No varsity team has undergone more turmoil in the past couple of seasons than Concordia’s football team.
Two years ago, the Stingers had to forfeit two wins due to an ineligible player and finished the season 2-6-1. This year, the Stingers finished last in their Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) division and reached new lows, going 0-8. They were only one of three teams in the country to go winless this past season and were fourth in points allowed. The recent struggles for the football team is an unfortunate trend, as the last time the Stingers had a winning season was in 2008 when they went 5-3.
Two bright spots for the Stingers this past season was the play of linebacker Max Caron and slotback Kris Bastien. In November, both were named to the Quebec university all-star team and both are highly regarded Canadian Football League (CFL) prospects by the Scouting Bureau for the upcoming draft.
Another bright spot for the Stingers football team is that six of its players were invited to the Montreal CFL combine that Concordia will be host on Wednesday, March 19. These players include linebackers Travis Bent and Alexandre Lemire, defensive ends Eric Noivo and Jonathan Langma, defensive tackle Shaquille Armstrong, centre Frederik Landry-Simard and slotback Michael Harrington.
It was not the way that former head coach Gerry McGrath had imagined his retirement, but the records only show half the truth. In such a strong division that includes powerhouses like Laval, Montreal and Sherbrooke, the Stingers’ strongest asset was their tenacity. Every game this year the Stingers fought to the final whistle, and it is this drive that gives Stingers fans optimism for the future. In three out of their eight games, the Stingers lost by eight points or less. With a couple better bounces, some of their results could have looked very different.
Now, a new era has begun for Concordia football. Led by former Stinger and new head coach, Mickey Donovan, spirits are high for next season. Donovan, 33, brings new energy to the program and an energetic personality that will surely rub off on his players. McGrath will forever be a household name for Concordia football as he led the Stingers onto the field for 14 seasons as head coach. Though most players agree on how much McGrath meant to the Stingers program, it was simply time for a change.
The coaching staff has already made strides in improving their squad for next year. In January, one of Quebec’s top quarterbacks signed a letter of intent meaning that, according to the Concordia’s Department of Recreation and Athletics, Jérémie Mongeon-Duby, who played for Cégep St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, has committed to Concordia for next fall. Along with Mongeon-Duby, the Stingers have recruited three players from Cégep Édouard Montpetit. Alexandre Renaud, Mickael Côté and Louis-Simon Bossé will all join the Stingers this August.
To say that the Stingers football season was a struggle, would be an understatement. The silverlining is that they made the necessary changes during the offseason to bounce back next year. There is more work to be done, but Donovan has brought a new attitude to the Stingers team. Expect a rejuvenated and hungry squad when they take to the field next season.