Homecoming weekend took on a sad tone last Saturday as the McGill Redmen defeated the Concordia Stingers 28-8 in the annual Shrine Bowl and Shaughnessy Cup game held at Concordia Stadium.
Loyola alumni President Ray Huot began the day’s festivities with the pre-game kick-off ceremony and the Shriners performed the national anthem.
The first quarter of the game saw little offensive drives as both sides changed ball possession on a few occasions. The wind proved difficult for the special teams units as short punts and missed field goals were commonplace. Concordia provided the only point in the first quarter as kicker Simon Rodgers missed a 46-yard field goal attempt and was forced to settle for a single point.
McGill took over early in the second quarter, capitalizing on a six play drive when quarterback Josh Sommerfeldt hooked up with receiver Patrick Lanctot on a 22-yard touchdown passing play. Before the first half was over, kicker Anand Pillai increased the Redmen lead with a pair of field goals, including an impressive 43-yarder that sailed between the uprights, giving his team a 15-1 halftime lead.
The Maroon and Gold showed signs of life five minutes into the third quarter when pivot Jon Bond threw a perfect pass to second year slotback Darrell Wood for a 37-yard touchdown reception, narrowing the Redmen’s lead to 15-8. The major brought life to the Stingers fans, who made up the majority of the 3,800 person crowd that was in attendance. On their next drive, the Stingers appeared destined to tie the game, but receiver Alain Rousseau dropped a pass from Bond inside the five-yard line that was right on the mark. A catch would have resulted in a touchdown or at the very least, put the Stingers within striking distance of tying the game. Instead, the Bee Boys were forced to punt.
On their following drive, the Stingers had a chance to pull within four points of the Redmen, but Rodgers missed another field goal, hitting the left upright. The two missed opportunities hurt the Stingers, as they were unable to generate any more offence on their subsequent drives.
Early in the fourth quarter, McGill solidified their lead as Sommerfeldt found a wide-open Steve Ceolin, who was left alone by the Concordia secondary, for a 63-yard touchdown completion. The lack of coverage by the Stingers’ defence was the team’s only visible glitch on the day.
The Stingers struggled offensively on numerous occasions throughout the day, as Bond had trouble completing passes to his receivers as they were either overthrown or his targets were unable to keep the ball in their hands. “Our defence played well today, but the offence was horrendous,” said coach Gerry McGrath, who added that his team is capable of performing much better than they did. “Our offensive line did not play well, they really stank up the joint. This loss rests squarely on the shoulders of our offence.”
One of the few bright spots for the Stingers was linebacker Graeme Burns, who took the honours as Concordia’s Shrine Bowl and Homecoming MVP. “We had a couple of blown assignments that cost us. A good thing about today is that the defence had a few turnovers which we really have not been doing much this year,” Burns said.
McGill head coach Chuck McMann, who now possesses a 12-4 record at the helm of the team’s football program, was pleased with the win. “The guys played physical and we did the things that we have to do in order to win.” McMann did not deny the fact that the weather played a factor in the game. “The reason that both quarterbacks struggled today is mainly because of the wind.”
With the loss, Concordia’s record versus McGill in Shrine Bowl matchups dropped to five wins and nine losses. In Shaughnessy Cup play, Concordia now possesses a record of eleven wins and seventeen losses versus their cross-town rivals.
The Stingers now stand with a record of three wins and three losses with two games remaining in the regular season. This Saturday, Concordia will play host to the Laval Rouge et Or in a Thanksgiving weekend showdown. The Rouge et Or, who are battling it out with the Redmen for first place in the QIFC standings, defeated Concordia by a score of 20-14 up in Quebec City back on Labour day. Kick-off is at 1 p.m.