Three members of the Stingers awarded RSEQ football individual honours

Stingers quarterback Olivier Roy, slotblack Jaylan Greaves, and defensive end Malick Sylvain are recipients of 2021 RSEQ individual awards

Last week, I listed my Stingers’ nominees for RSEQ individual awards ahead of the official football conference on Friday in Montreal. In the end, Stingers sensations Olivier Roy, Jaylan Greaves, and Malick Sylvain stood among the brightest stars in the conference. 

Roy was awarded the Jeff Russel Memorial Trophy as the RSEQ’s most outstanding player of the year. Roy’s statistical case for the award speaks for itself, but what bolstered it to the moon was his ability to make his teammates better and win games when they were seemingly out of reach. 

“He’s still progressing, he’s young, and he’s exceeded every expectation,” said Stingers head coach Brad Collinson. “The beauty of it is that we have him for another three years, so we’re very fortunate and the future is bright for him.”

In his first year as a starter, the Stingers quarterback didn’t shy away from his role on the team as a leader. When I asked which individual performance stood out to him most in a season with many to choose from, Roy’s answer spoke volumes about his selfless approach to the game.

“I would have to go with our win against Montreal,” Roy said. “That’s when I realized that our group was special and we could do great things as a team.” 

Sylvain won the RSEQ Leadership and Community Engagement Award in his fourth year with the Stingers for his efforts both on and off the football field. The honour is given to the player who excels in balancing academics, football, and citizenship. 

The Stingers defensive end hasn’t let the workload of a student-athlete separate him from his community. Instead, he splits his time between non-profit organizations like the Jamaican Association of Montreal and The Shoebox Project for Women, helping them raise funds for their causes. He also designs and sells T-shirts and hoodies with a friend that raise awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement, and donates proceeds to non-profit initiatives. 

Greaves was deemed the Rookie of the Year for his exceptional individual play at the slotback position. When Concordia needed a big catch, Greaves had a knack for finding space and taking advantage of the opportunities that came his way. Jeremy Murphy, Stingers slotback and 2019 RSEQ and U Sports Rookie of the Year, only played three regular season games while nursing an injury, but Greaves’ development and rise to stardom ensured Concordia’s offence would remain elite. 

“Everything he accomplished was a product of his hard work behind the scenes. Jaylan carved out his role on the team with his work ethic,” Collinson said. 

Concordia’s 2021 season was cut short in the semifinal of the playoffs, but the Stingers can hold their heads up knowing they’ve built a solid foundation for future seasons.


RSEQ University Football Individual Awards – 2021: 


Most Valuable Player (Jeff Russel Trophy) – Olivier Roy, Concordia University

Defensive Player of the Year – Alec Poirier, Université Laval

Lineman of the Year – Philippe Lemieux-Cardinal, Université de Montréal

Rookie of the Year – Jaylan Greaves, Concordia University

Coach of the Year – Marco Iadeluca, Université de Montréal

Leadership and Community Engagement Award – Malick Sylvain, Concordia University

Offensive Rookie of the Year – Darius Simmons, McGill University

Defensive Rookie of the Year – Harold Miessan, Université de Montréal

Special Teams Player of the Year – Jacob Camiré, Université de Sherbrooke

Assistant Coach of the Year – Luc Sylvain, Université de Sherbrooke


Photograph by Andrew Maggio


Concordia comes up short against Montreal, suffering a 31-19 loss

The Stingers drop their second game in a row, failing to win in the pouring rain against the Carabins

Things didn’t go quite as planned for the Concordia Stingers on Saturday, as they weren’t able to secure a win against the Montreal Carabins, losing the match 31-19. It was a long game of catch-up for the Stingers, as they only held the lead briefly in the first quarter of the grueling contest. 

Stingers head coach Brad Collinson had high praise for his team after the game despite the loss. 

“The kids just showed some heart, they didn’t give up, they didn’t let the weather bother them, they just played,” Collinson said. 

It was evident from the opening kickoff that this wasn’t going to be a standard football game, as the heavy rain and wind made it extremely difficult to execute plays normally. Montreal kicked the game off with an early touchdown throw, as Carabins quarterback Jonathan Sénécal threw a 59 yard bomb to wideout Hassan Dosso. Concordia did a great job in response, as fan-favourite wide receiver Jaylan Greaves made a spectacular running catch for 72 yards. The drive was capped off with a touchdown from Jacob Salvail, who beat his defender on a gorgeous out route.

A Concordia safety gave the Stingers their first, and ultimately their only lead of the game. This newfound window of momentum was quickly slammed shut, after Stingers star quarterback Olivier Roy threw an interception which set up a field goal for Montreal, giving the visiting team a 10-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Carabins started the second quarter off hot, driving down the field and finishing off with a touchdown score from running back Bertrand Beaulieu. The cherry on top for Montreal was the single point touchback they received during the ensuing kickoff. 

At this point in the game, the rain became a real problem and made it incredibly difficult for both sides to secure the ball. A series of turnovers in close proximity in the second quarter summed it up best, as a Concordia interception was followed by a turnover on downs, which was quickly followed by a Montreal fumble. 

This set up a quarterback sneak touchdown from Stingers backup Adrien Guay. After this score, both offences struggled greatly with advancing the ball. An ugly quarter ended with a Montreal safety, putting the Carabins up by four points and leading 20-16 to end the half.

