Humbled Gaels looking for an upset

Gaels football season on the line against nationally ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees

Even after a frustrating loss to the Guelph Gryphons last week, life goes on for Gaels football. With five games left, the team has plenty of time to pull itself together and redeem a less than magnificent opening.

Last week’s game against Guelph was a transition into the core of the season, but this week’s “Rivalry Weekend” against the Ottawa Gee-Gees, the second ranked team in the CIS, will be a no holds barred cage match against a very good football team. Head coach Pat Sheahan discussed the history between the two clubs.

“There is no question that historically, Ottawa has been the proverbial thorn in the paw of Queen’s,” he said. “I think there [are] generations in Queen’s football that look back to games with Ottawa with disdain. They’re a good club, they’re aggressive.”

One of the major weapons on the Ottawa offence is Bradley Sinopoli, their starting quarterback. He currently leads OUA quarterbacks in every passing category: completions, pass attempts, yards thrown, touchdowns and longest pass. Not only has he been an outstanding passer but Sinopoli has also racked up 194 rushing yards in his four games with an average of 12.13 yards per rush.

“He’s a prototypical quarterback, just a hair under 6’3”,” Sheahan said. “He throws the ball well [and] he can take off spontaneously. He’s a complete package guy. He’s also a veteran; he’s got a few miles under his belt.”

Success will certainly come from being able to neutralize such an asset in the Ottawa offence.

On the other side, quarterback Justin Chapdelaine will retain the starting role despite some struggles in last week’s affair. To lead the team to success, Chapdelaine will need to continue to mix up accurate passing with an occasional scramble while limiting turnovers. Last week’s three interceptions crippled the team’s efforts at coming back. Sheahan said he feels the mistakes were not entirely on Chapdelaine’s shoulders.

“The previous two weeks against McMaster and Windsor he was able to throw some deep balls, very effectively actually,” he said. “There were a couple of deep balls that got away from him in the [Guelph] game. That was really all that he was responsible for in the game. Justin played well enough to win the game … but the supporting cast didn’t step up.”

The Gaels are new to losing and haven’t liked the taste that they have gotten so far. Following the Guelph game everyone was hungry for more practice and a chance to redeem themselves. Lineman Matt O’Donnell explains that the team relishes the weekend matchup.

“A lot of people felt really uneven after the Guelph game, not a lot of people are used to going 1-2 and having a losing season here at Queen’s,” he said. “A lot of guys want to get after it and play these guys, especially since they are top ranked in the whole country.” Ottawa will provide them that opportunity, but it will not be easy to come out with a win.

Rivalry Weekend will take place this Saturday at Richardson Stadium. The Ottawa Gee-Gees come to town tauting a 4-0 record. Kick off is at 1 p.m.

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