Windsor downed in opener

Big first and final quarters allow football to gut out key victory on the road

A strong start and a fantastic finish was what it took for the Gaels to earn a hard-fought road win over the Windsor Lancers in week one of OUA football action.

Queen’s beat the Lancers 39-30 on Monday, outscoring the Lancers 30-0 in the first and fourth quarters. That overcame a lackluster middle set of quarters, which saw Windsor score 30 points of their own.

Though Queen’s defence allowed opposing quarterback Austin Kennedy to pass for 393 yards and three touchdowns, Gaels fifth-year pivot Billy McPhee made up for it, throwing three scores of his own, including the game-winning touchdown to second-year receiver Peter Hannon with 10 minutes left in the game.

With the wind at their backs, the Gaels got off to a dream start in the first quarter. Veteran kicker Dillon Wamsley connected on two field goals and third-year running back Jesse Andrews punched in a score from three yards out.

At the end of the first quarter Queen’s led 15-0 and looked like they were in cruise control en route to a sure-fire win.

After changing directions in the second quarter, the wind instead became a disadvantage for the Gaels, causing things to unravel fast.

Kennedy led Windsor on a 23-2 run within a nine-minute span in the second quarter, capped off by a 90-yard touchdown pass to receiver Evan Pszczonak. Trailing 23-17, McPhee threw a score to wideout Alex Carroll with 14 seconds left in the half to put the Gaels up by one point at halftime.

Shortly after the intermission, Kennedy and Pszczonak burned the Gaels’ secondary again, this time with a 39-yard touchdown strike. Pszczonak ended with a game-high seven receptions and 187 receiving yards.

The Gaels’ defence stiffened significantly beyond that point, shutting out the Lancers’ offence for the final 28 minutes of the game.

Queen’s offence couldn’t muster anything in the quarter, giving the Lancers a 30-24 lead after three quarters of play.

Hannon scored the eventual game-winning touchdown four minutes into the final frame. The Gaels’ offence was aided by a facemask call against the Lancers on that drive, which extended Queen’s possession.

Third-year receiver Doug Corby put the game out of reach with a 55-yard touchdown grab with 4:37 left in the game. Corby led the Gaels’ receiving corps with 125 yards on the day.

In his first-ever CIS contest, rookie defensive back Jason Shamatutu had a massive fourth quarter for Queen’s defence, recovering a fumble and intercepting a Kennedy pass on back-to-back drives. Another rookie, linebacker Michael Moore, was a defensive standout as well, finishing the game with a team-high 12 tackles.

The Gaels have now won seven straight games against the Lancers. Queen’s will look to move their record to 2-0 on Saturday when they take on the Ottawa Gee-Gees in their home opener.

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