Montreal received the second half kickoff just as the weather appeared to be calming down, and did a tremendous job capitalizing on the opportunity with their offence. A long and demanding drive was finished with Bertrand trucking his way into the Stingers’ endzone for another touchdown. He was the star of this game, finishing with 158 yards and two touchdowns. 

A field goal in the fourth quarter gave Concordia brief hope, but a single point touchback and a Montreal field goal put the game out of reach for the Stingers. 

The Stingers will look to snap their two game losing streak on Oct. 23, when the rival McGill Redbirds visit their home field.


Photograph by Catherine Reynolds


Q&A with Stingers football head coach Brad Collinson

The Stingers football team’s season came to a close on Nov. 2 after a 40-8 RSEQ semi-finals loss to the Laval Rouge et Or. 

It was a roller-coaster season for the team, who finished their regular season with a record of 2-6, but managed to squeeze into the playoffs. The team saw career-years from players like quarterback Adam Vance, wide receiver James Tyrrell and defensive back Khadeem Pierre. With those efforts Stingers managed to push perennially strong teams like the Université de Montreal Carabins to the edge in two close games. In those games, the team showed glimpses of a team that could be potential usurpers of what has been a historically top-heavy division.

On the other hand, this was the same team that gave up a 74-point shutout to Laval and got blown out by (an admittedly better) McGill squad. The rushing game struggled to find any footing until their playoff game, and the defense struggled at times to stop drives. The team had its issues, but some of the players were so exciting, that even in the losses, there were usually bright spots to look at.

With the 2019 football season having been wrapped for a couple of weeks now, it felt like a good time to sit down and look back on the season with second-year head coach Brad Collinson for a Q&A.

The team finished 2-6, but made the playoffs, what was your overall feeling about this season?

Overall, we took a step in the right direction. Are we there yet? No, far from it. But it’s a good step. We may have the same record as last year, but the culture and the atmosphere here is completely different than a year ago. One of our goals was to make playoffs and we attained that goal. Now the next goal is to win a playoff game. From there we’ll add another goal, then another. It’s a process, and like I’ve said from the beginning, we’re not going to skip any steps. It’s going to be one step at a time, but I think we took that first step.

Were there any players that stood out to you this season?

Jeremy Murphy as a rookie. I knew he was good. Did I expect him to have the year that he had? We always hope, but you never know. He stepped up. [Vance] and [Tyrrell] on offense, those guys had career-years. Being in your fifth year, it’s not ideal to have a change in offense, but those guys bought into what we’re trying to do and they reaped the benefits of it with their play.

Defensively, I was impressed with Derek Achaempong. As a young [defender], he improved every single day and near the end of the season, he was making plays you would expect out of a fourth or fifth year guy and he’s a second year. The future’s bright there. Overall the atmosphere and the way the kids bought into what we’re trying to do, that’s the biggest point I’m trying to come back to is we asked a lot from them, and a lot jumped in blind and weren’t too sure what to do. Some of the guys before we even had our coordinators and our coaches settled. To see them flourish underneath the new leadership has been great.

With the season over, do you have a favourite play from the season?

The win against Sherbrooke at home with that last second field goal was pretty special. I come back to the fade that Adam [Vance] threw to James [Tyrrell] against Montreal to put us in scoring position, that’s a pretty special play.

A lot of U Sports firsts for some of these kids. Jeremy Murphy’s first touchdown, Mancini’s first touchdown last week, Khadeem Pierre’s interceptions for touchdowns. Those were all special plays that I remember from this year.

Based on what you saw this year, are there any game plan tweaks you’re looking to make for next year?

We’re always looking to get better. We’re definitely going to sit down and re-look at our off-season training to make sure it’s on point with what we’re trying to accomplish. Strategy-wise, offense, defense, we’re going to review the film and see what it’s all about and see where we have to improve. But I think our schemes were pretty good. We always have to adapt, though, because teams are going to be watching our film now.

How are you hoping to replace the seniors class this year, with guys like Vance, Tyrrell, Jersey Henry and Sam Brodrique all graduating?

It’s always been a next man up mentality. You can’t replace those guys. They’re fifth year guys that bring a lot to the table. You just hope that the guys under them, that they’ve left a good footprint for them to step into by their actions and how they prepare. I actually thought those young guys took those steps and realized that’s the way you have to handle yourself as a university athlete. We’re going to go back to the drawing board and look at who we have and try to put out the best product possible. With recruiting, we’ll really define what we’re trying to do. Who’s going to be playing where, we don’t know yet. We’re trying to find better players each and every year.

Obviously, the team went through some losing streaks during the season, how do you keep players motivated and on track despite those stretches when things aren’t translating on the field?

It’s not hard to motivate these kids. It’s not a very long season, they put a lot of work into it, they know what they’re here for, they’re here to compete. They knew what they signed up for playing in the RSEQ.

It took some time for us to even score our first touchdown. It finally happened against Sherbrooke [in week five]. But the kids never gave up. We were gaining yards, we just weren’t finishing. Victories come, and it’s hard. We play in a very tough league. The RSEQ is probably the toughest in the country. We have perennial champions Laval, and Montreal is no slouch. McGill also took a big step forward this year. You saw it this year. Each and every week, there was a lot more parity. Every week you could win. When you play close games against Montreal, and get some victories against Sherbrooke, and the second game against McGill, we should have won that game.

