Down by a score with less than a minute left.
We’ve seen this situation before. The Concordia Stingers managed this type of exciting last-minute victory against Sherbrooke a couple weeks ago.
Alas, no resurrection this time.
The Stingers dropped their last regular-season game to McGill 23-17, finishing the year 2-6. But after the Sherbrooke Vert et Or lost to Laval Rouge et Or earlier in the afternoon, the Stingers still claimed the fourth and final playoff spot. They’ll play against defending U Sports champs Laval on Nov. 2.
As for this game, well, the Stingers haven’t made it easy on themselves all season, so why would this game be any different.
Missed opportunities. Check.
The Concordia-McGill rivalry runs deep, and we saw it out there today. Post-whistle scrums, hard hits, chirping, and lots and lots of penalties.
Head coach Brad Collinson was clearly unhappy with his team’s performance after the game. When asked how he keeps the team grounded, he said all they had to do was “look at the score.”
If you just looked at the offensive stats, you saw some familiar trends to close out the season. James Tyrrell, who despite taking a nasty hit in the first quarter, managed four catches for 75 yards, finishing an incredibly impressive regular season. Rookie phenom Jeremy Murphy led all receivers with six receptions for 100 yards and two touchdown catches.
“I mean, I played a great game,” said Murphy. “But at the end of the day, we didn’t win so I don’t care.”
Finally, the individual performance of quarterback Adam Vance, who went 24/42 for 334 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and two fumbles. With that, the American quarterback has surpassed 2,000 passing yards on the season.
The offence struggled to gather momentum until the final minutes of play. A good run? Next play was a fumble. A nice completion? Sike, penalty flag. Luckily for the Stingers offence, its defence was there to bail them out, time and time again.
They held McGill quarterback Dimitrios Sinodinos to 9/22 for 69 yards in the air. Considering how strong Sinodinos has been throughout this season, that’s an impressive feat.
“Defence was the only reason we were in this game,” said Vance. “You gotta tip your cap to them because that’s a good football team. I know it’s discouraging to have to go out and play defence every five minutes, so you gotta respect it.”
Linebacker Sam Brodrique led the way for the Stingers with 7.5 tackles, who along with the nine other seniors, played in his final game at the Stingers Stadium. After playing in last year’s East-West Bowl, Brodrique is one of the top draft-eligible players on this team.
“It’s been great. I’ve had a lot of coaches, a lot of changes,” said Brodrique. “I hope this last change was for the best and I hope the team builds from there. Even though we lost a lot of games this year, we’re a better as a team honestly. I hope they build from that.”
This was a slugfest from start to finish. A long, drawn out affair that didn’t make for great entertainment. Then the fourth quarter. With McGill up by six points, the Stingers began their march downfield. Vance evaded sacks, made great reads, found his receivers, and even made the runs himself. This put his team with a 1st-and-10 on McGill’s 11-yard line with three attempts to win the game. First down, an Adam Vance run for six yards. Second down, an incomplete pass to Tristan Mancini. Third and final down, with only 20 seconds left on the clock, a corner pass to Tyrrell that was knocked out of the air by the McGill corner. Turnover on downs.
No one was happy about the way this game, or this season ended. But at the end of the day, the Stingers are still in the postseason. Speaking of which…
We talking ‘bout playoffs???
The Stingers will take on the Laval Rouge et Or on Nov. 2 in Quebec City. Last time these met, things didn’t go well for the Stingers. The team is hoping for a different result this time around with an RSEQ finals berth on the line.
“Back to the drawing board,” said Vance post-game. “We still have another game, we gotta go back to Quebec City and play a good football game. We’ll sob about this one tonight and get into the film room tomorrow. We got to game plan against them, we’ll probably see something similar because obviously it worked.”
“One of our goals was to make the playoffs,” said Collinson. “Now we just need to go out there and compete.”
“I think today we only played one half,” said Brodrique. “Next game, we gotta focus up and play two halves. Last time we went there, it wasn’t really great. We have to bounce back from that. For the team, having a good game against Laval would be good to follow up and this season. They have a good running game, so we gotta have a great gameplan.”
“We can’t afford to just play one half,” said Murphy. “That’s it. We gotta play better than the last time we played them that’s for sure, we can’t get stomped again.”
- A scary situation with James Tyrrell not being taken out of the game after a clear head-to-head hit. I don’t understand why no one on the sidelines made that call.
- This year’s senior class included a number of key players, the list is Vance, Tyrrell, Sam Nadon, Zamaad Gambari, Jordan Hurley, Jersey Henry, Sam Brodrique, Gordi Lang, Joel Slavik, Thiery Taillon and Michael Asibuo.
Feature photo by Arianna Randjbar