They say that Canadian football focuses mostly on the work done by the special teams.
In the case of the Concordia Stingers’ season opener, the biggest special teams accomplishment occurred when inside receiver Ricky Martin ran a spectacular 75-yard kickoff return late in the game against the University of Montreal Carabins at the CEPSUM last week.
Martin’s touchdown was only one of the many scored, which contributed to the Stingers’ 43-17 win.
Since this was the first Carabins’ football game after a 30-year absence, the Stingers went into the game knowing next to nothing about the team they were about to play.
“They [Montreal] had two tapes on us, but we had no tapes on them,” explained head coach Gerry McGrath.
“We had no idea what kind of offence they were running, what they would do, so that made it extremely difficult to play,” he said.
Despite a slow start in which tempers kept flaring between the teams, the Concordia squad obtained a six-point lead following a 115-yard punt return by running back Jean Michel Paquette.
As the second quarter unfolded, the Carabins slowly inched up by three points thanks to a field goal.
McGrath’s decision to put second-string QB Jon Bond into the game in the second quarter proved to be a good one.
Following a few wide passes, Bond’s confidence shot through the roof with strong and precise throws to his receivers.
Despite being sacked with four minutes remaining until halftime, Bond bounced back two minutes later to throw a 34-yard pass to slotback Darrel Woods, who caught the pass one-handed and fell into the end zone, giving the Stingers a 15-3 advantage.
Refusing to enter halftime with such a disadvantage, the Carabins kicked it up a notch by running the ball into the end zone with seven seconds remaining on the clock, slowly catching up to the visiting team for 16-10 deficit.
Halftime appeared to have energized the Stingers, who marched on the field with power to spare.
The defence, which is considered as being one of the toughest in the conference, allowed only 88 passing yards throughout the entire game.
The Concordia offence, which got off to slow start, kicked into high gear and added seven points to their score seconds before the end of the quarter.
The Stingers turned into a finely tuned football machine in the final quarter, scoring three extra touchdowns, the two last ones scored within 25 seconds of each other with six minutes remaining in the game.
“We learned from our mistakes, that’s for sure,” said offensive lineman Alex Oliveira.
“We played a new team which we knew nothing about, got off to a slow start and ended playing a great game! So definitely, we’re going to learn from our mistakes and capitalize on that for our future games.”