Concordia 7 Laval 33: Stingers offence struggles against the Rouge et Or

Concordia make costly mistakes in their season opener loss to Laval

The Concordia Stingers drop their season opener to the Laval Rouge et Or, 672 days after the two teams last met in the semifinals of the RSEQ playoffs in 2019. 

Concordia started the game with possession but turned the ball over on their first play of the game. Olivier Roy, the Stingers’ quarterback, threw on first down into heavy coverage. The play-action was read beautifully by the Rouge et Or, who intercepted the pass and found themselves with great field position less than a minute into the match.

After the game, Roy admitted he was disappointed about the interception considering it was his first play as Concordia’s starting quarterback, but didn’t let it affect his focus and future approach to the game.

“We always say it’s important to have short term memory,” Roy said. “Whether it’s a good play or a bad play, as a team we just have to move on to the next.” 

Laval was able to seize control early with their defence, and never took their foot off the gas. The Rouge et Or established their passing game early and often, which opened up their running options as the match progressed. The game was blown wide open in the second quarter, and went into halftime with Laval leading 17-2. 

Laval’s potent offence was led by their second-year quarterback Thomas Bolduc, who finished the game with 267 yards and threw two touchdowns passes. Meanwhile, Roy threw for 216 yards with 19 completions but tallied a pair of costly interceptions. He said the loss on Saturday boiled down to a lack of execution. 

“We haven’t played in about two years but we had a good training camp,” Roy said. “There are no excuses, we just need to be better and learn from this loss.” 

Bolduc threw questionable balls into coverage a couple of times throughout the day, but Concordia failed to pull in some easy interceptions that could have turned the tides in their favour. 

A 72-yard touchdown run by Laval’s Philippe Lessard-Vézina with less than a minute to go in the game padded the Rouge et Or’s rushing totals to 186 yards, as opposed to the Stingers’ 78 yards on the ground.

Roy said the atmosphere at the game felt normal despite the newly imposed rules and regulations.

“I know the crowd was less than usual but I honestly didn’t notice,” Roy said. “I think the fans were excited for the game so the energy was great and the crowd was loud.” 

The Stingers’ next matchup will be against the Montreal Carabins at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10. 


Photograph by Catherine Reynolds


Concordia captures Shrine Bowl

Stingers rally and win on a last-minute field goal to beat McGill 30-28 in their final home game

The Stingers hosted their downtown rivals, the McGill Redmen, in the 27th annual Shrine Bowl on Saturday. It was the second meeting for these two teams this season as the Stingers won the last meeting decisively, 41-12. Saturday’s game was a lot different as Stingers trailed for most of the game and would need a last-second field goal by kicker Keegan Treloar to get the win.

On their opening drive, the Stingers went down the field and ended the drive with a 13-yard field goal by Treloar. The Redmen, on their opening drive, would take the lead with a one-yard touchdown by their running back Raphael Casey.

The second quarter was a scoring explosion. The Redmen increased their lead on a one-yard touchdown run by another Redmen running back, Pelle Jorgen. The Stingers, on their next drive, went down the field and quarterback François Dessureault connected with wide receiver Shayne Stinson four times on the drive. Stingers running back, Oliver Dupont would get a three-yard touchdown run to cut the Redmen lead to four points.

Concordia’s special teams would come up big on the kickoff as McGill’s kick returner, Kenny Baye fumbled the ball in the end zone and Stinger Jordan McLaren recovered it for a touchdown. The Stingers scored 15 points in 11 seconds and took a 22-18 lead into halftime.

The Redmen started with the football to start the third quarter and on their opening drive they would get a single point due to a 50-yard touchback by punter Remi Bertellin. The Redmen, on their next drive, cruised down the field thanks to the play of their quarterback and true freshman, Joel Houle, who capped off the drive with a quarterback sneak for a touchdown.

Concordia would get their first points of the final quarter on a 15-yard field goal by Treloar. The Redmen coaches made an interesting move and gave up a safety to make it just a one-point lead late in the fourth quarter. The Stingers took advantage of McGill’s coaching decision as they moved the ball down the field. With 45 seconds left, Treloar kicked a 45-yarder to clinch the victory.