What are some of those steps needed to close the gap between Concordia and Laval and UDEM?

It’s going to be recruiting. Our recruiting this year is going to be huge. There’s a buzz about us, sorry for the pun. I think that Concordia is an option for people now, especially in Quebec in the Cegeps compared to years past. We’ve worked hard on that.

We’ve seen every Cegep play at least once this year. I don’t think any other team in the country has done that. Especially in our conference, there’s nobody who’s done that. We went to every single spring camp this year, of the 30 Cegeps that play football, we were at every single one. I think we’ve checked some things that we wanted to do and establish some relationships in those Cegeps. It’s going to start paying off slowly but surely with some commitments coming up hopefully soon. The name of the game is recruiting.

What do you think you’re doing to separate Concordia from the other schools in this division?

It starts with recruiting and creating those relationships that we didn’t have before. We’re a great institution here, offer a lot of great academic programs that some other schools don’t. Being that option, and going after some French-Canadian kids is huge for us. There’s some very good football being played in french Cegeps, as well as english, but there’s only three [english Cegeps]. The other 27 are french. We have to create those relationships and that’s where we want to differentiate ourselves.

With Adam Vance graduating this year, do you think Olivier Roy will takeover that starting quarterback job?

It’s going to be an open competition. We have some other guys that are here as well. We’re recruiting guys as well. We’ll let it play itself out once camp starts and depending on who comes in January. For a start tomorrow though, Olivier would have the heads up on everybody.

I think the future’s bright. We weren’t too sure about that position but with him he’s shown us some good things.

Looking forward to next season, what’s one challenge you’re looking to overcome, and what’s something you’re looking forward to?

Replacing those guys that we talked about before is going to be a challenge. What I’m looking forward to is to see the progression of where we’re at. I think we have a good locker room, we have some kids that are excited about the off-season. I think it’s going to be a good year.


Feature photo by Mackenzie Lad, accompanying photos by Laurence BD


“Be a sponge” Rookie receivers learning from veterans

As the second season of Brad Collinson’s tenure as head coach of the Concordia Stingers begins, a quick look at the team’s roster makes something extremely clear.

There are a lot of new faces on this squad.

The Stingers currently have 22 first-year players on their roster, with 13 more red-shirting. Three of those rookies are receivers.

If you’ve tuned in to the team’s first couple games this season, one of those rookies you’ve probably seen the most is receiver Jeremy Murphy. In the season opener, Murphy caught five passes for 95 yards. In week two against McGill, he caught seven passes for 58 yards. In week three, he added another 24 yards on two receptions. Murphy was last year’s RSEQ Division 3 Offensive Player of the Year thanks to an impressive season at Champlain College Saint-Lambert.

Alongside the first-year receiver are only two fifth-year ones on the team, James Tyrrell and Sam Nadon – both of whom have been relied on to provide on and off field leadership. Collinson spoke about the importance of building a culture of competition between younger and older players.

“Everybody is learning this year because it’s a brand new offense,” said Collinson. “We want to create competition, we want those young guys to learn from the veterans, and to have some of those young guys beat out those veterans [for roster spots].”

Murphy is joined by other first-year receivers like Tristan Mancini and Jean-Simon L’Italien. For Murphy and Mancini, who played together at Cégep, the chance to lean on the veterans around them has been invaluable.

“It’s pretty cool because these guys have been here a while,” said Murphy. “I’m next to (Tyrrell) on the field all the time, he knows what he’s doing and everything he’s taught me has helped me a lot.”

“There’s a vet on my left, there’s a vet on my right,” added Mancini. “As soon as I have a question, I can ask them.”

Tyrrell and Nadon have embraced their roles this year as leaders on the team. When I caught up with Tyrrell, Nadon, Murphy, and Mancini after practice before their match against Laval, the two fifth years were quick to praise their rookie receivers for their eagerness to be a part of the team and learn, including showing up for summer workouts before the season even started.

“It’s pretty cool that we have rookies that come in with talent and willingness to learn and get better,” said Tyrrell. “There’s an immediate trust on the field once the ice is broken off the field.”

“These guys are open-minded,” said Nadon. “When we tell them something, they listen. They’re two guys who fit in real good, real nice guys.”

On the field, the Stingers look to establish themselves as a contender in the RSEQ division alongside the usual powerhouses of Laval and UDEM. Off the field, Tyrrell and Nadon both talked about wanting to teach the younger guys to continue to be as open as possible.

“Be a sponge,” said Tyrrell. “For your first couple of years, it’s just about absorbing as much information as possible.”

As Murphy and Mancini continue to establish themselves on the team, the biggest thing they’ve learned is how much more skilled university game is compared to CEGEP.

“You gotta play with speed,” said Mancini, who caught his first U Sports pass in week three on a long 27-yard reception. “You can’t be hesitant anymore because everyone’s good here.”

“Everyone’s bigger and faster so you really can’t think twice,” added Murphy. “If you’re doing something, just go. Even if you’re messing up, you just have to go.”


Photo by Matthew Coyte


A look into the Stingers’ new offence

One of the major changes that the Concordia Stingers football team made after last season was hiring former St-Jean Géants head coach, Alex Surprenant, as offensive coordinator.

Fast-forward to the present, and Surprenant now has two games under his belt as the Stingers offensive coordinator. Those games may not have gone the way the team would have liked, starting out with two losses, but Surprenant knows that this is a young team trying to rebuild their program.

