Stingers 42, Redbirds 24: Concordia shines in Shrine Bowl

The Concordia football team exploded offensively to beat their cross-town rivals

Stingers’ linebacker Zachary Phillion avoids Redbirds’ linebacker Grégoire Couture. Photo Dorothy Mombrun

The 35th annual Shrine Bowl game disputed on Sept. 16 displayed the Stingers’ ability to continuously build on their lead to best the McGill Redbirds 42-24.

“Obviously, [it’s] great to come out with the win,” said Stingers’ quarterback Olivier Roy post-game. Roy pointed out that “receivers made some big plays, and big blocks” but that it was a “balanced” effort overall.

In the first quarter, Roy laced a pass to slotback Tristan Mancini for a 19-yard opening touchdown. With the extra point, ConU took a 7-0 lead with 9:05 remaining in the frame. Roy finished the day throwing 16 completions on 35 attempts for 330 yards three touchdowns and one interception.

McGill found themselves in dangerous territory near their endzone. They set up for a punt on third down, but a bad snap led to a safety, lending Concordia a free two points and a 9-0 lead with 1:53 remaining in the opening period.

The Stingers decisively took a stranglehold on the score when Roy checked down a pass to running back Martin Blais, who capitalized on great blocking by the receivers, fending off an initial hit on his way to a 75-yard receiving touchdown. After a rouge on the following kick-off, ConU held a 17-0 lead heading into the second quarter. 

“My job is not that hard. It’s all about the QB giving me the ball, and my teammates opening things up for me,” said Mancini, who finished the day with three catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. 

McGill had enough of their opponents’ barn-burning efforts. Redbirds quarterback Eloa Latendresse-Regimbald used his legs to spark his team’s offence. First, he scrambled for a 44-yard gain, then eventually punched in a three-yard sneak, putting McGill on the board 17-7 with 13:32 remaining until halftime. 

The Redbirds narrowed the gap moments later by recovering a fumble on the following kick-off. With outstanding field position, Latendresse-Regimbald connected with slotback Darius Simmons for an eight-yard touchdown reception. Another rouge for Concordia increased their lead 18-14 with 10:21 remaining in the first half. 

Concordia gave themselves breathing room before halftime. After Stingers’ linebacker Isaac Fulham forced then recovered a fumble while sacking Latendresse-Regimbald, the Stingers’ offence set up on the McGill 39-yard line with one minute remaining. This opportunity led to Stingers’ receiver Maxime Robitaille climbing the ladder for a 21-yard touchdown reception, giving Concordia a 25-14 advantage at the break. 

The Redbirds played ball hog for the duration of the third quarter, possessing the ball for just under 11 minutes of play in the frame. Although they controlled the pace of play, the Stingers’ defence was able to hold them to just an additional three points off of an Antoine Couture field goal with three minutes left. 

Concordia reawakened in the late stages of the third quarter, with the Stingers’ receiving core of Philippe St-Laurent, El-André Abbey and veteran Jacob Salvail all catching first-down passes from Roy. Stingers’ backup quarterback Xavier Tremblay punched home a one-yard sneak on the first play of the fourth quarter, giving ConU the 32-17 lead.

Roy acknowledged how beneficial it was to have Salvail return to the lineup after missing the first two games nursing an injury to his lower body. Roy continued by boasting about his receiving core, and the chemistry being steadily built week after week.  

The Redbirds tacked on seven more points with a rushing touchdown from running back Jeffrey Amisial-Chatelier with 11:29 left in the game, but this would be the last instance of McGill scoring.

Concordia scored two additional times; once from a field goal from kicker Eric Maximuik, and the other with a running back Franck Tchembe rushing touchdown. The Stingers relied on Tchembe to run out the clock, as they earned a triumphant 42-24 victory.

Tchembe’s performance was crucial given injuries to two key figures in the Stingers’ rushing attack—backup quarterback Adrien Guay and running back Dwanté Morgan—who were both dealing with injuries. 

“I’m really happy [to have won offensive MVP],” said Tchembe after the game in French. “I tend to be very critical of myself so I’m happy to get this trophy, but I think I could’ve done better.”

The Stingers will briefly celebrate, as they prepare to take on the defending U Sports National Champions Université de Laval Rouge et Or on Saturday, Sept. 23. Kick-off is set for 2 p.m.