Semifinal showdown at Mac

Head coach says starting quarterback Billy McPhee ‘hasn’t been green-lighted’

The McMaster Marauders beat the Gaels 26-2 in the season opener at Richardson Stadium on Sept. 5
The McMaster Marauders beat the Gaels 26-2 in the season opener at Richardson Stadium on Sept. 5

No one outside of the football team knows if quarterback Billy McPhee will start in tomorrow’s OUA semifinal against the McMaster Marauders.

“There’s a chance [he’ll play], but he hasn’t been green-lighted yet,” head coach Pat Sheahan said at the team’s Thursday press conference. “He’s still doubtful for the weekend.”

McPhee sustained an undisclosed injury after taking a hard tackle from the Western Mustangs on Oct. 22. He didn’t play in last week’s 14-10 win over the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks. Backup quarterback Ryan Mitchell completed 23 of 38 passes.

Sheahan said previously injured starters like linebacker Sam Sabourin, returner Alex Carroll, defensive lineman John Miniaci, receiver Giovanni Aprile and running back Ryan Granberg will play against the Marauders.

During the post-season, Sheahan hasn’t provided any injury updates. News that McPhee wouldn’t play in last weekend’s quarter-final was only announced hours before kickoff.

The team’s practices were closed to media this week.

The Gaels lost their home opener to the Marauders 26-2 on Sept. 5.

“We’re a better team now, but so are they,” he said, adding that his team will be the underdog at McMaster.

Tomorrow’s game could pit opposites against each other. The Gaels’ defence allowed the fewest regular season points in the OUA, but the McMaster Marauders’ offence has the most passing yards and the third-most points in the league.

The Gaels are on a seven-game winning streak and haven’t conceded a touchdown in three games. They were named the OUA team of the month for October.

The 7-1 Marauders came second in the OUA to earn a first-round bye. The third-place Gaels finished the regular season 6-2, adding another win in last Saturday’s OUA quarter-final.

Kickoff is tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. at Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton. The game will be televised on The Score.

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