The Stingers were unable to clinch their second win of the season at home against the Vert et Or over Shrine Bowl weekend.
With both teams coming off disappointing losses on the road, each side came in with a chip on their shoulder in what was considered a key win to get a playoff spot. Sherbrooke was able to rally behind their fans, who came strong to cheer them on, packing the Concordia stadium bleachers with an ocean of green jerseys as cowbells and horns created an electric atmosphere.
The Vert et Or came out guns blazing, making the running game count early and piercing through the Stingers’ defence to reach the endzone on their very first drive. Concordia’s insufficient answer came in the form of a solid running effort of their own, as running back Franck Tchembe, who had 61 rushing yards on the day, managed to move the Stingers up the field before a potential touchdown pass was ultimately dropped not far from the goal line.
“It was a horrible performance,” said Stingers’ quarterback Olivier Roy. “Offensively we couldn’t run the ball, we couldn’t pass the ball, we couldn’t put many points on the board, and it makes it hard to win games.”
The Stingers had a hard time getting things going on offence and were only able to score their first points late in the first half when slotback Jaylan Greaves hauled in a 6-yard pass for the touchdown.
Roy, who hopes to improve and learn from the loss, said the team needs to look at film and clean things up before their next game on Saturday, Oct. 8.
The juggernaut Sherbrooke offence was on high display from the first moments to the last of the game, excelling in both the running and passing game and making several huge plays. The Vert et Or’s running back Lucas Dalin, who left the Shrine Bowl with the John Gilday offensive MVP award, ran for 170 yards and scored a touchdown, while backup quarterback Gianni Casati was able to run through the endzone twice. Sherbrooke quarterback Charles Picard passed for 149 yards and a touchdown to receiver William Marchand, as the Vert et Or concluded the day with four trips to the endzone.
“We had a gameplan that we knew we had to execute to win,” said wide receiver Jeremy Murphy. “We created too many turnovers and that’s not how you win ball games.”
The Stingers threw three interceptions and fumbled twice which allowed Sherbrooke to take good field position multiple times, ultimately paying for their mistakes.
The team isn’t hiding from acknowledging the necessity for improvement and better execution, as both Murphy and fifth-year head coach Brad Collinson declared they “needed to work on everything.”
Despite the loss, the Shrine Bowl was an occasion for players, coaches, and fans to share a heartwarming moment as children from Shriners Hospital were able to take pictures with the players and hand out the traditional Shrine Bowl awards to both teams.
Roy, who took pictures with fans after the game, said “it’s a great honour, we’re so blessed to be able to play this game. Seeing these kids out here with a smile on their faces… It keeps us grounded.”
Heading into next week’s road game against the University of Montreal Carabins, the Stingers go back to the drawing board in hopes of adding a much-needed win against a high-profile opponent to their record.