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Last second miracle leads Stingers

by Archives October 7, 2008

With 1.8 seconds left on the clock Saturday, Concordia Stingers quarterback Liam Mahoney made a play the 4,223 fans at Stade CEPSUM won’t soon forget.
With the Stingers trailing 18-12 on third down, Mahoney shook a tackle to connect with rookie wide-receiver Sanchez Deschamps who took it from there, moving with laser speed to the front right corner of the end zone untouched.
“I was just in disbelief,” said Mahoney of the 55-yard pass-and-run play, which he coined a half Hail Mary, that pushed Concordia past the Université de Montreal Carabins (2-3) by a final score of 19-18.
With the win, the Stingers narrowly avoided losing three straight games, which would have been a first since 2001, and gave the team sole possession of third place in the Quebec University Football League.
“We’re still not playing to our full potential, but hopefully this wakes everyone up and we can carry this onto the end of the season,” Mahoney said.
For Deschamps, his first CIS career touchdown couldn’t have come at a better time. “It’s not over until the final whistle. Good teams always find a way to win,” he said.
Mahoney went 9-for-13 passing for 123 yards in the game, while Deschamps led the Stingers with two receptions for 70 yards, including the game-winning final play.
The Stingers opened the scoring when Mark Deslauriers picked off a pass by Carabins quarterback Marc-Olivier Brouillette at 6:18 of the first quarter and took it in for the touchdown.
The rest of the first half was characterized by untimely penalties on both sides, two missed field goal attempts by Carabins kicker Pierre-Paul Gélinas, and a 44-yard field goal by Concordia’s René Paredes to make the score 10-2 for the Stingers.
“I think we outplayed them by a wide margin in the first half,” said Stingers head coach and offensive coordinator Gerry McGrath. “But we made a few mistakes defensively, and couldn’t get a first down [in the second half].”
Indeed, the Stingers looked slow coming out of the dressing room at halftime, while the Carabins finally got their offence working in the third quarter, scoring two touchdowns and cashing in on a safety to take the 18-12 lead.
“We ran the ball well, but we were complacent in the second [half],” Mahoney said. Concordia running back Cedric Ferdinand rushed for 99 yards on 23 attempts, while Mahoney himself earned 43 yards on eight carries.
The Stingers then profited from a safety early in the fourth quarter to get the game back within reach – and make the movie-like ending possible.
Ultimately, the win served as a much-needed morale booster for a Stingers team that lost back-to-back games against rivals Laval, and will face the Mount Allison Mounties next Saturday at Loyola.
“I’m proud of the kids that they didn’t give in,” McGrath said. “It probably was the most exciting end [of football] I’ve ever seen. We certainly didn’t plan it that way, but it definitely worked out.”

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