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.


More than just a football player

Jarryd Taylor also plays on the baseball team and likes to draw in his free time

At five years old, Jarryd Taylor knew he wanted to play football. Now, he’s living his dream as a wide receiver for the Concordia Stingers football team.

Growing up near Riverside Park in LaSalle, and seeing other kids play football, Taylor thought the sport looked fun. He asked his mom to register him to play and has loved it ever since. The first team he played for was the LaSalle Warriors. In high school, he got a full scholarship to play as a quarterback at St-Francis High School in Athol Springs, N.Y.

Things changed for Taylor in his junior year when a wide receiver at St-Francis switched schools, leaving the position open. The coaches tried Taylor out there, and he’s played that position ever since. Taylor said his favourite part about football is scoring touchdowns, and he gets the best opportunity to do so as a wide receiver.

“There’s no better feeling,” Taylor said. “You’re the only one with the ball in the end zone and all the fans are cheering or they’re quiet because you’re [at away games].”

So far this season, he’s only scored one touchdown in five games, but is ranked second in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) in receiving yards, at 475. Taylor has also been a reliable deep threat this season, with 15.8 yards per catch, which is the third-highest in the RSEQ.

He said his strongest skill is route running and being able to get past a defensive back to get open. He said his weakest skill would be blocking, since he doesn’t like contact.

Jarryd Taylor runs his route during a game against the Sherbrooke Vert et Or on Sept. 30. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

Although he’s only 19, Taylor’s presence on the team doesn’t go unnoticed.

“I feel way more confident [than last year],” he said. “I might be the youngest on the team, but people still look up to me and look at me to make plays. I’m no veteran but I am a second-year, so they look at me differently than they did last year. It’s cool. I like it.”

A man of many talents, football isn’t the only sport Taylor plays. He’s on the Stingers baseball team as well, where he pitches about once a week. His love of baseball started at nine or 10 years old after his grandmother asked him: “‘Why not try it out?”

Although he enjoys baseball, it’s more of a hobby—so when football and baseball conflict, football comes first. Consequently, school sometimes takes a hit and ends up being put on the backburner, but Taylor said he still manages to get everything done.

“I’m in finance right now, but I’m not really intrigued by it,” he said. “I only took it last year because I was good in math, so I was like, ‘Okay, I’ll go into finance.’” He is also taking sociology and film classes, and said he wants to go into film or screenplay writing.

After playing with the Concordia Stingers and finishing his studies, Taylor has high hopes for his future. He wants to make a difference in the world through humanitarian work.

“I want to go into the Green Cross and go into sanctuaries and third-world countries where there are all kinds of endangered species, to work as a volunteer,” he said. “If they give me shelter and food, I’ll be happy with that in my life.”

During his busy schedule, he still finds the time to work as a school monitor for Westmount Park Elementary, even if only for two hours a day. Even though Taylor is involved with many activities, he’s quite introverted and likes to stay in his own bubble.

“I like to draw. I do it pretty much every night,” the athlete said. “I usually do realism pictures—anything that comes to mind. I’ll be looking at Pinterest or whatever and just [think], ‘That’s a cool picture, let me make my own remake of it.’”

Taylor also gets inspiration from driving around Montreal. He said if he sees something worth recreating in his drawings, he’ll go back to the spot to draw it.

Taylor’s biggest supporter and inspiration is his mom. He said she is always the loudest in the crowd and always drove the eight hours to watch him play when he was in high school.

“I don’t remember the last time she missed a game,” Taylor said. “She plays the role model, she plays everything. I see how she lives her life, and I [aspire] to be that kind of character when I grow up […] She inspires me to do most of the things that I do.”

From drawing to humanitarian work, Taylor’s mother has seen him grow into more than just a football player.

Main photo by Alex Hutchin

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