Golden Hawks clipped in quarter-final

Defence holds Laurier off the board, while running back Andrews compensates for injured Granberg

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Rnning back Jesse Andrews amassed 135 yards against Toronto.
Rnning back Jesse Andrews amassed 135 yards against Toronto.
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Defensive back Matt Webster broke up a pass in Queen’s quarter-final shutout of Laurier.
Defensive back Matt Webster broke up a pass in Queen’s quarter-final shutout of Laurier.
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A faultless performance has Queen’s positioned for a shot at revenge.

The Gaels blanked the sixth-seeded Laurier Golden Hawks 34-0 in the OUA quarter-final on Saturday. The win sets up a road semi-final match-up with the second-seeded Guelph Gryphons on Nov. 3.

Guelph defeated Queen’s 33-28 on Oct. 13, scoring 30 straight points to end the game and snatch the OUA’s second post-season bye.

Despite facing a slightly more arduous playoff route, the Gaels’ defence pitched their first shutout of the season against Laurier.

“The game plan was to out-physical them, and I think we did that,” said defensive end Derek Wiggan. “We knew we had some mismatches up front, and we wanted to take advantage of that.”

Queen’s defensive effort was the biggest mismatch, as the Gaels exploited a Laurier team that didn’t score a touchdown in October.

Laurier’s offense never advanced the ball past Queen’s 41-yard line, handing the Gaels six points on conceded safeties.

Wiggan led the defensive charge with two sacks, while linebacker Sam Sabourin recorded six tackles. Defensive back TJ Chase-Dunawa sealed the spotless performance with a fourth-quarter interception.

“I wouldn’t want to have to play [against our defence],” said Gaels head coach Pat Sheahan. “We practice against them — that’s bad enough.”

Energized by the lockdown defensive showing, Queen’s offense managed to answer their greatest question.

The absence of running back Ryan Granberg proved to be a non-factor, as second-year backup Jesse Andrews picked up 135 rushing yards in his first career start.

Andrews was thrust into the starting role after Granberg was injured last Saturday against the Toronto Varsity Blues.

“I thought [Andrews] looked like a very experienced kid,” Sheahan said. “He’s a very capable player, and now we have a couple guys who can carry the [ball].”

The Gaels led for the entire game against Laurier, scoring a single point on the opening kick-off and widening the margin on Chris Patrician’s 94-yard punt return touchdown 10 minutes in.

Three minutes after Patrician’s runback, quarterback Billy McPhee connected with receiver Giovanni Aprile on a 17-yard catch-and-run touchdown, finalizing the outcome.

McPhee threw for 225 yards, with nine of his 21 completions going to receiver Scott Macdonell.

“[McPhee] was very much in command,” Sheahan said. “He knew that we could lean on the defence today and he didn’t make too many mistakes.”

Putting another error-free performance together will be central in Queen’s rematch next Saturday with Guelph — the winner of which will advance to the Yates Cup.

Sheahan said the Gaels will look to replicate their performance against Laurier in the semi-final.

“The reason we had to play this week is because we didn’t play [against Guelph] the way we did today,” he said. “With much more at stake now — the right to continue — the checks and balances better add up in your favour at the end of the day.”

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