Happy Flag Day! While everyone else was enjoying Labour Day on Monday, the Stingers were up in Quebec City playing against the University of Laval Rouge et Or.
What appeared to be a run-of-the-mill football game was actually a celebration of the referees’ little orange flags that were flying all over the PEPS Stadium throughout the game.
Although the Rouge et Or were handed 14 penalties for 266 yards, including two called-back touchdowns, the Stingers were unable to capitalize on their 14-10 lead at the third quarter and went on to lose the game 20-14.
In front of an incredibly full house of 19,128 fans, both teams came onto the gridiron ready for battle.
Despite an incredibly tough and skilled offensive line, the Rouge et Or were unable to get past the Stingers’ tacklers.
Throughout the first quarter, Concordia’s offence worked hard but was unable to capitalize due to poor field position following Laval’s powerful punts by Nicolas Racine.
Rookie quarterback Jon Bond, who despite out-passing the Laval pivot 192 yards to 155 appeared to have trouble completing 16 out of 36 attempts led the offence.
Laval believed that they were the first ones to put points up on the scoreboard at 8:42 into the second quarter until their touchdown was called back due to a holding call.
Refusing to let that penalty faze them, the Laval squad put in Racine at the third down for a 17-yard field goal, giving them a 3-0 lead at the half.
The third quarter was rather a positive one for the Stingers, who came out of the locker room aiming high.
Concordia halfback David Aiken played exceptionally well on defence, batting away two passes intended for Laval receivers and getting injured in the process, which required five stitches on the bridge of his nose.
Bond appeared to regain more confidence in his passing, throwing longer and precisely aimed throws and his running backs seemed more confident with running the ball.
The Rouge et Or opened up the scoring in the third quarter with eight minutes remaining, pushing their lead to 10-0.
Despite having problems early in the game, Bond displayed that he can read his offence.
With 4:14 left in the quarter, he took the snap, dropped back into the pocket and faked a pass to running back Jean Michel Paquette that fooled the entire Laval defence.
That move cleared the way for Bond to run unscathed toward the end zone and to snap a quick pass to receiver Alexis Charpentier for a touchdown.
The major had an energizing effect on the defence, which effectively contained and stopped any University of Laval passes.
As time ticked down in the third quarter, the Stingers were forced into a punting situation.
Concordia punter Rob McCallum sent the ball deep into the U of L end zone into the waiting arms of returner Yannick Brissette.
Brissette, however, appeared to take his eye off the ball for a split second, resulting in a fumble in the Laval end zone.
Coverage man Kerry Clahane of the Stingers was the first one down the field and was given a special teamers’ dream: a loose ball in the end zone, which he pounced on for the major.
As a fresh 15:00 was put on the clock for the fourth quarter, that Concordia defence forgot that a football game lasts 60 minutes, and not 45.
“The ball was run down our throats today,” McGrath explained. “We’re supposed to have a great front seven on defence, so I’m pretty upset at how our defence played.”
The Rouge et Or was able to break through would-be tackles with relative ease as they marched their way down the field.
The Stingers defensive lapses allowed for Laval running back Dimitri Kiernan to plunge his way into the endzone for his second touchdown of the day, this one from the three yard mark, putting Laval ahead by three at 17-14.
As the Stingers got the ball back, pivot John Bond seemed to be pressured almost immediately after the ball was snapped, and was sent to the turf by the Laval rush.
Following the three-minute warning, the Rouge et Or tacked on a field goal to increase their lead to 20-14, forcing the Stingers to try and win this game.
The Stingers couldn’t muster any big plays on the drive following the U of L field goal, as Bond was intercepted as he attempted to go deep.
Following a quick series by the Laval offense, the Stingers got the ball back with time for a quick strike to tie the game, however Laval’s Alexandre Vendette ended the Stingers hopes by picking of Bond and assuring the Rouge et Or a 20-14 victory.
“You win some, you lose some,” said linebacker Sean Fraser. “On offence especially, we are rather young, so it’s up to us [defence] to keep them in there until they gel together.
“We need to work on our mistakes and look forward to Bishop’s next Saturday: this game is over now.”