Gaels’ season ends in Hamilton

Football drop OUA quarterfinal to McMaster 12-9

The Gaels have high hopes for next season.

Queen’s football left it all on the field last Saturday afternoon.  

After battling their way into the OUA’s final playoff spot, a narrow 12-9 loss to the nationally-ranked seventh McMaster Marauders ended the Gaels postseason run. Despite the cold and rain, the Gaels left with their heads held high.

“Coach came in [after the game] and said it was a good year and what happened was unfortunate … it was a tough game,” quarterback Nate Hobbs said. “But he congratulated us [and] said he was really proud of us.”

The team’s offense opened and closed the game relatively flat-footed — made evident by their nine total points and no touchdowns — but much of that could be credited to the playing conditions. Their defense kept McMaster at bay, particularly in the second half when the home side was shut out entirely. 

“I guess the word to describe it would be ‘frustrating’,” Hobbs said of the loss. The quarterback said the team’s quick playoff exit doesn’t define the Gaels’ overall play against the Marauders. “We thought we played well and represented ourselves well against one of the top three teams in the [OUA].”

Though the Gaels’ defense limited McMaster to just 12 points, their front-seven was exposed throughout the afternoon. Although he failed to score a touchdown, Marauders tailback Jordan Lyons ran for an OUA season-high 319 yards rushing. Hobbs — who noted the mood in the locker room as “somber” following the final whistle — said the team understood “there were a lot of chances for us to go out there and win the game.” 

“I think that’s what’s most frustrating,” he continued. “[T]here are about four or five plays where if we just played a little better or tightened up a little bit, we were going to win the football game.” 

The Gaels caught fire at just the right time this year — finishing their regular season on a four-game win streak and clinching the OUA’s last available playoff spot. Their midseason turnaround was a testament to “how tight we were as a group,” Hobbs said. 

At 0-4, the quarterback remembered thinking, “This is where everything could potentially fall apart, right?” 

“But football’s a crazy game. We got hot at the right time, stuck together and salvaged our season.” 

Looking ahead to next season, Hobbs — who plans to stay a fifth year — said the team is optimistic to say the least. 

“[You’ve] got to be,” Hobbs said. “I think the guys are looking forward to going out there and tearing it up next year.” 

The quarterback particularly noted the start of next season as a point of emphasis next fall — “[P]ulling out those first two games will be key,” he said.

“Start fast, win a couple games early. Just keep climbing and try to peak at the right time — hopefully we can win a championship like that.”

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