Win & in for Queen’s

The Gaels dominate the York Lions to grab the last spot in the postseason

The Gaels scrape into the playoffs with a 52-14 win over the York Lions at Richardson Stadium on Saturday. The Gaels will play the McMaster Marauders next Saturday in Hamilton.
The Gaels scrape into the playoffs with a 52-14 win over the York Lions at Richardson Stadium on Saturday. The Gaels will play the McMaster Marauders next Saturday in Hamilton.
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This weekend was do-or-die for the Queen’s football team. The Gaels’ needed to win to secure a playoff position but also depended upon a Toronto loss to the Western Mustangs, a game that the announcers were keeping fans updated on throughout the Queen’s game.

The crowd at Richardson Stadium was forced to multi-task on Saturday while watching the Gaels defeat the York Lions 52-14. The action on the field was the least of their worries as Queen’s scored early and often in their victory over the winless Lions.

Toronto offered Gaels fans a nervous first half as they led the Mustangs 17-9. This even prompted one fan at the football game to start a ‘Let’s Go Western’ chant—likely the first and last time this chant will be heard at Richardson. The Mustangs came out on top in the second half winning 35-23.

Although the team couldn’t ignore the booming announcements, linebacker Sam Sabourin said that their focus had to be on the game they could control.

“When I heard that score, I was a little nervous,” he said. “But we just wanted to focus on York.”

Head coach Pat Sheahan said that if Toronto had beaten Western, they would have been deserving of the playoff berth. But he said the team was confident that Western would be able pull off the win.

“Western was not going to lose to Toronto at home, that wasn’t going to happen,” he said. “But it did shake people up a little.”

The Gaels dominated the first half of the game against the Lions scoring four touchdowns before York was even able to score, midway through the second quarter. Quarterback Justin Chapdelaine threw four touchdowns and ran one in before he was relieved by rookie Billy McPhee in the fourth quarter.

The highlight of the game was kicker Dan Village setting a team career scoring record with 271 points over his five-year career as a Gael. The announcement of the record at the end of the second quarter brought the 2,123 fans to their feet.

Sheahan said that although Queen’s was able to limit errors against York, they should keep the game and their opponent in perspective.

“We got off to a terrific start,” he said. “We got lots of good things done today. Moving forward the degrees of freedom are significantly less [for error] ... Let’s also be mindful [of] the York team, I recognize where they are, their situation is what it is so you can’t take too much to the bank from this win.”

This season has seen the Gaels both on the winning and losing side of blowouts as well as nail-biters like their game against the Ottawa Gee-Gees. Because of this, the Gaels have found themselves at the bottom of the OUA standings, fighting for a playoff spot. Sheahan however said this is not representative of the football team’s skill or effort.

“We are not a lower tiered team,” he said. “The scores against the lower tiers are indicative that we are significantly better than that. We have to come up with an error free game when it counts to keep playing. The reality is that Ottawa and Western [are] the two teams that were out front. I think the four teams that are left are pretty close to one another.”

All three of the Gaels’ wins have come at Richardson Stadium. Due to a sixth place finish, the Gaels will not have home advantage in their playoff games. Sheahan said he was less worried about their opponent and more about his team stepping up in a rival environment.

“I’m more concerned about the fact that we haven’t won a game on the road,” he said. “The challenge there is that we have to go into the other team’s ballpark and come up with an effort that is worthy of moving onto the next round.” Sabourin said the Gaels will be able to start fresh next week against the McMaster Marauders.

“The only thing we’ve really cared about these last couple weeks was getting in,” he said. “Now that we’re in the playoffs, everyone’s even. [We] can’t wait to go out there and show what kind of team we are.”

The sixth seeded Gaels will travel to Hamilton this Saturday to take on the McMaster Maurauders. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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