Furious second-half comeback falls just short

Any sports enthusiast will tell you that losing at any level is the equivalent of dying. However in the rarest of cases there are hints of success through failure; a victory in defeat if you will. The Concordia Stingers football team lost their season finale to No.

Any sports enthusiast will tell you that losing at any level is the equivalent of dying. However in the rarest of cases there are hints of success through failure; a victory in defeat if you will.
The Concordia Stingers football team lost their season finale to No.1 Laval Rouge et Or 26-21 on Saturday in front of a crowd of approximately 1,200 Stinger and Rouge et Or fans brave enough to withstand the horrible weather.
The surprise in this game was not the Laval victory. A win for the Red and Gold has been standard for the past twenty-four regular season games. It was the never-say-die attitude the Stingers displayed in the second half, an attitude that not only encouraged the fans of the Stingers to believe in a possible comeback, but made the reigning Dunsmore Cup and Vanier Cup Champions believe it too.
Laval dominated the first half, racking up 19 points in thirty minutes. The Rouge et Or opened the scoring at the end of the first quarter when Laval kicker Christopher Milo nailed a 9-yard chip shot through the upright and gained the lead for his team.
The Rouge et Or continued to dictate the pace of the game, refusing anything and everything the Concordia Stingers had to offer. Christopher Milo would add a second field goal, this time from 17 yards out to bring the score 6-0 in favour of the visitors.
Laval would finally reach the end zone when the Rouge et Or’s starting pivot Cesar-Roberto Sanchez sent a streaking Laurent Lavigne-Masse for a 34-yard pass and the touchdown to bring Laval’s lead to 13-0. Milo would nail two more field goals before the end of the half, first from 26-yards out, and the second from 35-yards with six seconds remaining in the second quarter. By the time the whistle blew to end the half, Laval had a commanding 19-point stranglehold over a Concordia Stinger team that looked as if they were about to cry “Uncle.”
When everyone expected Laval to continue dismantling the Stingers in the second half, Concordia turned in one of the most splendid performances displayed this year. On Concordia’s opening drive, quarterback Liam Mahoney capped off a 56-yard march with a 32-yard touchdown run and put Concordia’s first points on the board.
Laval would earn another touchdown by the end of the third, this time it was running back Guillaume Allard-Cameus rushing 12 yards for Laval’s second major of the game.
The ever-defiant Stingers went on the warpath in fourth quarter; they did not concede any more points to the Red and Gold and managed to rack up two more touchdowns in the process. Liam Mahoney earned his second rushing touchdown of the game, an 11-yard run to cut Laval’s lead to 12. In the dying stages of the fourth, Liam Mahoney found Cory Watson in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown strike, which brought the score to 26-21 in favour of Laval.
The Stingers had one last shot to retain possession, but on the onside-kick Lavigne-Masse recovered the ball and spelled the end of what could have been one of the greatest comebacks in CIS history.
The Stingers offence earned 314 total offensive yards; most of them came in the second half. Laval meanwhile, compiled 323 total offensive yards in the game.
“I played well against the top-ranked team in the country, we won the second half, we just need to prove to ourselves that if we don’t make mistakes and we don’t take stupid penalties, we could play against any team in the country,” said Mahoney.
He put on quite a show for the home crowd faithful, completing 12 of 20 passes for 133-yards, one touchdown and one interception. Mahoney also rushed for 106 yards on 11 attempts and two rushing touchdowns.
“I was really impressed on how our offence played in the second half, the team collectively stepped up together and fought back. I’m very confident that this team is beatable and we could do it if we play a full football game,” said Sammy Okpro who had 2.5 tackles on the day and assisted on a sack.
The Stingers (5-3) may have ended their season on a low note, but will have to put it pass them. Playoffs begin next week and the second-place Stingers will have one last chance to show the home crowd what they’re made of. The Stingers will host third-place Bishops Gaiters next week. If you’ll recall, Concordia defeated Bishops 21-19 in the opening game of the season, and there’s no doubt that Bishop’s is looking for revenge.
Start time is 12:30 p.m.

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