Football throws Toronto in the oven

Gaels work off tough loss by cleaning out Toronto’s defence on Thanksgiving weekend

The Gaels dominate the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 66-1 over the Thanksgiving break.
The Gaels dominate the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 66-1 over the Thanksgiving break.

Only a week after the University of Toronto Varsity Blues shocked football fans with their win over the Ottawa Gee-Gees, the Gaels wasted no time bursting their bubble, crushing the Blues 66-1. Queen’s defeated them Saturday at Richardson Stadium, improving their record to 2-4.

Although much attention is focused on their losing record year-after-year, the Blues had some good publicity this past week after defeating Ottawa, the third overall ranked team in the CIS.

In one of the biggest upsets in recent history, the Blues defeated the Gee-Gees 40-35. They may receive another boost from the OUA because the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks may have to forfeit their earlier win over Toronto after one of their players was deemed ineligible. This would improve Toronto’s record to 3-3.

With a confident Toronto team coming to Richardson Stadium over the Thanksgiving weekend, many believed the Gaels could be facing another challenge in their bumpy season. Linebacker Sam Sabourin said it only made the team look to quiet the doubters.

“Every time you beat a nationally ranked team, you’ll get some publicity,” he said. “Either way we’re going into the game with the same mindset, it’s a must win. It probably helped some guys play a little harder this week.”

Sabourin is continuing to build on his explosive rookie season with 10 and a half tackles in the game and one interception. He’s currently leading the CIS in total tackles with 49.

With a 2-4 record, the Gaels could feel their season slipping away from them after a dismal showing against the Western Mustangs last weekend. Offensive lineman Matt O’Donnell said the team knew the importance of this weekend and what the win could mean for the team’s postseason hopes.

“Definitely a must win game,” he said. “We had to make sure we beat these guys to get the head to head line up if we have the same record at the end of the year. Just get another win for the column.”

For quarterback Justin Chapdelaine, the game was more than just a win. He had the game of his young career. Throwing to four different receivers, Chapdelaine became the first player in Gaels history to throw for six touchdown passes in one game. He finished 21 for 25, throwing for 284 yards and ran for one touchdown, his fifth of the season.

Chapdelaine said he was proud of his team’s consistent effort throughout the game, even in the clear win for the Gaels.

“We wanted to come and show up today,” he said. “I felt like that’s what we did. Offensively we had a great start which is what we needed. We executed throughout the game, the whole entire game. ... I felt like we played great throughout the entire game.”

The Gaels don’t want to look too far ahead in the schedule. Queen’s controls their own playoff destiny and will need to win against Laurier and York to have a hope of making the postseason.

“We’re just worrying about getting into the playoffs,” Chapdelaine said. “We don’t care where we go. We feel like the OUA is up for grabs. There’s been a lot of upsets. We want to go and win all these upcoming games and get fired up for the playoffs.”

Head coach Pat Sheahan, who coached his 100th regular season game against the Blues, said the Gaels had a hard working attitude going into the game.

“What we talked about is that every Saturday offers a clean slate, new opportunity,” he said. “I’ll be the first to admit that things hadn’t gone as we had planned this season ... But getting that win, we’ve sort of put ourselves in a position to earn our way into the playoffs and perhaps finish higher than sixth also.” Sheahan said the Gaels had long been overdue for such an offensive explosion.

“We wanted to be intimidating with the run, make them have to load up and stop it,” he said. “[Chapdelaine] was extremely efficient. He had very manageable throws. I thought the receivers played very well today and also blocked very well today too. I thought overall it was our best offensive game. It was nice to have a break out game so the guys could get some confidence.”

The Gaels managed to shut down the Blues until the final minute when Toronto scored a rouge. Sheahan said the single point proved a lesson to the Gaels who were unable to complete the shutout.

“I thought it was a fitting way to end the game,” he said. “I thought that it was just a reminder that it’s a 60 minute game and you’ve got to play all the time. We certainly have to be focused all the time.”

The Gaels wil be in Waterloo this Saturday facing the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Score.

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