The Stingers display their character as they edge out longtime rivals McGill Redbirds in overtime
One week after a historic win against the Université de Montréal, the Stingers overcame adversity to win the 52nd edition of the Shaughnessy Cup against the McGill Redbirds — despite being down 33-11 at one point in front of a sellout crowd of 3500 at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium.
In the first half, a fumble and an interception resulted in two early touchdowns for McGill. Stingers head coach Brad Collinson said that despite the win, the team needs to improve in the early stages of games.
“Getting off to a good start is something we are constantly talking about,” Collinson said. “We’ve had two short weeks to prepare for these last two games, now with a full week to get ready [for Sherbrooke] we’re going to hammer it through and make sure the players understand.”
The Stingers’ offence struggled early largely due to constant pressure coming from the Redbirds’ defensive front that managed to sack Stingers quarterback Olivier Roy five times throughout the game.
Concordia trailed 16-2 at the half and continued to struggle into the third quarter. The Stingers could not move the ball and a 39-yard scoop and score from the Redbirds put McGill in front 23-4.
But the tide of the game turned after a 50-yard touchdown grab by Stingers’ receiver Jaylan Greaves capped off a 94-yard Concordia drive to end the quarter.
McGill answered with another touchdown, but these would be the last points they would score. Down 33-11 with 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Roy and his offence changed gears, scoring three touchdowns on consecutive drives to tie the game.
The first came off a 6-yard grab by Olivier Morency that followed two dropped passes by veteran receiver Jeremy Murphy in the endzone.
The next touchdown came on a skillful play by Roy who ran from sideline to sideline to avoid defenders and launched a 35-yard bomb to Jacob Salvail.
After big stops by their defence, the Stingers got the ball back — down eight points with 2:36 to go in the 4th quarter. Murphy was able to redeem himself with two huge catches on this drive, including the touchdown that set them up to tie the game. Roy took care of the two-point conversion himself and ran up the middle to force an overtime.
Following the game, Murphy said he was confident he would get an opportunity to bounce back.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Murphy said. “So I know there’s always going to be another chance for me to make a play. My guys trusted me, and I trusted my guys. I wasn’t worried about it.”
The Redbirds started off with the ball in extra time but were unable to score.
The Stingers got the ball back and completed another incredible comeback. Morency picked up a first down on a 20-yard rush that set up fifth-year kicker Andrew Stevens in perfect field position to seal the game. The veteran did not miss his opportunity and nailed a 21-yard field goal through the uprights.
After another emotional rollercoaster of a game, Murphy summed up his thoughts on the team’s latest comeback victory.
“If we could start off our games like this, we’re looking pretty good,” Murphy said.
The Stingers will look to start strong and extend their win streak at home next week against the Sherbrooke Vert & Or.
Photographs by Catherine Reynolds