Gaels survive scare to clinch playoff spot

Gaels squeak by York with sloppy victory

The Gaels' 33-32 win over the York Lions clinched an OUA playoff spot for Queen's.
The Gaels' 33-32 win over the York Lions clinched an OUA playoff spot for Queen's.
Credit: 
Journal File Photo

The Gaels clinched a spot in the OUA football playoffs with a 33-32 victory on Saturday, but there wasn’t much excitement among team members.

The York Lions came into the game with only one win in seven games, yet held their own against the nation’s tenth ranked team.

“We definitely feel like we should score more than 30 points against an opponent like York,” Queen’s quarterback Nate Hobbs said. “I think we just came up short in a lot of areas.”

“It’s definitely a good wake-up call for us.”

Hobbs pointed to the team’s turnovers — including three of his own interceptions — as a major factor that allowed York to stay competitive with the 5-2 Gaels.

“Time of possession also played a huge factor,” Hobbs added, as York had the ball for 37:53 of the game’s 60 minutes.

“It felt like the defence was on the field the whole game. As an offence, the turnovers led to some points for York,” he said.

The Gaels gave up 589 yards of total offence in the contest, including 381 passing yards from Lions quarterback Brett Hunchak.

The day’s highlight was Hobbs’ 104 yard pass to receiver Doug Corby, which put the Gaels up 13-7 in the first quarter. The pass came a game after Hobbs set a Queen’s record with a 108-yard pass to Matteo Del Brocco.

“That’s never happened to me before,” Hobbs said, referring to back-to-back games with 100+ yard scores. “Everyone’s going deep, the coverage matched up well for it. Doug Corby was wide open down the seam and I don’t think anyone’s catching him in that position.”

He credited head coach Pat Sheahan for calling such a play early in the game, while the team was backed up against the goal line.

The game marked the second straight game for the Gaels without running back Jesse Andrews, who was leading the country in rushing yards before suffering an injury — though Sheahan has hinted that Andrews will return.

In his place, Jonah Pataki ran for 119 yards while Brad Innis added 103 for Queen’s.

“I think we’re confident as a team that we have good stable [of running] backs back there,” Hobbs said. “Obviously it hurts having Jesse out, but we’re not worried at all that it’s going to be too big of a drop off, because we’ve got two or three good guys back there that can pick it up.”

Hobbs said the team’s biggest challenge for the rest of the season isn’t between the lines of the football field, but rather between the ears.

“A lot of it has to do with mentality,” he said. “We’ve got to [get] focused. If we win, there’s a good shot we can get a home playoff game. I think this week, coming out to practice we’ll all be fired up.”

He added that not having a game the previous weekend may have thrown off the team’s game.

“Coming off last week with the bye, coming off Thanksgiving, I’m not sure … it was a strange week, something felt off,” he said.

Hobbs and the Gaels prepare for Saturday’s Homecoming game against the 3-4 Laurier Golden Hawks, who look to usurp Queen’s and clinch a playoff spot of their own.

“It’s very exciting to say the least," he said. “The atmosphere is nothing short of spectacular. But more importantly it’s a big football game for us. If we can clinch a home playoff game, it’ll be great.”

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.