Gaels demolish the Varsity Blues in season opener

47-25 victory extends run of dominance over U of T

The Gaels haven’t lost to the Varsity Blues since 1975.
Supplied by Robin Kasem

The Gaels met the Varsity Blues at Richardson Stadium on Aug. 27.

Despite being without their long-time defensive lineman Anthony Federico ’22, the Gaels won in convincing fashion. Led by Jaden Blackman and James Keenan, the home team dominated the visitors to the tune of a 47-25 blowout.

“We played really hard—our guys played hard for all four quarters,” Head Coach Steve Snyder said in a media release after the game.

The game started slow, with some missed tackles and a few errant throws. The Gaels put up three field goal points the Blues quickly matched.

“What really held us back from jumping out a little bit more earlier was just our discipline and some of the mistakes we were making. A lot to clean up on defense and just in taking penalties and in the kicking game as well,” Snyder said.

However, by the start of the second quarter, the Gaels had settled in.

Good defensive coverage on the right side set up a massive 115-yard rushing touching from Blackman. After the Blues came up short on a field goal, he swooped in, recovered the ball, then ran the length of the field to give the Gaels their first seven-point score of the regular season.

“[Blackman] is a good football player that has still got a lot to work on to become more well-rounded, but he definitely has an explosive nature to him and it’s pretty impressive,” Snyder said of his rookie running back.

Unfortunately, after the score, the Blues matched the momentum the Gaels had created and quickly tied it up with a touchdown of their own.

Determined to pull ahead, and perhaps inspired by some rugby friends, the Gaels set up a scrum-like play to push the ball over the line and get the points right back.

After more back-and-forth play, the first quarter ended 20-18 in favour of the Gaels.

The Varsity Blues took the lead to start the second half on a 78-yard kickoff return touchdown. However, those ended up being the last points Toronto scored.

To round off the third quarter, Josh Macleod scored another touchdown and then Tyler Mullan started off the fourth with two field goals.

Queen’s finished the game on fire, putting up 14 more points in the last four minutes.

What started off risky with the chance of Queen’s losing its 47-year win streak ended with an incredible display of teamwork.

The work put in by both Jaden Blackman and Anthony Soles to replace Rasheed Tucker ’22 was on display. While they initially struggled on defense, the Gaels defence locked in once they stopped sending extra bodies to fill the gaps Federico used to control.

Snyder said he and the Gaels are always looking ahead.

“[There’s a] next man up mentality. As guys graduate, there’s guys that have been waiting and working hard and now it’s their chance. They’re just so in tune with what we are doing and the pride they take in their job and they’re really the centre point of our program.”

At the end of week one, Blackman sits as the OUA rushing leader after accumulating 134 yards this game. The Gaels’ next game is in Ottawa on Sept. 3 against the Gee-Gees.

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