Stingers Football Team Looking to Regroup After Difficult End to Season

After His Second Year At the Helm, Head Coach Brad Collinson Is Focusing on Next Year

It was a year with many positives, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done if the Stingers want to challenge Laval and UdeM’s dominance. Photo Caroline Marsh

“I think they should be proud of what they have done,” said Brad Collinson, head coach of the Concordia Stingers football team. “It was not easy for them to transition from last year where they had two new coaches in the span of four to five months.”

Proud as they may be, it was a somewhat disappointing season for the Stingers as they finished with a record of two wins and six losses. This got them to fourth in the standings of the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec off the tie-breakers to Sherbrooke, who shared the same record and managed to get them to the playoffs.
After making the playoffs, they were immediately knocked out by the Université Laval Rouge et Or in the semi-finals.

This was Collinson’s second year as the head coach but he considers it to be his first.

“I tell people that this is, for me, my first year because I have my own coaching staff behind me, so I think I am getting comfortable,” said Collinson.

Speaking of first years, the Stingers lineup this year was full of rookies, from running back Kevin Foster to wide receiver Tristan Mancini, quarterback Olivier Roy, defensive lineman Wael Nasri, and all the way to the RSEQ rookie of the year, wide receiver Jeremy Murphy and plenty more.

“Every rookie has been impressive,” said quarterback Adam Vance.

Defensive back Khadeem Pierre praises Murphy for his work ethic. “It’s hard coming out of Division three [collegiate football] where most people don’t get noticed,” said Pierre.

With the starting quarterback position being vacant next season, the question of who will start will be a big decision for Brad Collinson. While Olivier Roy and Olivier St-Onge were the two back-ups for this year, it does not mean that they will be starters next year, according to Collinson.

“I would not say that they will necessarily be the replacement to Adam Vance since we are recruiting quarterbacks right now,” said Collinson. “If the season would start tomorrow, it would be Olivier Roy. He has impressed and has flown through the depth chart, and I am very happy with his performance.”

For Vance, he has officially played his last season as a Concordia Stinger, but not without leaving his presence known to the entire league. He finished the year with over 2,000 passing yards and led the league in average passing yards per game.

“I came in here, they welcomed me with open arms. I cannot thank Brad enough for what he has done. It was hard, especially with the coaching changes, but I will never forget these past few years.” said Vance.

But what will happen next for the veteran quarterback? “I am focusing on graduating right now. I am supposed to graduate in May. I might have other stuff afterwards, but right now I am just focusing on graduating.” said Vance.

On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Samuel Brodrique impressed this season as he finished second in tackles with 43.

Khadeem Pierre finished the year in a tie for second place for the number of interceptions per game, racking up 122 yards on interception returns. This gave him a spot on the RSEQ defensive all-star team for the second time in his university career. “It’s a blessing,” said Pierre.

Rookie Jeremy Murphy had a break-out year, earning him U Sports’ rookie of the year. Photo Caroline Marsh

There is no “I” in team
While the individual performances of the team have been impressive, the same cannot be said for the overall team performance. Concordia finished the year last in points scored and defensive points allowed.

They averaged 15.1 points scored per game on offence while allowing 32.8 points per game on the defensive side of the ball.

For Vance, one of the key things that can be improved upon as a whole is practice.

“Practice better during the week,” said Vance. “Try and keep the momentum from last week into practice, and work harder.” Leadership in the locker room will be an important asset for the Stingers to have, as returning players will have to show the ropes to the rookies to help them gel as a team.

“We just need to come together,” said Pierre, one of the leaders in the locker room next year as he enters his fourth year of eligibility.

“Overall it’s a team game—you win as a team and you lose as a team,” said Collinson back in October, following a loss to McGill.

While some players return for their second, third, fourth, or even fifth year of eligibility, others, such as defensive back Derrick Obas, offensive lineman Thiery Taillon, wide receiver Sam Nadon, and wide receiver James Tyrrell have finished their time with the Stingers and potentially, for some, their football careers.

As the team heads into next year hoping for better results, fans of the team will be expecting the same thing. The Stingers have not reached the Vanier Cup final since 1998, and have not reached the final of the Dunsmore Cup since 2008.

“We always have a goal in mind,” said Collinson. “It’s a five-year process, and this was year two. The goal this year was to make the playoffs, and we did. Next year’s goal will be to win a playoff game.”

The players head into the end of their semesters after a busy season, and they will be right back at it by January to prepare for the next chapter of the Concordia Stingers football team.