Staying in the Race

Football Team Keeps Playoff Hopes Alive with Win Over the Carabins

Concordia 21
UdeM 14

The Concordia Stingers overcame the cold weather to beat the Université de Montréal Carabins 21-14 in CIS football Friday night at CEPSUM.

“After last week’s loss, a lot of people could have written us off and thrown in the towel, but we have a phenomenal bunch of first-year players and we also have a great coaching staff, and I think that we showed it today,” said Concordia head coach Gerry McGrath.

The win at UdeM kept the 4-4 Stingers in the playoff hunt by pulling them within one game of the second-placed Carabins and Bishop’s Gaiters.

“We still have a shot to make the playoffs. It’s a slim shot but we still have a shot, and winning this game was a huge step in that direction,” said Concordia slotback Liam Mahoney, who scored the game’s first touchdown in the opening quarter by running a pass from quarterback Terrance Morsink 10 yards into the end zone.

“Winning here is always huge because they are one of the best [teams] in the country. It’s a hard place to play, especially late in the season, so it’s a huge boost for us and I think it will help out our younger guys,” he continued.

Coach McGrath echoed Mahoney’s sentiments by talking about how important the win was for the young team.

“It’s huge; I told the kids all week we were going to play with passion and go out here and have fun today,” he said. “I didn’t care about wins and losses. I cared about accountability. Everybody’s got to be accountable for their own performance and accountable [for] their teammates’, and I think our guys did that today. They grew up a whole bunch for a young bunch.”

The Stingers extended their lead to 16-0 by turning an interception off of Carabins quarterback Alexandre Nadeau-Piuze into a three-yard touchdown run by Stinger Sanchez Deschamps.
“I told our guys we have to take the wind and get on them quick. We were able to accomplish that and I thought that rattled them a little bit,” McGrath said. “They’re a good running team but it’s hard to run the ball when you fall behind 16-0.”

UdeM answered back in the second quarter when Nadeau-Piuze found halfback Vincent Pelletier-Bouchard on a four-yard touchdown pass. However, that would be the only touchdown the Stingers’ defence would allow. The defence also picked off two more of Nadeau-Piuze’s passes.

“Our defence, just like most of the season, carried us,” Mahoney said. “[In] the second half, we weren’t playing very well offensively but we were able to lean on [the defence].”

Concordia’s offence showed the inconsistency and typical growing pains of a young team still learning. Morsink threw five interceptions, and the Stingers’ passing game seemed out of synch on a variety of plays.
“Our offence is extremely tough to grasp. In a tough environment like this, you expect some mistakes like that,” Mahoney said.

Despite the difficult task Concordia has ahead, McGrath sees promise, both for this season and beyond.
“This team has the talent to get to that point,” said McGrath. “We may be running out of time this year, but we had a great recruiting year and we’re going to be a great team for the next few years.”

The Stingers will host the Laval Rouge Et Or in their final game of the regular season Saturday, Oct. 30 at 1:00 p.m.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 11, published October 26, 2010.