Gaels look to rebound after heartbreaking loss

Queen’s travels to Guelph after suffering overtime defeat last week

The football team is heading into this weekend with a 2-2 record.
The football team is heading into this weekend with a 2-2 record.
Photo by Jason Scourse

This week, Queen’s football took inspiration from an unlikely source: Kobe Bryant.

“[Kobe says] the first thing you have to do is admit you failed,” head coach Pat Sheahan said at a pre-game press conference on Thursday morning. 

While Bryant didn’t visit the team, the coaching staff chose to include some of his speeches in their game-film sessions this week—in response to last Saturday’s devastating overtime loss to the Carleton Ravens. 

Against Carleton, the Gaels powered through an impressive comeback after being down 33-19, and ended up having their share of chances to put the game away late in the fourth quarter.

With no time left on the clock, Gaels kicker Nick Liberatore missed a 38-yard field goal that would’ve sealed the game for Queen’s. While he would drill a 42-yard attempt in overtime, Carleton made a game-winning drive which ended in a touchdown, and ultimately, a win. 

“The critical thing about this is that you have to own it,” Sheahan said. “When you fail, you have to own that.”

With four games left in their schedule, the Gaels are in the most critical stage of their season. This coming Saturday, they’re on the road to face the Guelph Gryphons, who hold the same record as Queen’s at the mid-way point of the season, 2-2. 

Guelph’s had a strong season thus far. Their two losses have come at a combined margin of just three points. They’ve also shown a formidable defensive core, limiting teams to just 16.5 points per game. 

Sheahan said he’s expecting the nationally tenth Gryphons to come out strong on Saturday, adding he sees similar characteristics in his opponent’s game to Carleton’s.

“Guelph is a very similar team to Carleton—they’re strong on the defensive front, sound defensively. They’ve got some big playoff guys,” Sheahan said. “Based off how we match up with them, it should be a very interesting game.”

Of Guelph’s most notable offensive threats, Sheahan touted Gryphons quarterback Theo Landers as a sneaky, mobile player who they’ll have to keep an extra eye on. Landers currently ranks fifth in the OUA for rushing yards with 298 on the season, making for 74.5 yards per game.

“When the quarterback is mobile and he can run, that’s another barrel in the gun,” Sheahan said. “That’s a seven-chamber revolver right there.”

Second-year wide receiver Sakhia Kwemo said despite the Gaels’ loss last weekend, the team remains confident and optimistic considering they nearly completed a 19-point comeback against a nationally-ranked team.

“Although it was a loss, it felt like a win in the long run,” Kwemo said. “We’re a stronger team mentally and physically.”

This weekend’s matchup against Guelph carries with it significant playoff implications, and with that in hand, Kwemo added the Gaels are focused to make the most of their chances.

“I don’t know how tight it’s going to be yet but if we just impose ourselves in the first half of the game it should be good for us,” Kwemo said. 

“It’s going to be an exciting game.”

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