“I knew it was good once it left my foot,” said Treloar after his game-winning kick.

Head Coach Mickey Donovan completed his first year with the team and was happy with the results, but says there’s still a lot of work to do.

“It was a character win as we did not play our best,” said Donovan. “It was a good first year but we want to improve, and with a 5-3 record we are just middle of the pack.”

The Stingers ended the regular season in fourth place and will face Laval next week in the playoffs.


Stingers football team remains undefeated

Concordia defeated Sherbrooke 29-22 in front of an energetic homecoming crowd

The Concordia Stingers defeated Sherbrooke Vert et Or by a score of 29-22 on Friday night, Sept. 19, in Concordia’s homecoming game. With the victory, the Stingers are 3-0 for the first time since 2006, and it was the first time that the Stingers beat the Vert et Or in four years.

Concordia’s quarterback, Francois Dessureault, was the key player in the victory. He completed 19 of his 25 passes and threw for 275 yards, including three touchdowns.

The Stingers defense started the game perfectly as they forced Vert et Or to go two-and-out on their first two drives of the game.

Photo by Nikolas Litzenberger

Then, the Stingers offence broke out. Led by Dessureault, Concordia got the first touchdown of the game on a 62-yard pass to wide receiver Jamal Henry with just over ten minutes to go in the first quarter.

Sherbrooke would get their first points of the game on a 24-yard field goal by kicker, Mathieu Hebert with two minutes left in the first quarter. However, the Stingers defence tightened up and made Sherbrooke’s quarterback Jeremi Roch pay for his mistakes in the second quarter.

Concordia’s defense came out flying and picked off Roch three times in the quarter. Stingers defensive back, Kris Robertson, had two interceptions, one of which he ran back for a 64-yard touchdown.

The Stingers went into halftime leading 14-12, but should have had a bigger lead. The offence gave up a safety and had two fumbles that were recovered by Sherbrooke. Late in the second half, one of Concordia’s fumbles was scooped up by the Vert et Or defender, Rami Saintus, who ran it back for 20-yard touchdown.

Photo by Nikolas Litzenberger

Sherbrooke got the first points of the second half after another 24-yard field goal by Hebert, but that’s as close as the Vert et Or got to victory.

Concordia answered with a six-minute drive that eventually ended with a seven-yard touchdown reception by Henry, his second of the contest.

After a muffed punt on Sherbrooke’s next drive, the Stingers offence put the game out of reach. Starting on the Vert et Or’s 40-yard line, Stingers receiver Shayne Stinson had back-to-back receptions that ended with a 19-yard touchdown reception. Stinson was Dessureault’s favourite target during the game, as he hauled in six catches for 112 yards. By then, the Stingers were up by 29-15 and headed into the final quarter with a secure lead.

The fourth quarter was dominated by both defenses. Even though Sherbrooke scored a late touchdown to make it 29-22, it was too late and the homecoming celebration had begun.

Although the Stingers walked away with a win, it was a costly one. Midway through the second half, Concordia lost its star rookie running back, Gunner Tatum, to a head injury after a dangerous hit by a Sherbrooke defender. Stingers head coach Mickey Donovan stated after the game that he does not know when he will return to action.

Despite the unfortunate injury, Donovan was pleased with the win.

“It was a good victory for us, something we have not done in four years.”


Stingers deliver beat-down to cross-town rival

Concordia’s football team dominated from start to finish to earn a convincing victory

The Concordia Stingers are officially on a roll after defeating the McGill Redmen in the 46th annual Shaughnessy Cup on Friday by a score of 41-7. With the win, the Stingers improved to an impressive 2-0 on the season.

The win, according to Concordia’s head coach Mickey Donovan, was a result of concentration and energy.

“We got complacent a little bit as we were coming into the second half, but we had a great talk in the second half and the kids came together. The coaches did a great job and we came off firing,” Donovan said.

Photo by Keith Race

Headlining the game was Stingers’ quarterback Francois Dessureault, who was good on 16 of his 33 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns. Dessureault also carried the ball six times for 33 yards and ran for a touchdown of his own.

