It was a cold and crisp Saturday afternoon when Concordia’s football team hosted the Sherbrooke Vert et Or in the 26th annual Shrine Bowl. Both teams entered the game with a 2-3 record and were looking to get back to .500. The murky afternoon never brightened up for the Stingers as they lost to Sherbrooke in an upsetting 48-6 final score.
The game started with a bang when Stinger Raul Thompson returned the opening kickoff for 59 yards. Concordia capitalized from their starting field position and took an early 3-0 lead. That was as good as it got for the Stingers as the Vert et Or would respond with 18 unanswered points and went into halftime up 28-6.
With only 90 yards on the ground, Sherbrooke’s throwing game tormented Concordia’s defense throughout the entire match. Sherbrooke’s quarterbacks Jérémi Roch and James Goulet combined for 273 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Despite the score, Concordia’s offense also put up impressive stats even though they never scored a touchdown.
“I bet you the offensive statistics are pretty close between the two teams,” said Stingers coach Gerry McGrath after the game. The Stingers ended the afternoon with 235 yards in the air and 104 on the ground.
Concordia’s downfall was the turnovers. With three turnovers in the first quarter alone, the Stingers gave up a total of two interceptions, four fumbles and three turnovers on downs. Sherbrooke was able to capitalize off Concordia’s mistakes and scored 23 points on these turnovers.
“The biggest difference was turnovers,” said Stingers defensive end Eric Noivo. “Unfortunately for us, they got a couple of lucky bounces and we got behind early.”
By the end of the game, the packed crowd continued to cheer and were in their seats until the final whistle. Win or lose, the Shrine Bowl continues to generate donations for the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
“There was a certain excitement around the team leading up to the game,” said Noivo. “It’s fun to play for the kids, especially when you see how much it means to them.”
The Stingers’ next game is Saturday, Oct. 13 when they will travel to McGill to play for the Shaughnessy Cup at 1 p.m.
Photos by Veronique Thivierge