The Concordia Stingers will be looking back at this game as the one that got away. With the Stingers holding onto a 17-7 lead late in the game, the Bishop’s Gaiters offence came to life and snatched the game right out of Concordia’s grasp. The Gaiters scored 11 straight points in the last three minutes to take home the Shrine Bowl.
With just under five minutes remaining in the game, Concordia kicker Rene Paredes booted a 35-yard field goal to make it a two-possession game. Considering how well the Stingers defence had been playing all game, a win and a 3-1 record seemed to be in the books. Football just happens to be a 60-minute game, and this one proved it.
The Gaiters quickly took the ball and marched down the field. Bishop’s quarterback Jesse Andrews led his team in a hurry, completing a 33-yard pass to Geoff Coventry to move the ball to the Stingers’ 26-yard line. Three plays later, Andrews found David Haddrall in the back of the endzone to cut the lead to three.
A rouge off the ensuing kickoff brought the score to 17-15, putting the Gaiters within a field goal of the lead. A quick two-and-out by Concordia gave the Gaiters good field position. It took Bishop’s only four plays to march into field goal range. Kicker Josh Maveety was good from 22 yards out with 25 seconds left and, just like that, the Stingers had let the game slip away.
The Stingers were able to control this game for a long time but their inability to finish drives ultimately cost them. They were unable to find the endzone and the Gaiters hung in there. Concordia settled for five field goals and a team safety as their only points. Bishop’s scored on just two field goals and a rouge before their late-game comeback.
Star quarterback Robert Mackay missed his third consecutive game. Terrance Morsink made his third straight start and managed the game very well. The young quarterback finished 25-of-41 with 326 yards passing and one interception. Morsink has earned the praise of his coaches as head coach Gerry McGrath continues to be impressed with the play of his inexperienced backup.
“Terrence has really been playing well,” said McGrath. “There are some things he can do better, but with the situation he’s in, he’s playing great for us.”
McGrath was also pleased with his team’s efforts. The inexperience of the team showed at times, but it was not for a lack of effort.
“I thought my team played their hearts out,” said McGrath. “There were some growing pains with young players, but I don’t think we could’ve played much better than we did.”
The effort was there and the Stingers played 55 minutes of excellent football. They should have been ahead by a lot more than 10 points, but they could not bury the resilient Gaiters. Part of the problem was turnovers. The Stingers turned the ball over four times, fumbling three times and Morsink’s lone interception led to three points for Bishop’s early in the final quarter. As it turned out, every point mattered in this 18-17 loss. The Stingers now fall to 2-2 but McGrath was positive with where his team stands.
“If you had told me that we’d be 2-2 with having to play with our backup quarterback all this time, I would say I’d be pretty pleased.”
One thing’s for sure, the Stingers cannot afford to make any crucial mistakes next week. Next up for Concordia comes the giants of Quebec, the Laval Rouge et Or. It will be the Stingers’ toughest game on their schedule, having to go on the road in search of a massive upset. Having their starting quarterback in the lineup would help, but it will take a total team effort to pull it off. It should be a very tough test for the young Stingers.
Next game’s kickoff will be Oct. 3 at 1 p.m at the University of Laval.