The Concordia Stingers’ football team’s dreams of a Dunsmore Cup came to an abrupt end along with their season last Saturday at the PEPS Stadium in Quebec City. Backed by 15,317 home fans, the Laval Rouge et Or scored an outstanding 67-yard touchdown in the very first play to set the tone to the game, handing the Stingers a 59-7 humiliation.
The Stingers came out flat early on as Laval’s Jean-Francois Tremblay caught a perfect pass from Mathieu Bertrand to get a 7-0 lead in the game’s opening seconds.
Laval’s offence was sticking to their game plan beautifully, executing every play as written in a playbook.
Whenever the Stingers managed to get their hands on the ball, the Rouge et Or delivered a brutal defence. The Stingers got their chance four minutes later when Bertrand fumbled the ball following the snap. Concordia linebacker Mickey Donovan recovered the ball and rumbled 73 yards into the opposing endzone to even out the score.
That was as far as the Stingers would go in this game, however. Laval running back Pierre-Luc Yao broke the tie shortly after when he easily ran into the end zone. The Stingers’ defensive line woke up briefly when it kept Laval away from its own zone. However, Laval was able to sneak in close enough for a field goal and ended the quarter on a 17-7 lead.
Concordia’s defence, who usually excels in short-yardage situations, allowed Laval to get too close for comfort and Jeronima Huerta-Flores ran it in for an extra major.
“We came into this game thinking we were going to destroy them,” linebacker Mickey Donovan said. “We were missing Rudy [Hage] on defence, we got pushed around up front because their offensive line is big. I was just shocked.”
The Stingers’ offence, who were playing against strong winds in this quarter, could not execute much of their plays. Already weakened by the absence of injured running backs Jean-Michel Paquette and Roch Labossiere, the Stingers had a hard time walking down the field, collecting only 89 yards in the first half.
“They got off to such a big lead, so that hurt us,” Coach Gerry McGrath said. “They gave us a seven-DB package, so it was hard for us to pass.”
However, the Maroon and Gold’s defence came to life and delivered a few tackles, especially a Bill Russell tackle on Laval pivot Bertrand. The Rouge et Or wisened up however and saw the Stingers’ blitzes coming, which allowed to Flores to burn a path into the end zone, allowing his team to end their perfect half with a 31-7 lead.
Laval is usually known for their explosive offensive drives late in the game, and this game was no exception. It began when Concordia pivot Jon Bond was sacked on a blitz in his own endzone. The ball was fumbled and was recovered by Laval defensive lineman Miguel Rob