Nightmare At The Hive
Concordia Stingers Shutout in Football Season Opener Against Sherbrooke
Just days after unveiling their new uniforms, the Concordia Stingers football team looked to begin their new era with a victory over the Sherbrooke Vert et Or. A packed Concordia Stadium filled with froshers and alumni seemed to provide the perfect setting for ConU. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
The Stingers lost badly in their home opener against Sherbrooke, losing 37-0. In fact, Concordia hasn’t scored against Sherbrooke since the third quarter of their win over the Vert et Or on Sept. 19, 2014, and has played nine quarters of football against Sherbrooke without scoring.
Almost a full year to the day the Concordia Stingers won in head coach Mickey Donovan’s coaching debut, a 25-15 win over Bishop’s University, the Stingers suffered their worst loss under Donovan’s tenure.
“37-0, it’s not the greatest [score] to start the season with,” said Donovan following the loss.
“I don’t think we got beat on effort,” said quarterback Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren, who started the game and threw seven passes for 91 yards, and an interception that was returned for a touchdown. “We drove the ball at times, [but] we made errors in the wrong places.”
The Stingers failed to stop Sherbrooke’s offence on this night, as quarterback Jeremi Roch threw two touchdown passes, along with 23 completed passes and 291 passing yards.
“Kudos to our coaching staff, our offensive staff who prepared us well,” said Roch. “Everything we saw on the field, we were expecting it.”
The visitors opened the scoring with under six minutes left to play in the first quarter. Running back Felix Marquis-Chevrier scored on a one-yard run into the end zone, despite the Stingers best efforts to keep them out.
Following much debate over who would take over at starting quarterback for the Stingers in training camp, the team chose Gilbert-Knorren as their starter.
He had completed his first four passes of the game and looked as if he would be fine under centre until the second quarter, where he threw an interception. Vert et Or defensive back Gaël Bernard-Perron was the beneficiary of that Stinger miscue, and he turned it a 73-yard interception return for a touchdown, giving his team a 14-0 lead.
Sherbrooke continued to score soon after, thanks to a touchdown pass from Roch to receiver Oumar Touré, who was left completely uncovered by a defender, making it 23-0 for the Vert et Or. Following a safety taken by the Stingers, ConU found themselves down 25-0 at halftime.
Late in the first half, Trenton Miller replaced Gilbert-Knorren at quarterback. The latter wasn’t satisfied with his performance and understood why his team opted to put in Miller at his expense.
“We were moving the ball and I felt I was playing well and I was seeing the field well, [but] I made some mental errors,” he said. “I let my team down and that’s unacceptable and I deserved it.”
While Miller didn’t throw an interception, he was unable to ignite the offence to comeback against the Vert et Or. The Stingers allowed only 12 points in the second half, but simply had no response.
“We just couldn’t string together enough good plays at a time,” said Miller, who threw 11 passes for 106 yards in the loss. “There would just be one thing wrong each drive that would screw us up. [If] we go back and we fix those things, stuff changes and we get points on the board.”
The Stingers will get try to get their first win of the season next weekend at Bishop’s University. ConU hasn’t started a season with a loss since their winless 2013-14 year, but they’ll try to change that against the Gaiters.
“The season either goes one or two ways,” said Gilbert-Knorren. “We’re either rebounding and coming back as a team and bonding as a family or it can go real bad, real fast.”
“We’re a much younger team, we lost a lot of fifth-year guys last year,” said Donovan. “ We have some good fourth and fifth year players on this team. We’re going to bounce back and we’re going to keep plugging away.”