate due to his impressive play against Guelph.

“Chris’ injury is not as serious as we thought,” he said. “He’ll probably be out at least two weeks.”

The nationally ranked University of Ottawa Gee-Gees will be in Kingston on Saturday to face off against the Gaels. Sheahan said that along with the team being the best in the OUA, they also bring to Richardson Stadium one of best quarterbacks in the CIS, fourth-year Bradley Sinopoli.

“We’re playing against the top team in our conference,” he said. “Everybody needs to bring their ‘A’ game. We need to be able to do what’s required to move the football with a bit of consistency ... We need to be able to score some points, lay much better on special teams and slow them down a little bit.”

Sheahan said that much of the season’s difficulties have come down to the huge turnover in the Gaels’ roster.

“The reality is that we have a number of new players in new roles,” he said. “They’re learning those roles and have to perfect the technique and get better.”

The Gaels face off against the nationally ranked University of Ottawa Gee-Gees next weekend at Richardson Stadium. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

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