Laval 31, Stingers 14: Stingers fall short in Homecoming game

Laval continues their dominance over the Stingers on the road

Players battle for the ball while Rouge et Or ball carrier Shawn Valentine is in possession. Photo Reuben Polansky-Shapiro / Concordia Athletics

The Université Laval Rouge et Or came and conquered despite strong defensive effort from the Concordia Stingers’ football team in this year’s Homecoming game. The match honored the 1993 and 1998 Stingers’s championship teams.

The Stingers came out formidable in the first quarter, clearly bolstered by the sizable crowd featuring supporters from both sides. Stingers’s kicker Eric Maximuik struck on the first possession, kicking the ball out of the endzone for a 52-yard rouge. 

Not to be outdone by Maximuik, the Stingers’s defence followed with an equally impressive possession. Stingers defensive back Thomas Dussault intercepted Laval quarterback Arnaud Desjardins, leading to excellent field position for the Stingers’s offence to start from. 

Stingers quarterback Olivier Roy took advantage of the situation, throwing a contested 30-yard reception to receiver El-André Abbey, leading to Maximuik’s first field goal of the game. 

Maximuik would add another field goal to the tally, as the Stingers left the first quarter with a 7-0 lead and hopes of breaking their 20-year losing streak against Laval. 

However, in the second quarter, the Rouge et Or put all thoughts of a drought-ending victory to rest with their precision-passing attack and an efficient running game. 

After a drive that backed the Stingers up deep inside their own territory and ended with Maximuik taking a safety, Desjardins and the Laval offence went to work. 

Desjardins completed ten of his 11 passes for 127 yards in the second quarter alone. The Stingers’ defence struggled to stop the onslaught as they surrendered the lead 15-7. 

“I’m happy with the way we came out in the second [quarter].” Desjardins stated “The running game really got going.”

In the meantime, Stingers’ head coach Brad Collinson attempted to get his team back to the form they showcased in the first quarter. 

The Stingers brought out short-yardage quarterback Xavier Tremblay on a rush late in the half, hoping to breathe some life into their offence. However, Tremblay was brought down short of the first-down marker on two consecutive plays, leading to a turnover. Laval capitalized, scoring with Desjardins throwing a touchdown to receiver Enzo Dihoulou.

The second half did not bring much of a reprieve for the Stingers’ defence as Laval continuously extended their lead. 

Laval used the Stingers’ deficit to their advantage, emphasizing their time of possession, holding the ball for two-thirds of the third quarter. It was effective as Concordia was unable to establish any rhythm in their offence. 

“[There were] too many errors.” said Roy, “We [did not] have a lot of offensive possessions in the second half.  [Laval] always makes things difficult when they have the lead.”

“We didn't come out in the second half,” Collinson echoed,  “I just think we shot ourselves in the foot.”

The Stingers’ defense performed admirably in the loss. Notably, linebacker William Castonguay finished the game with 11 tackles including one of four sacks. 

The Stingers’ sole touchdown came with just under two minutes to play in the fourth quarter. The score lessened the gap between the two teams but proved to be too little too late as Laval defeated the Stingers 31-14 to keep their winning-streak alive. 

The Stingers’ football team will look to bounce back and learn from their mistakes when they play Laval again on the road on Sunday, Oct. 8, after a bye week.