Football team shines on Homecoming

Gaels tame Lions with 52-34 win

Quarterback Nate Hobbs threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns.
Quarterback Nate Hobbs threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns.

Queen’s football just can’t seem to take their foot off the gas pedal.

Their mid-season resurgence continued on Saturday afternoon after the team treated fans to a convincing 52-34 homecoming win over the York Lions. 

The Gaels are currently as hot a team as any in the OUA with over 50 points scored in each of their last three games. Following the game, head coach Pat Sheahan credited the win to an all-around performance.

“Our kids showed up to the ball park with real resolve [and] they wanted to make it a good one, which they did,” he said.

After going down 2-0 early, Sheahan said that “all of a sudden — bang … [the team] exploded.”

“And in all facets,” he continued. “Explosion plays on offense, turnovers on defense. We raised the bar to a level where [York] just couldn’t keep up.”

By halftime the Gaels held a 40-13 lead, but it wasn’t until their two-play, 70-yard drive for a touchdown midway through the third quarter that Sheahan said “really nailed the door shut.”

Second-year tailback Jake Puskas — who started in place of the injured Jonah Pataki for a second straight game — led the way with a 68 yard run before scoring a touchdown from two yards out. 

“That was one of the better plays I’ve seen in a long time,” Sheahan said of Puskas, who finished the game with 160 yards on the ground. “He should’ve been stopped right in the hole at the line of scrimmage — that’s the biggest run of the season for us.”

While the Gaels’ offense experienced a field day — they ran and threw for a combined 547 total yards — it was their defense which left a noticeable impression. They picked off three passes, forced one fumble and sacked the Lions’ quarterback three times, two of which ended in safeties.

“I thought defensively we were on point and put in a dominant effort,” Sheahan said. “The [players] did some things we haven’t had a lot of — I mean, the turnovers were unbelievable.”

The coach went on to praise team captain and senior linebacker Nelkas Kwemo, whose interception in the first quarter put the Gaels on the three-yard line.

“Nelkas on that interception return … he looked like a guy who’s gonna be in the pros next year — and he probably will be,” he said.

After the game, Sheahan added that team morale was riding on a high — and for good reason.

“There was tremendous excitement [in the locker room],” he said.  “The guys deserve all the credit in the world for not giving up and I’m very proud of them.”

Part of the team’s success after starting the season 0-4 has been an unwavering sense of persistence, Sheahan added. When they travel to U of T for their last game of the regular season next weekend, they’ll need to stay hot in what will be another must-win game for their late playoff push.

“We’re gonna go down to [U of T] on a mission and we need to take care of our business there,” Sheahan said. “[O]ur kids are playing a type of football where they do deserve something good to happen.”

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