Gaels fall to the Mustangs in 113th Yates Cup

Queen’s loses to Western 29-0 at Richardson, ends season 7-1

The Gaels end their 2021 season with a 7-1 record.

The Queen’s Gaels were defeated by the Western Mustangs 29-0 in the 113th Yates Cup on Saturday.

With that loss—their first of the year—the Gaels head into the off-season with a 7-1 overall record for their 2021 campaign.

“We felt good going into it […] I thought we still had a great chance to win […] we wanted to start fast and take a lead, we didn’t want to play from behind early,” Head coach Steve Snyder told The Journal in an interview following the game.

“I thought that our youth showed, our youth and our inexperience because we just played ‘beat-yourself’ football […] we played a ton of it during that first quarter.”

After kicking off to start the game, the Gaels were immediately backed into a corner. Quarterback James Keenan’s first drive ended with a sack followed by a fumble recovered by Western deep in Queen’s territory.

Shortly after, the Mustangs capitalized on that opportunity with a rushing touchdown from OUA all-star running back Keon Edwards. Forced to punt after a stalled drive just minutes later, Queen’s dropped more points after Edwards scored another touchdown after running from just outside the red zone.

With just over two minutes left in the quarter, Keenan orchestrated another long drive, though a fumble by receiver Ajay Chol was recovered by Western, once more blunting the momentum of the Gaels’ start.

The second quarter saw Queen’s defence come alive. Keegan Vanek intercepted Mustangs’ quarterback Evan Hillcock deep in Gaels territory, but the run was ultimately short-lived. A two-and-out drive forced the Gaels to voluntarily concede a safety immediately after.

Before long, Western’s Evan Hillcock threw another interception to give Queen’s possession at their own 27-yard line, but the Gaels were forced to punt after another stalled drive.

Afterwards, the Mustangs’ offense continued to surge as Western’s drive ended with another long touchdown for Edwards to mark the mid-point of the second quarter.

On the ensuing drive, Queen’s failed to convert a third down to keep possession but subsequently held the Mustangs to a long field goal, which their kicker Brian Garrity hit from 37 yards out.

Regaining possession with less than a minute left in the quarter, a long throw by Keenan was intercepted to end the half.

After trading punts to start the third quarter, Queen’s reached the red zone, but Keenan’s pass to Ajay Chol fell incomplete after the Gaels chose not to settle for a field goal.

The Gaels’ closest scoring attempt came at the beginning of the fourth quarter when kicker Nick Liberatore’s 20-yard field goal hit the crossbar, allowing the Mustangs to regain possession and score another short field goal.

After a fumble by Keenan outside of the Mustangs’ red zone with less than five minutes left in the game, the Gaels failed to capitalize on their last drive when Keenan’s pass to receiver Sakhia Kwemo fell incomplete—effectively ending the contest.

“I’m so proud of this coaching staff, I’m so proud of this team, it’s a brotherhood I’ll never forget,” Keenan said during a post-game interview.

“We’ll take a step back and re-assess what went wrong today and then get right back at it.”

When asked about his season highlight, Keenan’s answer concerned his and his teammate’s growth throughout the season.

“Just the process of grinding with these guys, being with these guys every single day […] the resilience that we showed, it’s who we are and what we’re all about.”

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

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.