Head coach Brad Collinson and Surprenant put an emphasis on recruiting fast and local players on the offensive side of the ball during the off-season to play in Surprenant’s Run-Pass option, or RPO, system.

“If you want to win [long term] it really depends on your recruiting class,” said Surprenant. “Coach Brad also put together a great coaching staff. The football world is a little community where everyone knows everyone and he surrounded me with a great staff.”

The RPO system is something relatively new to the Canadian football world. It’s a tough system to implement, as there are only three downs as opposed to the American game, where there are four downs where it’s a lot easier to use it in.

“The biggest adjustment is that it’s three downs here instead of four like in CEGEP,” Surprenant said. “But at the end of the day, it’s still football so it’s not that difficult to adapt.”

Stingers offensive coordinator Alex Surprenant was hired back in February 2019. Photo by Laurence BD

Another major change to the offence is that they also use a no-huddle system. That means that quarterback Adam Vance gets the signal from the sideline and yells it to the rest of the team from the line of scrimmage without going into a huddle. This allows the offence to move at a faster pace.

“My inspiration comes from the [Kansas City] Chiefs, [New England] Patriots, and the Oregon Ducks from back in the day,” said Surprenant. “Those offences are the best at getting to the line quickly and using their speed.”

The players aren’t the only ones excited about the new offence. Collinson says he was also very excited to see the system that Surprenant put into place during training camp.

“Any time you put in something new, you get excited and want to learn it,” said Collinson. “There’s a lot of diversity in what we’re doing too, like RPO and zone-read options. Alex ran a really good offence at the CEGEP level and we’re seeing some of it here.”

The first two games of the season proved to be tough ones for the offence for many different reasons. But that is to be expected with a young team trying to find its identity. However, these are not excuses for the coaching staff.

Against Les Carabins de l’Université de Montréal, there were multiple missed opportunities by the Stingers to advance the ball down the field due to penalties and dropped passes that would have extended the Stingers offence’s time on the field.

“If we played our best game and lost 10-3, we would have been happy,” said Surprenant. “But after watching film, we’re not happy. We had a lot of missed opportunities at the end of the game that would have given our team a way better chance at winning.”

Whatever the reason may be for the dropped passes in that game, the Stingers could revisit what worked well for them. They moved quickly in their no-huddle offence and kept the Carabins, a top three team in the country, on their heels for a lot of the game whenever they got into an offensive rhythm.

However, this past week against McGill, their game plan got away from them. It started off with a four play offensive drive that ended in an Andrew Stevens punt. McGill caught the Stingers flat footed on defense and drove 82 yards in just three plays and never looked back.

A big part of any offence is the offensive line. Vance and his running backs can only do their jobs if the offensive line gives them the time to make plays. In the first quarter, starting left tackle Damien Constantin went down with an injury and did not return.

For right-handed quarterbacks, such as Vance, the left tackle is the most important position on the line as that position protects the quarterback’s blindside.

“It’s tough to overcome,” said Vance after Friday’s loss. “We don’t have a lot of depth [at the position]. It’s a really big blow.”

The Stingers found a bit of a rhythm in the second half but not enough to mount a comeback, as it was too little too late.

“We came [to McGill] and thought they’d roll over, but last time I checked we haven’t won a game in something like 300 days so we can’t be thinking like that,” Vance said.

The Stingers still have six more games this season to right their wrongs and get the offence on track. It is hard to temper expectations after such a strong effort in their first game against the Carabins, but they are still a very young team with a lot to learn, according to Surprenant.

“Coach Brad told the guys, ‘we need to learn how to win. You’re not born a winner and nothing is given.’ It’s a hard process but we know we will get to where we want to be,” said Surprenant.


Feature photo by Laurence BD


Stingers football head coach wants to know players better

Team faced challenges with Collinson coming in so close to start of year

The past 12 months for the Concordia Stingers football team have been a roller-coaster ride. Former head coach Mickey Donovan left the team last January for the Montreal Alouettes, and his brother Pat, who was the interim head coach, quit last May.

Current head coach Brad Collinson took over in June, and the team finished the season with a 2-6 record. They missed the playoffs for the first time since 2013, when they went 0-8. The head coach was on CJLO Sports on Oct. 29 and talked about the challenges of taking over the team so close to the start of the season.

“You don’t know the student-athletes so there’s that progression and adaptation,” Collinson said. “So for them, not knowing me as well, trying to get our points across on things we wanted to do and things we wanted to instill took some time.”  

The Stingers allowed the most rushing yards this season, with 6.9 yards/carry. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

Despite the quick changes, Collinson is still happy about how his players adapted. “The kids bought into what we were trying to do,” he added. “So that, moving forward, will be very helpful and they’ll be able to teach the new kids coming in how we want to do things.”

In addition to the new coach, the Stingers also had a new starting quarterback. Adam Vance took over from Trenton Miller, who graduated at the end of last season. Miller was hurt towards the end of last year, so Vance did get a few starts, but that was under Donovan’s offence.

Vance finished the season with 1,635 yards passing, 56.4 per cent completion, five touchdowns and 10 interceptions in eight starts. Despite throwing the most interceptions in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) this season, he had the second-most passing yards, behind Université de Laval Rouge et Or’s Hugo Richard.

