Open season in season opener

Granberg, Wamsley, defensive line shine in blowout win, but Sheahan pushes for more consistency

Queen’s defense will have to account for the loss of two key linemen to challenge for the 2012 Yates Cup.
Queen’s defense will have to account for the loss of two key linemen to challenge for the 2012 Yates Cup.
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Queen’s secured a predictable victory on Monday, defeating the York Lions 48-13.

The Gaels, who were 6th in the CIS pre-season national rankings, has never lost to York. In 2011 the Lions were 1-7, after registering three straight winless seasons.

“Coach mentioned early in camp that we should never take any opponent lightly,” said Gaels quarterback Billy McPhee. “Despite [York’s] record last year, I think the guys did a good job of remaining level-headed.”

Running back Ryan Granberg rushed for 149 yards and three touchdowns, while McPhee tossed a 24-yard touchdown pass to receiver Justin Chapdelaine.

Queen’s scored 33 points in the first 18 minutes, highlighted by Alex Carroll’s 79-yard punt return touchdown.

Despite the early onslaught, the Gaels were sloppy with possession at times. Carroll fumbled on a punt return in the second half, while McPhee threw two interceptions.

“We had bits and pieces on offense,” said head coach Pat Sheahan. “We’re looking to be much more consistent as we go forward.”

Rookie kicker Dillon Wamsley was 3 for 3 on field goals, including a 48-yarder in the first quarter. He also sent a first-quarter kickoff through the far uprights, nailing the crossbar from 65 yards away.

“[Wamsley] had great force on the ball with the wind at his back, and he hit a couple of very good punts into the wind,” Sheahan said. “For a first-year player in his first league game, I thought he did a great job.”

Queen’s defense stymied York’s offensive attack, limiting the Lions to 3.8 yards per rush attempt. Defensive end Cory Dyer led the Gaels with six tackles and two sacks, while defensive back Matt Webster forced a fumble in the fourth quarter.

York’s beleaguered offensive line did quarterback Myles Gibbon no favours, allowing six total sacks and nearly conceding several more.

Gibbon, a transfer from the University of South Alabama, played his first regular season game for the Lions. He completed 20 of 39 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns, including a 54-yarder to receiver Devante Hobbs in the final minute of the game.

Lions head coach Warren Craney was complimentary of the Gaels’ overall performance, listing Queen’s as a potential Yates Cup contender alongside McMaster and Western.

“I think Queen’s is at the top of their cycle,” said Craney. “They’re running on all cylinders on offense, defense and special teams.”

The Gaels will face the Laurier Golden Hawks on Saturday in Waterloo. The game will be televised live on The Score at 8 p.m.

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