The Laval Rouge et Or will head to the provincial finals after dismantling the Concordia Stingers 33-7 in Sainte-Foy on Saturday. Laval will host the MontrÃ©al Carabins this coming Saturday for the Dunsmore Cup, while the Stingers will be left to reflect on their season.
“I don’t think that our players played poorly,” said Concordia coach Gerry McGrath. “I think we’re a young team and our players were just overwhelmed from playing in an atmosphere like that. They go from playing in front of 1,000 people every week to 12,000 [at Laval].”
The Rouge et Or got it going early as quarterback Bruno Prud’homme completed passes of 22 and 33 yards to receiver Seydou Junior Haidara, setting up a 34-yard field goal by Boris Bede.
After a two-and-out from Concordia, Laval quickly marched down the field with a seven-play, 74-yard drive in less than four minutes, culminating in an 11-yard touchdown pass from Prud’homme to Guillaume Rioux.
Laval added two more field goals and a team safety before the end of the first quarter, to take a 18-0 lead. After the first, Concordia only had three yards of offence. Playing Laval is hard enough and being down 18 after one quarter is mission impossible.
To make matters worse, the Rouge et Or didn’t slow down in the second. On their first possession of the quarter, Prud’homme found Adam Thibault on a 63-yard pass to get inside the Stingers’ five-yard line. Sebastien Levesque finished off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run to bring the score to 25-0. Laval added a field goal in the last minute of the half to go into the break up 28-0.
Laval tacked on five points in the third quarter after a 41-yard Bede field goal and a team safety. Bede was five-for-five on field goals. Up 33-0, Laval pulled its starters, and began resting up for their showdown against the Carabins.
The high point for Concordia was breaking Laval’s shutout in the final minute of the game. Kris Robertson returned a punt 59 yards to the Laval 11-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Reid Quest found Matt Scheurwater for a 13-yard touchdown pass with 33 seconds left. That was hardly any consolation, though, after a difficult afternoon.
“It was a tough loss,” said Robertson. “It just came down to execution. We didn’t execute on everything we should have. Laval is a good team and you need to have a perfect game to beat them. We just didn’t have a perfect game.”
Quest finished the game 20-of-31 with 237 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Many of Concordia’s yards came when the game was out of reach. Credit has to go to Laval, though, as they have been the perennial powerhouse of Quebec for the last decade.
“That’s a great team,” said McGrath. “I think as our team matures and grows, we’ll be able to compete with them. I know we’ll be better. I know the season just ended, but I already can’t wait for next year.”