The Stingers defensive unit allowed minimal success for the Redmen offence, forcing two straight two-and-outs to begin the game, paving the way for Dessureault and his offence to score on three consecutive drives.

Fourth year veteran kicker Keegan Treloar opened the floodgates for the Stingers after connecting on a 15-yard field goal early in the first quarter. It was the first of his four successful attempts of the night.

On Concordia’s second possession, Dessureault crossed the goal line on an untouched five-yard sprint, giving Concordia an early 10-0 lead.

McGill’s ensuing possession was a short one. Concordia defensive back Kris Robertson, who was selected in the second round of the 2013 CFL Draft by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, picked off Redmen quarterback Dallon Kuprowski and returned the football 48 yards. The turnover set up Dessureault to find his receiver J.C. Benny for a seven-yard touchdown.

The Redmen continued to struggle offensively in the first half. McGill gave up three safeties and only found the end zone once on a catch from Kuprowski to receiver Louis Brouillette.

The first half ended with the Stingers leading the Redmen 23-7. Unfortunately for McGill, the third quarter was all too familiar for Concordia.

Stingers running back Gunner Tatum continued his hot start to the season and found holes through McGill’s defensive line, allowing Treloar to add another three points from 42 yards out. The kick extended Concordia’s lead by 19 points.

McGill, in a rather large hole, decided to replace Kuprowski with quarterback Joel Houle, who found no luck penetrating Concordia’s relentless defense. Concordia continued to thrive, earning their fourth team safety and another 42-yard field goal from Treloar, increasing the Stingers lead to 24 by the end of the third quarter.

Dessureault continued to shine midway through the fourth quarter, capping off a drive with a 34-yard connection to receiver Daniel Skube for a 38-7 Concordia lead. Despite his strong day, Dessureault was quick to heap praise on his teammates.

“The chemistry is great. They’re making plays, they’re making great catches, making me look good actually. But with all the chemistry we have, we still have to learn how to finish our drives,” said Dessureault. “We left a lot of points out there and I think we could do a lot better.”

Concordia’s defense allowed only 48 rushing yards, recorded four sacks, and allowed only one score.

“I’m proud of them, and I’m proud of my brother (defensive coordinator Pat Donovan). He did a great job scheming all week. He got the guys going. Without Coach Pat here, we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing,” said Donovan.

 The Stingers will now shift their focus to a Sept. 19 home clash with the Sherbrooke Vert & Or.


Stung hard and reeling

What started off as a season filled with promise has taken a turn for the worse as the Concordia Stingers football team sits at 2-4 with three games left in the regular season.

The first of their upcoming games is against an improved McGill Redmen squad at Percival Molson Stadium, followed by a rematch against the Sherbrooke Vert et Or, who dismantled the Stingers 46-6 on Saturday at Concordia Stadium. The final game of the season comes against the class of the RSEQ, the Laval Rouge et Or.

The only game that can be a predicted win is the McGill game. Though, even that will be a tough contest, as the Stingers offense was nowhere to be found against Sherbrooke, or against the Université de Montréal Carabins the week before, where the Stingers were shut out by a score of 38-0 by the latter.

Halfway through the 2012 campaign, we have a better understanding of how the team compares to the top schools in the province and, as it stands, Concordia’s football program is nowhere close to the rest.

There are plenty of talented players on this team, but they haven’t been able to put consistent efforts as a unit on a weekly basis. What’s up for debate is whether the team simply isn’t prepared going into games. This would either fall on Gerry McGrath and his coaching staff or solely on Concordia’s talent, which, while solid, is simply not up to par with Montréal’s, Sherbrooke’s or Laval’s.

The Montréal defensive line made mincemeat of the Stingers offensive line in the teams’ two games this season, teeing off on quarterback Reid Quest for a whopping 15 sacks combined, not to mention the hits Quest took after releasing the ball or scrambling for yards. However, they have allowed 21 total sacks on the season, suggesting that Montréal may simply have one of the more ferocious pass rushes in the country.

