Second quarter breakdown leads to loss

Playoff hopes dim as Gaels enter next weekend desperately in need of a win over the last place York Lions

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A string of six unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter spelt a 44-23 win for the Laurier Golden Hawks over the Queen’s Gaels on Saturday afternoon.

“Our national championship team did not win here last year,” Gaels head coach Pat Sheahan said of the Gaels 25-13 loss to the Hawks on Oct. 24 last season.

“This was something that we could have done that last year’s team didn’t do.”

The Gaels led 10-0 after running back Jimmy Therrien punched in a one yard touchdown at the beginning of the second quarter in front of a tame crowd at Laurier’s University Stadium.

The Gaels’ fortune turned pear-shaped three minutes later when Laurier kicker Nathan Hawkes punted into the Gaels end zone and receiver Giovanni Aprile fumbled the return around the five-yard line.

The Hawks recovered the ball at the one-yard line for an easy touchdown and wound up with another scoring chance on the return.

“When you have an explosion like that, you want to be able to answer,” Sheahan said, “and we come back and fumble the kick return.”

This second fumbled kick return also resulted in a Hawks recovery and subsequent touchdown.

Hawks quarterback Shane Kelly threw for a career-high three touchdowns in the second quarter with all three passes spanning over 20 yards. Kelly had a near-perfect game, completing 15 passes on 16 attempts in the first half and 20 of 30 total attempts for 253 yards.

In the last 10 minutes of the second quarter, the Golden Hawks had scored six touchdowns and a rouge, totalling 43 of their 44 total points.

“We had a 15-minute breakdown,” Sheahan said of the second quarter scoring onslaught.

“We had a couple of special team explosions, defensive explosions and a stalled offence,” he said. “That’s a bad combination when you’re in against a good team in a must-win game.”

The Gaels couldn’t answer back until rookie quarterback Billy McPhee, who relieved starter Justin Chapdelaine in the fourth, ran in from Laurier’s one-yard line as time elapsed in the game.

Chapedelaine passed for 89 yards, connecting on nine of 16 throws with two interceptions.

“If that second quarter didn’t happen, we would have won this game,” Aprile said. “They’re not better than us in my opinion. I think we were destroying them in the first quarter and it just played out wrong.”

Laurier received news late Friday night that an arbitration by the Sports Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada had ruled in favour of a CIS decision to forfeit Laurier’s Sept. 11 win over the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.

Hawks fifth-year defensive end David Montoya, who played in the game against the University of Toronto, was deemed ineligible. He had returned to the Laurier football team five years after playing his fourth year, violating the CIS stipulation that players are only eligible for up to seven years after leaving high school.

The decision meant Laurier’s playoff hopes were dependant on the outcome of Saturday’s game.

Before the game, Laurier was tied with Queen’s and Windsor for second last place in the OUA.

“We talked about that all week,” Hawks quarterback Shane Kelly said. “This was a win that we needed to get if we wanted to continue playing after the season. I think that really helped our mentality.”

Saturday’s loss makes the Gaels’ playoff aspirations dependant on next weekend’s game against the farcical York University Lions at Richardson Stadium.

The Gaels wins over the bottom three teams this season the University of Toronto, Windsor and potentially York will give them the edge if tied for the sixth and final spot in the OUA playoffs.

“We could have very much planned our own destiny here,” Sheahan said. “Although the mathematics still favour us moving forward into the post season, we’re not going to have a home game probably ... But this is the hole we’ve dug. We’ve got a good chance of being in the playoffs and that was the goal from the onset. It could have been prettier.”

The Queen’s Gaels will finish their regular season against the York Lions at Richardson Stadium. Kick off is at 1 p.m.

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