Shot at redemption

Gaels to host rival Guelph Gryphons

Jesse Andrews (#34) leads the country with 738 rushing yards.
Jesse Andrews (#34) leads the country with 738 rushing yards.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

Queen’s football head coach Pat Sheahan didn’t mince his words when he spoke about his team’s performance last year against the Guelph Gryphons.

“We fell apart in every aspect of the game,” he said.

Last season, the Gaels fell 66-0 to the Gryphons on the road at Guelph’s homecoming game. It was the worst statistical defeat in the team’s history. 

“We’ve got to bounce back and play these guys much tougher this time, and continue to progress as a football team as well,” Sheahan said.

Guelph sits tied atop the OUA with five wins in as many tries, while the Gaels come in sporting a 3-2 record and fifth place in the league. Guelph has averaged 48 points per game while allowing just 19.

“Guelph’s a tough team,” Sheahan said. “This should be a pretty good battle for our guys. It’s coming at the right time inthe season. We should be able to line up against just about anybody and bring forward a credible performance now.” 

Protecting quarterback Nate Hobbs from hits will be a key part of the offensive line’s performance, which has often been a challenge for the Gaels this season. 

“Whenever the quarterback gets sacked, it’s always a concern,” Sheahan said.

Queen’s running back Jesse Andrews leads the country in both carries and rushing yards, and Sheahan  is looking to lean again on his marquee player. While Guelph has allowed just a single rusher to eclipse the 100-yard mark in a game this season, Andrews has reached the century mark in all five of his games.

“Typically, he has been a major part of the offence,” Sheahan said. “He’s a big muscular, durable guy. If he’s touching the ball 25 times, it means he’s doing well. That’ll tighten the defensive front and give other people space room to operate.”  

“If you don’t win the line of scrimmage consistently, you’re going to have a hard time winning anything else. We’re going to be leaning on our big guys to step up and battle and allow our skill guys some time to operate.” 

For the Gaels who were on the roster last season, it serves as a chance for redemption.

Conor Redmond, a second-year offensive lineman, understands the task at hand is no easy one.

“We have to keep our mindset right,” he said. “We have to be physical and get ready to take on a good challenge in Guelph.” 

Playing at home should provide the Gaels with a bit more confidence than the performance of last season.

“It’s always a much better scenario for us to play in Kingston,” Redmond said.  

Limiting Guelph’s fast-striking offense, as well as matching with scores of their own, will be one of the Gaels’ toughest tasks on the day. 

“Most of the time they’ve gotten out to early leads,” Redmond said. “We can’t let that happen. We’ve got to have a four-quarter performance and get them out of their comfort zone.”

 

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