“I’m sure he’s not as happy as he wants to be with his season but, moving forward, I think he can build on this,” Collinson said. “Hopefully, for next year, he’ll come in prepared and know what to expect as a starter.”

Vance had the luxury of having Jarryd Taylor available as a receiver. He finished the season with 24 catches for a league-high 527 yards, and two touchdowns. Collinson expects the third-year player to be a major part of his team next season.

“He had some really big games then teams caught up to what he was doing, so he can grow from this as well,” the Stingers football head coach said.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Stingers gave up the most points in the RSEQ, allowing 38 points per game—no other team allowed more than 30. They had only 10 forced turnovers on defence, compared to 25 on offence, once again the worst in each category. Rushing was their biggest weakness, allowing 6.9 yards per carry, and opponents scored 15 touchdowns against the Stingers on the ground.

For the head coach, fixing the defensive problems is a priority in the offseason. “We’re going to look ourselves in the mirror and see what we need to do to get better,” Collinson said, adding that they’re going back to the drawing board.

Coaching job posted

Concordia University posted a job opening for the Stingers football head coach position on Oct. 30. Stingers athletics director D’Arcy Ryan said it’s just a human resource formality, since they didn’t go through this process with Collinson in June.

“After Mickey Donovan quit last January, the job was never posted, so we’re just through the regular process,” Ryan said. “Collinson was not relieved of his duties and he’s still under contract with us.”

With files from Matthew Coyte. Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.


Stingers lose fourth straight game at home versus Redmen

Concordia takes 23 penalties in loss

The Concordia Stingers football team started their game against the McGill Redmen with a 10-0 lead before even going on defence. Despite this, they still lost their fourth-straight game 31-19 at the Concordia Stadium Saturday afternoon.

“We stopped playing,” said head coach Brad Collinson. “We got complacent when we had the lead.”

After Andrew Stevens scored a field goal on the Stingers’s opening drive, Redmen returner Pearce Dumay fumbled on the ensuing kick-off. The Stingers capitalized with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Yanic Lessard to grab a 10-0 lead before having to play defence.

Stingers mascot Buzz joined the cheerleading team. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

The Stingers played strong for the rest of the first quarter, and took a 17-2 lead when linebacker Samuel Brodrique returned a fumble 70 yards for a touchdown. Their lead grew to 17 points in the second quarter before McGill scored two field goals and a touchdown to go into halftime down 19-15. That’s when the Redmen started gaining momentum in the game.

“[McGill] started playing and we were sitting back on our laurels,” Collinson said. “We were happy that we were up and we just didn’t continue playing. That’s what it comes down to, it’s not rocket science.”

The Stingers didn’t score at all during the second half. The Redmen won the game with the strong running plays, as running back Donavan Martel led the game with 112 yards on 15 rushes. Quarterback Dimitrios Sinodinos also rushed for a touchdown in the third quarter, which gave the Redmen their first lead of the game.  

Penalties were another big factor in the loss. The Stingers had 23 penalties for a total of 215 yards—almost two lengths of the field. The Redmen had 11 penalties for 105 yards, which upset the home fans. Collinson said the undisciplined play wasn’t the deciding factor in the game, but offensive lineman Maurice Simba said it was demoralizing.

“We had three or four bad drives [with penalties] and obviously we got down,” Simba said. “But we just had to tell ourselves to keep playing.”

Despite the rivalry between McGill and Concordia, players on both teams were reminded that football is just a game. In the third quarter, Sinodinos threw a pass for wide receiver Jeremy Sauvageau in the end zone, who had to dive to try to make the grab. He couldn’t catch it, and as the players were going back to the line of scrimmage, he remained down, motionless. McGill’s trainers ran to attend to him right away, and he eventually walked off the field.

“Those are unfortunate moments that you don’t want to see on the playing field,” Collinson said. “But it is the reality of the sport.”

“No matter the colours he’s wearing, it hurts us to see it,” Simba added. “I can’t imagine what they went through seeing their teammate like that. I hope he’s okay.”

Wide receiver Jarryd Taylor was held to a single catch for six yards. Photo by Hannah Ewen.

With the loss, the Stingers now have a 2-5 record, tied with the Redmen. They sit in the fourth and last playoff spot, ahead of the 1-5 Université de Sherbrooke Vert et Or, who they beat in September. The Stingers travel to Sherbrooke on Oct. 27 in the last game of the regular season.

“We’re still in it and we still have a chance to make the playoffs,” Collinson said. “It’s up to [the players] on whether they want to pack it in or come out ready for another hard-fought battle in Sherbrooke next week.”

Main photo by Hannah Ewen.


Stingers put smiles on kids faces at Shriners

Shrine Bowl to hit $1-million mark

Preparations for the 32nd annual Shrine Bowl, benefiting the Shriners Hospital for Children, are underway. A few players of the Concordia Stingers football team made the yearly visit to the hospital on Sept. 26. With this year’s donations, the total amount of  money raised from the Shrine Bowl will hit the $1 million mark.

Head coach Brad Collinson, cornerback Khadeem Pierre, linebacker Jersey Henry, defensive tackle Brandon Pacheco, centre Marc-Antoine Sevigny, and defensive linemen Maurice Simba and Michael Sanelli all participated in the hospital visit.

