It was a tough day for the Concordia Stingers football squad last Saturday afternoon, as they fell 37-19 to the Acadia Axemen at Concordia Stadium in their first inter-conference game of the season.
The loss dropped the Stingers to an even 2-2 record with four games to go in the regular season.
Meanwhile, the Axemen boosted their record to a perfect 2-0.
Concordia got the upper hand early on in the contest, when Simon Rodgers kicked a 27-yard field goal to open up the scoring halfway into the first quarter.
However, Acadia showed that they meant business a minute into the second quarter as pivot Kristin Pipe hooked up with receiver Mike Brimacombe on a 19-yard touchdown pass to put the Axemen up 7-3.
Shortly afterwards, the Stingers went up again with Ben Ouimet eluding two members of the Axemen secondary to complete a 72-yard touchdown strike that came from the hands of quarterback Jon Bond.
The major gave the Maroon and Gold a three-point lead. This would be the last time the Stingers would lead in the game.
With Acadia leading 16-10 with seconds to go in the first half, Pipe connected with James Price on a 25-yard passing play that led to another Axemen touchdown, giving them a 23-10 lead at the half.
Unfortunately for the Stingers, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
With just under five minutes to play in the third quarter, Pipe was sent into the timekeeper’s box at midfield as he tried to scramble for a first down on a second and long play.
Pipe, a native of Montreal, slammed into the front of the box and lay on the ground for several minutes.
Tensions flared on the sidelines, as Acadia players were angry about the whole incident. Nevertheless, cooler heads prevailed and the game continued with Matthew Clow taking over as quarterback for the Axemen.
With the Stingers trailing 37-10 late in the game, Bond set up Darrell Wood for a 13-yard touchdown pass to slightly narrow the gap.
The Axemen also conceded a safety to the Stingers before it was all said and done, giving them a 37-19 victory.
For the Stingers, it was their fourth game in 17 days and the wear and tear was apparent on the field.
Coach Gerry McGrath defended his players, acknowledging the fact that they were fatigued.
“We simply had no gas in the tank. We had five of our starters hurt so they were unable to play. We are a beaten up team. We had nothing left,” he said.
McGrath had trouble denying that the schedule has been nothing but a disadvantage to the players.
“We have four games out of the way already and we are only two and a half weeks into the season. I think that is unfair to Concordia and the players,” McGrath added.
One aspect of the Stingers game that wasn’t too sharp was their special teams unit.
On two consecutive occasions, when the Axemen faced third and long punting situations, they managed to recover the ball by placing a player parallel to the punter at the time of the kick.
By doing this, the player becomes eligible to retrieve the ball without the other team even touching the ball.
Stingers special teams coach Pete Regimbald acknowledged the difficulties of the unit that he oversees. “Our guys didn’t step up. They knew what to do, but they were not aggressive enough on the ball,” he said.
The Stingers will have 14 days of much needed rest until their next game on Sept. 28, when they travel to the Eastern Townships to take on the Bishop’s Gaiters.
The Stingers will be looking to follow up on their 46-4 shellacking of the Gaiters in a game played a week and a half ago.