If it weren’t for a 2010 doping scandal, Gaels quarterback Billy McPhee would have been playing for the Waterloo Warriors at Richardson Stadium on Saturday.
Instead, the second-year quarterback completed eight of 14 passes for the Gaels, tallying 77 yards and one touchdown in Queen’s 53-0 victory over the winless Warriors. Running back Ryan Granberg picked up 240 yards and four touchdowns on 31 carries.
Gaels head coach Pat Sheahan started pursuing McPhee when he was in grade 11 at Notre Dame Secondary School in Burlington. But in his fifth year at high school, McPhee committed to play for Waterloo where his second cousin, Dennis McPhee, is head coach of the football program.
In June 2010, Waterloo announced it was suspending the football program for one year after nine Warriors players tested positive for doping violations on tests conducted that spring. After the announcement, McPhee called Sheahan and was enrolled at Queen’s within a month.
“He wanted to play as soon as possible and that’s what he’s doing,” McPhee’s second cousin said.
The sixth-year Warriors coach dressed 35 rookies in Saturday’s game against the Gaels. The Waterloo offence only picked up eight first downs on the day.
“The setback we’re suffering, we brought upon ourselves and we’re going to have to fight back,” the coach said. “It’s very difficult to keep kids motivated when they’re 0-7.”
Billy McPhee had a quiet afternoon Saturday, with the Gaels relying on their run game on account of the rain and wind. He was relieved by backup Ryan Mitchell in the fourth quarter with the Gaels at a 46-0 lead.
Wide receiver Giovanni Aprile returned the second half kickoff for a touchdown and caught an 88-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell as the Gaels improved to a 5-2 record.
The Gaels will play their last game of the regular season against the Western Mustangs on Saturday, with an OUA quarter-final scheduled for the following weekend.
The Warriors coach said the Gaels looked like playoff contenders on Saturday.
“If they get healthy down the stretch and start playing well, they’re very dangerous,” he said after the game, adding that he feared the physical Queen’s team would overpower his players.
“I was worried that [the players] would be physically beat up, carried off the field with season-ending injuries.”
Billy McPhee, men's football, Ryan Granberg
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