Stingers moving on without their head coach

Players reflect on Mickey Donovan as he moves onto Alouettes as special teams coordinator

After serving as the Concordia Stingers head coach for four seasons, Mickey Donovan is leaving the team to join the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL) as a special teams coordinator.

The 37-year-old coach joined the Stingers coaching staff in 2014 alongside his brother, Patrick, who is the team’s assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. In four seasons, Donovan coached the team to a 16-15 record.

Second-year linebacker and captain Samuel Brodrique, said Donovan was a large part of the team’s success over the past few years. He isn’t surprised Donovan’s making the jump to professional football.

“I talked a lot with coach Mickey and it felt like, when it came to his career, he really wanted to push it to the next level,” Brodrique said. “When I heard about where he was going, I was happy for him and I think, for him, it’s the right decision.”

Jean-Guy Rimpel, a third-year running back with the team, said Donovan’s presence in the locker room will be missed, as he was not just a leader but a motivator as well.

“We fed off his energy every game,” Rimpel said. “He’s really appreciated by the team, but we’re also happy that he has been promoted and in the CFL now.”

Brodrique, who was recruited by Donovan in 2016, echoed Rimpel’s sentiments, saying that Donovan is a coach who knows how to get the most out of his team.

Wide receivers Jarryd Taylor (left) and Vince Alessandrini (right) were both recruited by Mickey Donovan. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

“He talks well, so every time he gave a speech it was a good one,” Brodrique said. “He’s intense so the team was able to channel his intensity when it came time to play.”

Brodrique added that, while Donovan helped the team on the field, he was also the type of coach to take an interest in his players off the field.

“He wanted all of his players to do well in life, and he was the type of guy who would tell us that not everything was about football,” Brodrique said. “He cared about how you did in school and just all aspects of life.”

Patrick Donovan will be taking over as interim head coach of the Stingers while the team looks for a permanent replacement. While both Brodrique and Rimpel realize that a head coaching change will be a big adjustment for the team, they both noted that the team is filled with veterans.

“We’re a pretty mature team filled with third and fourth-year players,” Rimpel said. “If we were a bunch of rookies, it would be different, but everyone is focused on doing their work so we should be good.”

“Everything that is new is exciting,” Brodrique added. “We really like coach Pat because he’s like his brother, so it won’t be too much of a change. Everybody is excited for coach Mickey […] There are no hard feelings, we’re just happy for him.”

Main photo by Alex Hutchins


Concordia Stingers dismantle the McGill Redmen in homecoming game

Quarterback Trenton Miller sets school record with six touchdown passes in 68-16 win

There’s a good chance the McGill Redmen football team will be having nightmares about their recent game against the Concordia Stingers.

In their first meeting of the season on Sept. 16, the Concordia Stingers, wearing their classic maroon and gold uniforms, beat the McGill Redmen, in their vintage white and red jerseys, by a score of 68-16. Concordia scored 30 points in the first quarter.

On the opening drive, Trenton Miller, the fifth-year quarterback, found receiver Jarryd Taylor downfield for a 56-yard pass that put the Stingers at McGill’s one-yard line. On the next play, running back Jean-Guy Rimpel gave the Stingers the lead, scoring his first of two touchdowns in the game. Rimpel also finished the game with 78 yards rushing.

The early offensive burst brought fans to their feet, and the rest of the game kept giving them reasons to cheer.

It was a lead that would go unchallenged by McGill, as the Stingers continued to make play after play, both on offence and defence. The defensive line, led by six-foot-five Wade Leeroy Cyr, swarmed McGill quarterback Frédéric Paquette-Perreault. The Stingers defence disrupted plays all game, with two sacks and two interceptions. Meanwhile, the McGill offence only generated 377 total yards on 63 plays, versus Concordia’s 589 yards on 64 plays.

Receiver Yanic Lessard carries the ball against the McGill Redmen on Sept. 16. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

The Stingers played in front of 4,813 fans at Concordia Stadium as part of their homecoming event. It was the perfect day for the homecoming game, with the unmistakable energy of one of the oldest university rivalries in the country.

“This rivalry has been going on for so long. It’s always a battle,” said Stingers defensive end Lukas Redguard. He added that the atmosphere of the game had an impact on how the game was played. “It’s great. We need this every game. It was awesome, the turnout was awesome, the fans are great. They got loud when we needed them to get loud. It was a good day.”

Last season, the Redmen beat the Stingers 21-8 when they played at Concordia. Stingers head coach Mickey Donovan said that loss stayed with him all year.

“This week, I properly prepared these guys the hardest I’ve done all year,” Donovan said. “We rode them this week. This win shows me that we have a group that is willing to listen, and that can perform.”

While the offence was putting up points like they had discovered a glitch in the latest Madden video game, the stands were electric. The homecoming didn’t disappoint fans and alumni.

Brent Bodkin, the Stingers announcer and a former player, talked about the heated rivalry between the cross-town universities.

