Kings of the 4th Quarter
The sun was shining, the wind was strong, and an undefeated record was on the line for the Gee-Gees football team. On Sept. 18, in front of 2,119 screaming fans at Frank Clair Stadium, Ottawa faced the nationally eighth-ranked McMaster Marauders. In the end, the Gees’ hopes of a perfect season remained intact with a 43-35 victory. With the win, the Gee-Gees also redeemed themselves for their heartbreaking loss to the Marauders in last year’s Ontario University Athletics (OUA) quarter-finals. Ottawa came out firing, as second-year receiver Ezra Millington started the scoring with a touchdown catch in the opening minutes of the game. The lead quickly dissipated, however, as Marauder quarterback Kyle Quinlan responded with a touchdown pass of his own, an instant before being leveled by a blitzing Gee-Gees defender. The first quarter of play ended with the Gees leading 10-7. Ottawa had to overcome a tremendous number of penalties to win the game. By the end of the match, the Gees had racked up 242 penalty yards on 21 calls, including a critical flag for too many men on the field which hurt the team in the second quarter. The Gee-Gees entered the locker room trailing by a score of 21-17. “We’ve got to look at the positives. Our guys did an amazing job on punt and kick returns not getting [penalized],” said Ottawa hea d coach Jean-Philippe Asselin about the Gees’ discipline issues. “It’s not like we’re [being] rough or taking unnecessary penalties.” After fourth-year quarterback Brad Sinopoli’s passes were intercepted in three consecutive drives to start the third quarter, McM aster’s offence took advantage and jumped to a 35-17 lead. However, the resilient Gee-Gees refused to give up and were rewarded for their perseverance. First-year running back Adam Gourgon ran for a touchdown, Sinopoli threw a 20-yard score to fifth-year receiver Matthew Bolduc and the Marauders conceded a safety, all in the last six minutes of the third frame. Ottawa trailed by just two to star t the final quarter, 35-33. “The game is 60 minutes, so … whenever you do it, you just need to put points on the board. Our offence had a lot of adjustments to make, and in the end, we came through,” said Asselin of the offensive turnaround. With just over five minutes r emaining in the game, third-year kicker Matthew Falvo hit a 23-yard field goal to complete the comeback. The final nail in the coffin was provided by fifth-year receiver Cyril Adjeitey’s 106-yard touchdown reception, clinching the eight-point win for the Gees. “It’s exciting for the fans, but we’d rather not do that every time,” said Adjeitey when asked about the fourth -quarter heroics. “We played really hard, and it doesn’t m atter how we win, we just have to do it. This year, we have a number of talented receivers … We [all] have to step up and make big plays when we’re called upon.” The Ottawa receiving corps—composed of Millington, Bolduc, Adjeitey, and other talents such as fourth-year Steven Hughes—was dominant once again. Sinopoli may have had four interceptions in the game, but he also found his receivers 27 times for 446 yards and added four touchdown passes to match his interception totals. The Gee-Gees are now halfway through the OUA season and remain at the top of the conference with an unblemished 4-0 record. “I feel like we’re getting better and improving every week,” Asselin said. The nationally second-ranked Gees will now travel to Queen’s University to take on the Golden Gaels (1-2) on Sept. 25 at 1 p.m.