Maurice Simba (foreground) said he enjoys putting smiles on kids’ faces. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

The players visit to patients throughout the hospital was accompanied by this year’s Shrine Bowl King and Queen, Saoud, 16, and Victoria,14, who are also patients at the Shriners. All of the players involved in this year’s walk around the hospital expressed how much they enjoy the experience and being able to interact with the patients.

“It’s been an honour to participate in this event every year,” Sanelli said. “I realize how blessed we are to play the sport. You put a smile on the kid’s face and brighten up their day and it’s an honour.”

Simba also said it’s great to make the kids happy and to see a smile on their faces. “I think it’s good that we do this as a program and on a personal level too,” he said.

“Seeing kids and making them happy is a big deal,” Pierre added. “It’s nice to give back.”

David Merrett, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Governors, expressed his feelings on being able to reach that one-million-dollar mark.

“The people who started this way back never would have imagined raising this amount because it just seemed unreachable,” Merrett said. “But as the years went on, and the dollar changed, it seemed reachable.”

Michael Sanelli, Marc-Antoine Sevigny and Brandon Pacheco all made the trip to the hospital. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

The Honorary Chairman of the event this year is former Stingers head coach Gerry McGrath. He coached the team from 2000 to 2013, and played in the CFL for the Montreal Alouettes, Montreal Concordes and Saskatchewan Roughriders for six years.

“I’ve been involved with the Shriners and this game for many years,” McGrath said. “It’s always special to see what they’ve done and see it get to the one million mark.”

The Stingers play in the Shrine Bowl at home on Sept. 30 against the Université de Laval Rouge et Or. Canadian singer Sara Diamond will perform the Canadian national anthem, and deliver a special halftime performance. Kick-off is at 2 p.m., with money raised from ticket sales donated to the Shriners Hospital for Children.

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.


Stingers humbled by Carabins with 74-3 loss

Concordia hasn’t given up this many points since 2014

The Concordia Stingers football team lost 74-3 to the Université de Montréal Carabins Saturday at the Concordian Stadium. The Stingers haven’t allowed this many points in a game since they lost to the Université de Laval Rouge et Or during the 2014 playoffs.

“We got beat,” head coach Brad Collinson said after the game.

The Stingers played well at the start of the game, holding the Carabins to a field goal in the first 20 minutes. Even though their defence was playing well, Concordia’s offence didn’t generate much, despite scoring a field goal early on. The game was tied 3-3 after the first quarter.

The Stingers offence scored their only points in the first quarter. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

The Carabins pulled away with the game in the second quarter. Asnnel Robo scored a 77-yard rushing touchdown six minutes into the second quarter, which put the travelling Carabins fans on their feet. The Stingers conceded a safety on the next drive, and from there, the Carabins were in full control of the game.

“It gets to a point where you understand you lost and the game is done,” said slot back James Tyrrell. “The score becomes irrelevant at one point, and you move onto next week before the game is done.”

The Carabins scored their second touchdown of the game with less than two minutes left in the second quarter on a one-yard pass to Robo. The Stingers had a two-and-out on the following drive, which allowed the Carabins to score a field goal and head into the halftime with a 22-3 lead.

The second half didn’t start much better for the Stingers, as Derek Trinh fumbled the kick-off. Robo scored his second rushing touchdown after the turnover. The Stingers were able to get some offensive chemistry going in the third quarter, but quarterback Adam Vance threw two interceptions returned for touchdowns, and fumbled once in the second half.

Vance was replaced by Maxime Bouffard in the fourth quarter after going 16/26 for 149 yards and three interceptions. Bouffard didn’t do much better, going 3/12 with two interceptions and 25 yards.

“Obviously when you lose, no one is going to be happy and laughing,” offensive lineman Maurice Simba said. “But this is our job to keep our heads held high. It happens: it’s a football game, you win some and lose some.”

The Carabins had a 40-3 lead after three quarters, but didn’t hold back in the fourth. They scored 31 points in the final 15 minutes, with three rushing touchdowns and an interception return for a touchdown.

“Obviously it was a bit of a down mood [on the bench],” Tyrrell said. “It’s tough to stay up in games like that when you’re losing like that […] and just battle with mind and saying, ‘You know what, I’m going to keep going until the end.”

With a 2-2 record, the Stingers are now third in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ). They host the first-place Rouge et Or next Saturday at 2 p.m.

“We have to be better,” Collinson said.

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad. 


Stingers home-opener gets crowd off their feet

Concordia scored 17 points in final six minutes to complete comeback win

The Concordia Stingers football team were trailing for 56 minutes of their home-opener against the Sherbrooke Vert et Or on Sept. 8 at the Concordia Stadium. A touchdown catch by wide receiver James Tyrrell gave the Stingers a 22-20 win as time expired, and helped improve their record to 1-1.

Heading into the second half down 9-0, the Stingers’s chances of beating the Vert et Or didn’t look good. They had been held to mostly ineffective plays, and any time they gained some momentum, it was quickly negated by penalties and turnovers.

Stingers quarterback Adam Vance said that the team just kept shooting themselves in the foot during the first half. Head coach Brad Collinson was not impressed with how his team came out in the first part of the game.

“I told them they had to look themselves in the mirror,” said Collinson about his halftime locker room talk with the team. “They had to make a decision coming out to that second half if they wanted to play or not.”