“This is the biggest rivalry in university football in Canada,” Bodkin said. “It doesn’t matter what the records are, what the rosters are—when it’s Concordia versus McGill, whether it’s here or at Percival Molson Stadium [McGill’s home stadium], the intensity always gets picked up.”

Concordia University also honoured the 1967 Loyola College Warriors and Sir George Williams Georgians football teams as part of the homecoming game. The former members of the Concordia athletic family proudly walked onto the field after the game and saluted the current roster.

Former Concordia football player and business graduate, Bob Jones, commented on how the game has changed since his time as a player, and talked about the team’s performance.

“The quality of football now is a lot better than when we played,” Jones said. “The team is a lot better than our group of guys.”

Jones added: “It was a super game. They brought us in for a reunion, and they put on a performance that we’re very appreciative of.”

The lopsided score left McGill fans obviously disappointed, but they continued to cheer their team on.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” said McGill fan Sylvain Dethier. “Both sides are cheering for their team, and I think that’s fair.”

Stingers defensive linemen face the McGill Redmen on Sept. 16. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

Miller made Stingers history at Saturday’s game, breaking the school’s previous record for most passing touchdowns in a game. The record was previously set by Sean Hoas in 1998. With six passing touchdowns, Miller was just one touchdown pass short of matching the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec’s (RSEQ) record of seven passing touchdowns in a single game.

“It’s sweet. But while my name might be in the record book, unfortunately, the names of our offensive line won’t be in there,” Miller said. “They were giving me all day to throw, and our receivers were making plays.”

The Stingers offence was efficient against a McGill defence that seemed confused at times and completely unable to defend against passing plays. Miller found receivers down the field almost unopposed, with McGill’s defensive backs and defensive line unable to put enough pressure on the quarterback. He threw for 472 yards and passed his six touchdown passes to four different receivers. Taylor, Vince Alessandrini and Kyle Greenbaum each caught a touchdown pass, while Sam Nadon had three touchdowns.

However, it seems Miller and the Stingers are already looking forward to the next matchup against the McGill Redmen on Oct. 14 at Percival Molson Stadium.

“Anytime we can beat our rival McGill, it’s one of those games you’re circling [on] your calendar,” Miller said. “Hats off to them, they played well. I know they’ll come back strong next game so we can’t take anything for granted.”

The Concordia Stingers next game is away on Sept. 24 against the Laval Rouge et Or.

Main photo by Alex Hutchins


A one-game-at-a-time mentality for the Stingers

Head coach Mickey Donovan doesn’t want players looking too far ahead into the season

After finishing third in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) conference with a 4-4 record last year, the Concordia Stingers football team is looking to make the jump to the next level.

However, the team isn’t looking too far into the season.

“We’re taking it one day at a time, one game at a time,” said head coach Mickey Donovan. “This conference is too good to look ahead, and [too good] to have bigger goals than that. My approach is taking it week by week and taking care of business when we have to.”

Starting quarterback Trenton Miller agreed with his coach’s approach to the season. “We don’t have any expectations this year for the team,” he said. “The mentality this year is that we are playing for each other, and we have everyone’s back no matter what.”

“The mentality this year is that we are playing for each other, and we have everyone’s back no matter what.” – Trenton Miller

Heading into his fourth season as head coach, Donovan is looking for difference-makers to step up, be leaders and take command of the field.

“We’re creating better depth and better competition out there on the field,” he said. “Guys are understanding that because they’ve been with us for three or four years.”

That depth is being bolstered by a string of new recruits, led by defensive back Jersey Henry from Vanier College, who Donovan mentioned caught his eye.

Quaysie Gordon-Maule carries the ball on a kick return against the UdeM Carabins. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

Statistically, the Stingers were an average team last year, finishing in the middle of the pack in most categories. The team also allowed the second most points in the RSEQ last season. They will need their defence to be a lot stronger if they want to beat the two teams that finished above them last year, the Université de Montréal Carabins and the Laval Rouge et Or.

On the flip side, the offence, led by Miller, finished first in the conference last season in passing yards, with 2,403 yards, an average of 7.4 yards per throw.

The Stingers rush game last season relied heavily on running back Jean-Guy Rimpel, who ran his way to 514 yards, along with four touchdowns. Rimpel led the RSEQ in rushing yards, nearly 100 yards more than the next leading rusher. Miller also picked up yards by running, with 116 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

This season should see the same results, with Rimpel leading the charge on the ground. Miller said he’s looking at the offensive line and running backs to play well this year.

“They have worked really hard, and I think people will see that,” he said. “This team has prepared well and is ready for the season.”

“But honestly, we don’t want to talk about it anymore,” Miller added. “Talk is cheap — it’s time to prove it. Hype was our worst enemy last year. This year, we are embracing the grind, and we are ready to show it.”

The Concordia Stingers opened their RSEQ season with a home loss against the Université de Montréal Carabins by a score of 37-19. They play again on Friday, Aug. 31, in an away game against the Université de Sherbrooke Vert et Or.

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