Upset victory at Richardson Stadium

Gaels topple Gryphons on home turf

Matteo Del Brocco (middle) celebrates his 108 yard touchdown against the Gryphons.
Matteo Del Brocco (middle) celebrates his 108 yard touchdown against the Gryphons.
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Backed up against their own end zone, a stroke of magic resulted in the longest touchdown throw in the Gaels’ history.

Clinging onto a 9-7 lead in the third quarter of their game against Guelph, the Gaels found themselves starting from their own two-yard line following a defensive stand.

Wasting no time, Queen’s quarterback Nate Hobbs found receiver Matteo Del Brocco for a touchdown score on the first play of the drive — in what would be a defining moment of the Gaels’ 23-15 upset victory.

Del Brocco’s 108-yard receiving touchdown came immediately following a drive where the Gryphons were unable to score from a first-and-goal opportunity from the one-yard line.

“I missed a couple of those earlier in the year,” Del Brocco said. “In practice this week, I said to Nate, ‘give it to me this week, third time’s a charm’. Even in the huddle, I kind of looked at Nate and was like, ‘Yo Nate! 108 yards, let’s go’. He kind of chuckled at me, to be honest. When I saw the ball in the air I was like, ‘Touchdown! I’m going’.”

Del Brocco had high praise for his quarterback, who threw for 282 yards on the day.

“He doesn’t miss often, that was a perfect ball,” he said.

Guelph came into the game with five straight victories to open up the year, ranked fifth in the nation.

Receiver Connor Weir — who had four catches for 53 yards and 102 yards off kick and punt returns — believes the victory helped put the Gaels into the conversation as one of the top teams in the country.

“We really wanted to show the league that we can play with the best of the best,” Weir said.

Running back Jonah Pataki had a pair of one-yard rushes for scores, while also gaining 76 rushing yards on the day. However, his personal highlight of the day was a shovel pass from Hobbs to Pataki in the fourth quarter from the Guelph 41-yard line, which ended inches outside of the end zone.

Pataki filled in as the team’s top running back in place of the usual starter Jesse Andrews, who was out with an undisclosed lingering injury. Coming into the game, Andrews led the CIS in both yards and carries.

While Andrews absence isn’t expected to be long-term, he was replaced temporarily by Pataki.

“He really stepped up to the plate and delivered when the boys needed it most,” Weir said of Pataki.

For Luke McQuilkin, who’s been a part of the Guelph-Queen’s rivalry for four seasons now, the victory was an extremely emotional one.

“I was crying after the game with my dad,” McQuilkin said. “It meant so much to me to be able to do that for the guys now, the guys before, and send a message for the guys that are going to come in the future.”

The linebacker, who had one of the three interceptions on the day, described the contrast of the team’s victory to their loss against Guelph in the 2014 season, a 66-0 defeat. McQuilkin said head coach Pat Sheahan’s message to those who experienced the blowout loss was simple.

“Just two words … never again,” McQuilkin said.

Pat Sheahan gave credit to his opposition.

“We beat a good football team today,” he said.

However, he didn’t shy away from praising his own team’s success in getting the victory.

“Our guys just went out there, and played defence, and rallied,” he said.

Queen’s has a bye week this week before returning to play at York on Saturday, Oct. 17.

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