The Concordia Stingers are 2-0 after their 23-11 homecoming win against Bishop’s Gaiters in front of 4,252 fans on Saturday at Concordia Field. But their record says more about the teams they’ve beaten than the way the Stingers have played.
The number-ten-ranked Stingers were up 23-0 at halftime against a Bishop’s team that did not have their starting quarterback and reigning QUFL Rookie of the Year Kyle Williams who missed the game with a concussion suffered in Bishop’s week-one loss to Sherbrooke. Backup Joel Lefebvre proved to be an able replacement however, and in the second half threw for 169 yards with a touchdown to rookie wide receiver Cam McKellar. Lefebvre did throw two first-half interceptions, one to Pat Donovan, and another to Sean Guevremont.
“I thought we played a good first half,” said Stingers head coach Gerry McGrath, who was visibly frustrated at his team’s play for a second straight week. “But we fell asleep at halftime.”
After the Gaiters conceded a safety to give Concordia a 2-0 lead, Sammy Okpro put the Stingers in a position to strike again quickly. The second-year defensive back returned the following kickoff 55 yards to the Bishop’s 34-yard-line. On the next play Concordia scored the first touchdown of the game on a pass that you don’t see everyday. Quarterback Scott Syvret gave the ball to inside receiver Juan Scott who looked downfield and found Mike Renaud wide open 34 yards downfield for the touchdown pass.
“It was something that coach put in, and we worked on all week. There was good blocking and it just worked out,” said Scott about his first career touchdown pass.
The Stingers didn’t stop there. After Donovan intercepted the Lefebvre pass, Concordia got into position for a 29-yard field goal. But Bishop’s had too many men on the field which gave the Stingers offense another opportunity to advance the ball. After fullback Mark Kang pounded out eight yards, and Otis Armstrong gained four more, Syvret ran a quarterback sneak to get the yard that separated the Stingers from the end zone, scoring his first of two touchdowns. He scored on another one-yard run later in the second quarter to put Concordia up 23-0.
But the Stingers offense struggled in the second half, making the same kinds of mistakes they did against McGill a week ago. Concordia’s best drive of the second half ran 12 plays for 73 yards and took 5:41 off of the clock, but ended on the six-yard-line when Otis Armstrong fumbled the ball. On the very next Concordia possession, Mathieu Cote fumbled the ball on Bishop’s 35-yard-line. It was the last of Concordia’s four fumbles, three of which were recovered by Bishop’s.
“I saw a lot of good things today,” said McGrath,”but we have to play a full 60 minutes.”
Syvret was pulled in the fourth quarter to avoid injury when the game’s result was not in doubt, finishing the day 18 for 27 with 135 passing yards. He also led the team in rushing with 41 yards on nine carries.
Receiver Dan Mott followed up his ten-catch, 150-yard performance last week against McGill with a seven- catch 109-yard game.
Bright spots for the Stinger’s defense included Donovan, who recorded 8.5 tackles, Sammy Okpro who recorded seven tackles and was named player of the game and Jay Manzano who recorded 1.5 sacks to bring his season total to four.. Okpro also shone on special teams and was named QUFL Special teams player of the week.
“We’re not where we should be,” said Manzano. “We’ve had a couple of games where we could work on things, and we’re going to come out next week and show everyone Stinger football.”