The Stingers needed a last-second field goal to beat the Vert et Or last season. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

Stingers air attack key in second half

The Stingers came out strong to start the second half. Vance was finally able to get his rhythm going and found chemistry with his receivers. Despite a slow first half, the air attack was deadly for the Stingers. Vance finished the game 20/34 for 441 yards and one touchdown pass. Wide receiver Jarryd Taylor had eight receptions for 258 yards, averaging over 35 yards per catch.

“Our whole offence [was clicking],” Taylor said. “We have the best receiving corps in all of Canada and we showed it today. I went into the locker at half with [one] catch. I’m the type of player who wants the ball in my hands every play.”

Sherbrooke made sure to vary their coverages to throw off the Stingers offence, but Vance was able to adjust and connect with his receivers.  

“Second half, we definitely came out with some anger behind us,” Tyrrell said, who finished the game with 78 yards and that game-winning touchdown catch.

Sherbrooke didn’t rack up as many yards in the game, but they made sure to take advantage of any opportunity. Quarterback Joé Hudon finished with 108 passing yards and a touchdown, and running back Gabriel Polan had 55 rushing yards. Sherbrooke’s play-action wreaked havoc for most of the game, and often left the Stingers’s defenders losing sight of the ball.

Despite playing better in the second half, the Stingers still found themselves in trouble. They were only able to score a single touchdown and get one field goal in the red zone all game. The Stingers were frustrated when they were in prime scoring position on the two-yard line late in the fourth quarter, down eight points. Stingers running back Widler Exilus took the handoff from Vance, but contact at the line of scrimmage made him drop the ball. That fumble was recovered by Vert et Or defensive back, Anthony Chagnon, who took it 108 yards to extend the Vert et Or lead to 20-5.

The Stingers seemed out of touch, especially after such a potentially demoralizing play. But a touchdown run and two safeties later, and the score was suddenly 20-16 with less than two minutes left in the game.

This was Brad Collinson’s first win as head coach of the Stingers. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

The Comeback

With 15 seconds left in the game and the Stingers in their own half, Vance used his arm to find Taylor. It was a 50-yard catch-and-run play that placed the Stingers on Sherbrooke’s 25-yard line.

With six seconds left on the clock, Vance snapped the ball, and Sherbrooke had four defenders deep in the endzone. The quarterback was forced out of the pocket, took a couple of steps forward, and tossed a high ball to the back corner of the endzone towards Tyrrell.

“I knew from the snap that I was going to him,” Vance said. “His vertical is crazy.”

Tyrrell leaped up, showcasing his vertical against two Sherbrooke defenders, and managed to bring the catch down for a touchdown as time expired.

The packed crowd exploded, as both fans and the entire Stingers team rushed onto the field to celebrate.

“I used to jump up and play ‘Jackpot’ when I was little, so it just came down to that,” Tyrrell said. “This is the stuff you dream of. It’s just you and the ball, you don’t hear anything else, you just have to catch it.”

Games notes

For Stingers offensive guard Kenny Johnson, this was about as good of a return to the home field as he could have hoped. Johnson missed the last three seasons recovering from a serious knee injury which he suffered in 2015, during his rookie season. After three surgeries, he is finally back on the field as a fifth-year player. This was his first game back at the Concordia Stadium, where he suffered his injury. For him, the win meant a lot. “It’s amazing,” Johnson said. “I came back to a team filled with my brothers. I had my friends come out [to the game], my girlfriend come out. The crowd was with us the whole time.”

The Stingers will take on the McGill Redmen at McGill on Sept. 15.

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.


Stingers pull off a massive comeback with 22-20 win over Sherbrooke

James Tyrrell hauls down game-winning touchdown as time expires

The Concordia Stingers football team managed to pull off a massive comeback as they beat the Sherbrooke Vert et Or 22-20, thanks to a game-winning touchdown catch by wide receiver James Tyrrell.

Heading into the second half down 9-0, the Stingers’s chances of beating the Vert et Or didn’t look good. They had been held to mostly ineffective plays, and any time momentum got moving their way, it was quickly negated by penalties and turnovers.

Stingers quarterback Adam Vance said that the team just kept shooting themselves in the foot during the first half. Head coach Brad Collinson was not impressed with how his team came out in the first half.

“I told them they had to look themselves in the mirror,” said Collinson about his halftime locker room talk with the team. “They had to make a decision coming out to that second half if they wanted to play or not.”

The Stingers came out strong in the beginning of the second half. Vance was finally able to get his rhythm going, and found chemistry with his receivers. Despite a slow first half, the air attack was deadly for the Stingers in the second half. Vance finished the game 20/34 passing for 441 yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Jarryd Taylor had eight receptions for 258 yards.

“Our whole offence [was clicking],” Taylor said. “We have the best receiving corps in all of Canada and we showed it today. I went into the locker at half with [one] catch. I’m the type of player who wants the ball in my hands every play.”

Concordia needed a rushing TD to kick-start their comeback in the fourth quarter. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

Sherbrooke made sure to vary their coverages in order to throw off the Stingers offence, but Vance was able to adjust and connect with his receivers. “Second half, we definitely came out with some anger behind us,” Tyrell said, who finished the game with 78 yards and the game-winning touchdown catch.

Sherbrooke didn’t rack up as many yards in the game, but they made sure to take advantage of their chances. Quarterback Joé Hudon finished with 108 passing yards and a touchdown, and running back Gabriel Polan had 55 rushing yards. Sherbrooke’s play-action wreaked havoc for most of the game, and often left Stingers defenders losing sight of the ball.

