Football misses playoffs after Homecoming loss to Ottawa

Gaels finish season with 3-5 record

UOttawa dashed Queen’s hopes of making the playoffs on Homecoming.
UOttawa dashed Queen’s hopes of making the playoffs on Homecoming.

Before the football team (3-5) took the field on Saturday against the UOttawa Gee-Gee’s (6-2), their chances at making a playoff run looked bleak. Needing a win against the OUA’s second-best team, along with three separate results to go their way in OUA action—some of which appearing entirely unlikely—their season looked doomed.

On Homecoming Saturday their foremost goal—a win against Ottawa—fell short as the team’s season came to an end in a 27-22 loss.

Second-year receiver Sakhia Kwemo said the Gaels went into the game with an exclusive focus on winning, despite being aware of having the odds stacked against them. 

“We knew our chances of making the playoffs,” he said. “For a lot of seniors it was their last year so it was just about balling out. It was a way to finish with a bang.” 

Despite falling into a 14-0 hole after the first quarter, Queen’s fought to bring the score to 17-15 towards the end of the third quarter. UOttawa would pull ahead 27-15 shortly after, and while a Chris Osei-Kusi touchdown would cut the Gee-Gee’s lead to five points, the Gaels ran out of time.

Quarterback Nate Hobbs said the team’s offensive struggles were the pitfall in Saturday’s game. The Gaels turned the ball over four times in the game from a fumble and three interceptions.

“When there’s a margin of five points and the offence gives up 10, you can’t really blame the defence,” Hobbs said.

It was a season that could hardly be measured by wins and losses. But perhaps the most critical loss came against McMaster two and a half weeks ago, where a win would’ve given Queen’s a 4-3 record and a chance to play for a first-round playoff bye on Homecoming.

“It was exciting,” Hobbs said. “Going into the [McMaster] game—we win that game, we’re second place in the conference. Now we lose that game and we’re struggling for our playoff lives.”

“At the end of the [UOttawa] game we couldn’t get it done, and that’s why we’re sitting at home now.”

Saturday’s game was Hobbs’ final in a Queen’s jersey. He’s joined by receivers Matteo Del Brocco and Chris Osei-Kusi, alongside running back Jake Puskas and 14 other seniors who will be graduating this year.

Hobbs acknowledged the team had a number of questions about their ability after numerous key players graduated last year. In spite of their disappointing finish, Hobbs held his head high in his evaluation of the Gaels’ season.

“There were a lot of questions surrounding us. Although the result wasn’t as we hoped, I’m incredibly proud of this team and how guys stepped up this season,” Hobbs said. “It was my most fun and exciting year of football.”

The loss marked the final note on the football team’s 2018-19 season, a campaign defined by comebacks, blown leads, and five of their last games being decided by five points or less. Queen’s won just one of those games against Guelph 33-32.

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