Quest, who started the season off well, has tailed off as of late, having thrown five interceptions in his last two games. Quest is not all to blame for several of the interceptions, as some were balls that his receivers were unable to contain, instead getting tipped and picked off. At the end of the day however, it shows up on his stat line, and he has admitted that he needed to a better job of taking care of the football.

The aforementioned receiving core is seriously missing Kris Bastien, who has been out with a shoulder injury that he suffered in the first game of the season (a game in which he caught 6 passes for 242 yards). The Stingers are trying to fill the void with Sanchez Deschamps, Mike Harrington, Jamal Henry, and Shayne Stinson, but having Bastien back in the lineup bolsters the entire receiving corps and brings a different dimension to the passing attack.

The running game has been average at best, averaging 108 yards a game, good for fifth in the six-team conference, but Michael Donnelly and Raul Thompson won’t be getting many touches if the team is always forced to play catch-up early in the games. When given the opportunity, Donnelly has been a solid running back, and the speedy Thompson has shown to be a good change-of-pace runner.

On the defensive side of the ball, things don’t get much better. The Stingers are giving up an average of 38 points a game, and currently rank last or second-to-last in pass defense, and rush defense, culminating in an average of nearly 500 yards against a game.

The unit has its bright spots, however. Linebackers Travis Bent and Max Caron, last year’s Presidents’ Trophy winner as the most outstanding defensive player in the country, are ranked third and fifth on the tackles list, respectively. Defensive end Quinn Smith is ranked fourth in the conference in sacks, with five in total.

Keegan Treloar has been solid in the kicking game, having hit on 11 of his 17 field goal attempts, while defensive backs Kris Robertson and Nathan Taylor have proven to be two of the most dynamic kick returners in the country, with Robertson handling kicks and punts and Taylor bringing back missed field goals.

Overall, it’s safe to say the season thus far has been a disappointment but the players know it, the coaches know it, and one would think that the school knows it, too. While the results haven’t completely tarnished the program’s reputation, the future does not bode well if the team cannot get their act together and give top-end recruits a reason to commit to Concordia.

The next three games are essentially do or die for the Stingers. Sufficient to say that if the downward spiral continues, there could be drastic changes made during the off-season.


Stingers football team falls to Sherbrooke in the Shrine Bowl

It was a cold and crisp Saturday afternoon when Concordia’s football team hosted the Sherbrooke Vert et Or in the 26th annual Shrine Bowl. Both teams entered the game with a 2-3 record and were looking to get back to .500. The murky afternoon never brightened up for the Stingers as they lost to Sherbrooke in an upsetting 48-6 final score.

The game started with a bang when Stinger Raul Thompson returned the opening kickoff for 59 yards. Concordia capitalized from their starting field position and took an early 3-0 lead. That was as good as it got for the Stingers as the Vert et Or would respond with 18 unanswered points and went into halftime up 28-6.

With only 90 yards on the ground, Sherbrooke’s throwing game tormented Concordia’s defense throughout the entire match. Sherbrooke’s quarterbacks Jérémi Roch and James Goulet combined for 273 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Despite the score, Concordia’s offense also put up impressive stats even though they never scored a touchdown.

“I bet you the offensive statistics are pretty close between the two teams,” said Stingers coach Gerry McGrath after the game. The Stingers ended the afternoon with 235 yards in the air and 104 on the ground.

Concordia’s downfall was the turnovers. With three turnovers in the first quarter alone, the Stingers gave up a total of two interceptions, four fumbles and three turnovers on downs. Sherbrooke was able to capitalize off Concordia’s mistakes and scored 23 points on these turnovers.

“The biggest difference was turnovers,” said Stingers defensive end Eric Noivo. “Unfortunately for us, they got a couple of lucky bounces and we got behind early.”

By the end of the game, the packed crowd continued to cheer and were in their seats until the final whistle. Win or lose, the Shrine Bowl continues to generate donations for the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

“There was a certain excitement around the team leading up to the game,” said Noivo. “It’s fun to play for the kids, especially when you see how much it means to them.”


The Stingers’ next game is Saturday, Oct. 13 when they will travel to McGill to play for the Shaughnessy Cup at 1 p.m.


Photos by Veronique Thivierge

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