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The Concordia Stingers are looking to get back on track in the homecoming game

The football team wants to redeem itself after a tough first couple of games.

With a difficult start to the season and an early bye week, the Concordia Stingers are looking to bounce back in their homecoming game against the McGill Redbirds on Saturday.

The Stingers played their last game on Sept. 3 at Sherbrooke and fell 23-24 to the Vert & Or. Concordia is currently 0-2 on the season and ranked before last in the conference, in the Réseau du Sport Étudiant du Québec (RSEQ).

Stingers’ quarterback Olivier Roy said that this bye week was mostly about focusing on the mental aspect of the game.

“The only thing we want to do is get back on the field and get a chance to redeem ourselves,” he said.

But with bye week, it was a long two weeks without games, so the Stingers wanted to make sure everyone was still focused.

“Our execution level has to be better than what it was for our first two games,” Roy said, which is something they work on by practicing. “One of the good things about bye weeks is that you get a head start on your opponent when they’re still focusing on the game they have [that] week.”

Roy added that they were already looking at McGill film last week while the Redbirds were still preparing for their game against Sherbrooke.

Something the team is looking to improve on is to start the game at a faster pace, and to play throughout the entire 60 minutes.

The Stingers had a better start in their second game scoring first, but they emphasized the need to play a full game.

Head coach Brad Collinson said the message over the past two weeks has been to “play Concordia football the way we know we can play,” which is something he said they haven’t done yet.

Collinson added that bye weeks are never really fun but they are an opportunity to improve.

“We think we got better during the week… we practiced three times, we cleaned up some things,” he said.

“We have to go out there and have fun and have a pleasure being out there on the football field. Guys spend a lot of work for this, we just want them to have fun and be loose,” Collinson concluded.

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Montreal Alouette Pierre-Luc Caron also serves as an emergency call dispatcher

The Alouettes’ long snapper will play his sixth season in the CFL — and his second with Montreal —  in 2022

On Jan. 21, co-news editor Gabriel Guindi and I caught up with Montreal Alouette Pierre-Luc Caron on The Starting Rotation, our sports talk radio show that airs on CJLO 1690 AM on Fridays at 2 p.m. If you missed the conversation live, here’s the abridged version of the offseason interview.

The Starting Rotation (SR): What were some of the unique hurdles that you had to overcome last season, both individually and as a team?

Pierre-Luc Caron (PLC): I had my first big injury since I started playing football when I was eight years old. I tore my pec against Ottawa, I had to get surgery and I’m still doing rehab almost every day. So that was definitely the biggest challenge for me. It’s been a busy offseason trying to get back as quickly as possible. 

As a team, I think we were a really good team, definitely better than our record showed. I feel like we didn’t fulfill our potential, but overall we’re building something great in Montreal, and there’s a ton of great players in that locker room. It’s not a big margin between a Grey Cup winning team and a team that finishes 7-7. If a few key moments go our way, maybe add a few players that could bring a change of attitude and we’re right there in the discussion. 

SR: What’s the timetable for your return from this injury? Do you expect to be ready for the upcoming season?

PLC: The doctor said I should be back to 100 per cent around mid-March. But honestly, if we had a game this week, I feel like I could play, so that’s good news. I just don’t bench as much as I used to, but that’s not a big deal for now. 

SR: The CFL terminated the 2020 season due to the pandemic. What was it like to just not play football for a year? 

PLC: Obviously, it was really tough because at the end of the day, playing football is my income. At the beginning, there was a lot of confusion, none of the players knew whether or not there was going to be another CFL season. I took the opportunity to move back to Montreal with my girlfriend, since she had a job offer. Overall, I’m happy to be back home for now. Family-wise, it’s been great. I can have dinner with my dad on a Wednesday night, which is something I wasn’t able to do when I was playing in Calgary. 

I had a lot of free time so I started working as a 911 operator, and I really liked it. I have a kinesiology degree and I felt like I could be useful in helping others outside of football. I feel like the pressure I experience on the football field helped me handle the stressful calls. Obviously, with the CFL back now, I’m really focused on my training now but I still take calls when I can. 

SR: Before you entered the CFL, you were a part of Laval’s football program for four years and played the Stingers many times over the years. Did you get a chance to watch some of Concordia’s games from this year? 

PLC: I did, and I really like what the Stingers are doing right now. I have a lot of friends that are on the coaching staff and I know things are trending upwards [for Concordia]. They even beat the [Montreal] Carabins this year so that’s a huge step, and you got a young quarterback in Olivier Roy, so the future is definitely looking bright.

SR: What are some of the other sports that you like to play, or like to watch asides from football? 

PLC: When I have the time, I really enjoy golf. When the pandemic started, I started playing more because a lot of the courses were still open in Calgary, so I took advantage of that whenever I could. I’m not great at it, but I like it because it’s relaxing and you get to spend a lot of time with your friends.

SR: What are some of your individual goals for next season?

PLC: I try not to look too far ahead. With my injury, I’m taking things day-by-day, doing rehab, training, and making sure I eat well. Honestly, I don’t have any goals right now. I just want to play every game and I know the goals are going to come once I’m healthy enough to play.

 

Photograph by Dominick Gravel

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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

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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

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