The red zone was not a friendly place for the Stingers, as they were able to convert only a field goal and touchdown throughout the whole game. This frustration came to a point when the Stingers found themselves on the one-yard line in the fourth quarter, but fumbled the ball. That fumble was recovered by Vert et Or defensive back Anthony Chagnon, who took it the length of the field to score, extending their lead to 20-5 with six minutes left.

The Stingers seemed out of touch, especially after such a potentially demoralizing play. But a touchdown run, and two safeties later, the score was suddenly 20-16 with about 1:30 left in the game.

With six seconds left on the clock, Vance snapped the ball, and Sherbrooke had four defenders deep in the endzone. The quarterback was forced out of the pocket, took a couple of steps forward, and tossed a high ball to the back corner of the endzone towards Tyrrell.

“I knew from the snap that I was going to him. His vertical is crazy,” Vance said. Tyrrell leaped up with two Sherbrooke defenders, and somehow managed to bring the ball down as time expired.


The packed crowd exploded, as both fans and the entire Stingers team rushed onto the field to celebrate.

“I used to jump up and play ‘Jackpot’ when I was little, so it just came down to that,” Tyrrell. “This is the stuff you dream of. It’s just you and the ball, you don’t hear anything else, you just have to catch it.”

The Stingers will take on the McGill Redmen at McGill on Sept. 15 in their next game.

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad. 


Brad Collinson’s journey from Stingers captain to head coach

St-Bruno native’s football career has come full circle since he played for Concordia

Brad Collinson, 39, was named the new Concordia Stingers football head coach in June 2018. However, the coach’s return to Concordia is just another chapter in his long football career.

“It was always a personal goal of mine to be the coach at Concordia,” Collinson said.

A St-Bruno native, Collinson, began his football career as a kid, under the guidance of his father who played football as well. Collinson described his younger self as a big kid who played many sports before settling on football.

The first big step in his football career was becoming a member of the Vanier Cheetahs football team in 1996. During his time at Vanier, he was scouted by National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) teams in the United States, and by Canadian universities. He accepted a scholarship for the University of Tennessee at Martin after graduating with a diploma in communications in 1998, but that didn’t last long.

“I got my DEC from CEGEP and was hoping to get my first year credited [at Tennessee Martin], which usually happens,” Collinson said. “After the tour they said, ‘No we don’t do that.’ So, I made an academic decision to come home shortly thereafter.”

Once he returned to Quebec in 2000, he joined the Concordia Stingers football team. Playing as a centre and long snapper, Collinson was named captain early on during his time with the team, and established himself as a leader both on and off the field. That hasn’t changed since, according to some of his current players, who describe him as strong and tough, but fair.  

Collinson was then signed as a free agent by the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League (CFL) and started every game during the 2003 season. The Alouettes won the East Division and made it to the Grey Cup, ultimately losing to the Edmonton Eskimos that year.

“That was a childhood dream,” Collinson said about playing in the CFL. “I’m a Montreal kid, born and raised, so when you get the opportunity to play for your hometown, it’s always special.”

That stellar season would end up being his first and last as a CFL player. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t my choice to step away when I got released after training camp in 2004,” Collinson said about leaving the Alouettes.

He went back to Concordia to finish his degree and became a part-time staff member for the football team, as he would be unable to rejoin the Stingers as a player due to his year in the CFL. Collinson received his degree in leisure science in 2005.

“You always want to find something that you love to do,” Collinson said. “As a leisure science student, it all related to coaching and working with individuals to help them achieve their goal. It was just a natural thing for me to come do coaching.”

The Stingers went 3-4 last season and lost in the first round of the playoffs. Archive photo by Alex Hutchins.

In 2010, Collinson stepped away from Concordia and moved onto head-coaching jobs for U18 Team Canada and Team Quebec. He was also an assistant coach with the Université de Laval Rouge et Or, and during his time, they played in six Vanier Cups and won four.

“We’re building that winning culture here,” said Collinson about bringing his winning pedigree to Concordia. “I am trying to instill that work ethic. It’s not going to happen overnight; it’s a process that I think the kids are adapting to well.”

Most football coaches at the professional and collegiate level have played the sport at some point. Collinson made that transition long ago with success as an assistant coach and expects his past will help in excelling the program.

“I think it helps having the experience on both sides,” Collinson added. “I’ve grabbed things from each person along the way and developed my own style. I also want the guys to understand the history here and make them aware that this school is special.”

Collinson has no aspirations to coach in the CFL, so his aim and focus remain strictly on the job and what he is doing at Concordia.

“This is the age I want to work with. It’s the age where we can help them the most and get them to achieve their goals with the biggest rewards,” said Collinson. “There’s no amount of money that would make me leave here for the CFL.”

The head coach added that the Stingers are giving the players resources to develop on and off the field. He said his main focus will be making sure his players graduate.

Collinson brings a lot of experience and knowledge to the Concordia Stingers football team that could help them this coming season. With his background as a player and an assistant coach, he understands what it would take to turn this young Stingers team into a winning one. The Stingers will be seeking their first Vanier Cup appearance since 1998, and the team’s first victory in its history.

“We always have the goal to win the Vanier Cup, and if we don’t believe that, it’ll never happen,” Collinson added.

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad. 

Exit mobile version