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Stingers winning streak halted

Concordia travelled to Quebec City but came up short against Laval

With 13,334 fans on hand at a packed PEPS sports complex on Sunday afternoon in Quebec City, the undefeated Concordia Stingers took on the top-ranked team in Canada, the Laval Rouge et Or. In a battle for national recognition and first place in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) division, Concordia’s magical winning streak came to an end, losing 32-16.

The Rouge et Or opened the game trying to establish a dominant running game.

“We know Laval has a big offensive line, so they like to run a lot. They’ve run all over other teams, so our main goal going in was to stop the run,” said Mikael Charland, Concordia’s defensive leader and free safety.

The Rouge et Or running game was shut down in the early stages thanks to a masterful performance by the Stingers’ defensive unit. Concordia kept Laval to a pedestrian 35 yards on the ground in the first quarter. The Rouge et Or have averaged well over 300 yards rushing per game this season.

On the offensive side, the Stingers failed to get anything going in the first quarter. It did not help that the Stingers lost key playmakers like receiver Jamal Henry to an apparent upper body injury, and starting quarterback François Dessureault early in the game. Already without freshman sensation running back Gunner Tatum heading into the game, the Stingers quickly found themselves down 7-0 on a goal line touchdown from Rouge et Or quarterback Hugo Richard.

The Stingers’ makeshift offence, featuring rookie quarterback Colin Sequeira and backup running back Olivier Dupont, struggled to muster up positive yardage against the menacing Rouge et Or defensive front. However, despite being thrown into the fire, the freshman quarterback managed to move the chains as best as he could.

“At first I was flustered [with] all these emotions going against Laval, but all the guys were behind me,” said Sequeira.

Against such a strong opposing defence, Concordia was unable to sustain long drives down the field. As a result, the Stingers’ defence was on the field for the majority of the play. The Rouge et Or took advantage of Concordia’s fatigued defence and moved the ball down the field from their own 25-yard line, capping off the 85-yard drive on a rush by Richard, his second of the game. After conceding a safety, the Stingers went into halftime down 16-0.

Despite being down entering the second half, Sequeira and the Stingers tried to battle their way back into the game. Unfortunately, after an interception by Laval defensive back Alex Hovington deep in Concordia’s territory that led to a touchdown, the game was quickly slipping out of reach for Concordia.

Although the Stingers found themselves facing a 25-0 deficit early in the third quarter, Concordia’s defence continued to play hard. The Stingers forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Dane Steele. The turnover led to Concordia’s first points of the game, a 30-yard field goal by Keegan Treloar. However, on Laval’s ensuing possession, a costly pass interference call on the Stingers set up another easy goal line touchdown. Maxime Boutin would punch it in from a couple yards out, extending Laval’s lead by 32-3.

The Stingers’ tenacity led to a one-yard touchdown run by Sequeira with three minutes left in the game, putting the Stingers on the board with their first touchdown of the afternoon and making the score 32-10.

After a perfectly executed onside kick that was recovered by Charland, the Stingers were set up at Laval’s five-yard line. Sequeira hooked up with receiver Shayne Stinson for a touchdown pass in the dying moments of the game, making the score 32-16.

It was simply too little, too late for the Stingers. The Rouge et Or sent the crowd home happy as they remain undefeated and handed Concordia their first loss of the season.

“For us it’s just executing, there’s a lot of things we can fix,” said Stingers head coach Mickey Donovan. “We have to be able to score, and we will.”

Despite the loss, the Stingers remain positive and look to bounce back next week at home against the Université de Montréal on Saturday Oct. 11.

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