Vert et Or 40, Stingers 33: fourth quarter comeback falls short for Concordia

Last game of the regular season comes down to the wire

Dante Morgan had a very strong second half running the ball for the Stingers. Photo Credit: Yves Longpré Sherbrooke Vert et Or

A game with zero playoff implications sounds like a bore but the fourth quarter we were treated to from the Concordia Stingers football team was anything but that. Down 30-10 at halftime, something head coach Brad Collinson’s team is no stranger to, Concordia went to work with about 12 minutes remaining in the contest. The comeback fell short but the maroon and gold gave it their best despite a 40-33 loss.

“We didn’t show up in the first half, and you saw the results,” said Collinson. “When we do show up, you see the results. We need to play [a full] 60 minutes.”

In typical Concordia fashion, the Stingers fell behind just 2:30 minutes into the game on a 25-yard touchdown reception from Sherbrooke’s Emilio Jaimes. After the successful extra point, the Vert et Or were off and running with a 7-0 lead.

Concordia, showing resilience, responded with a touchdown of their own on a two-yard run from quarterback Olivier Roy. Andrew Stevens kicked the extra point to nod the game up at 7-7.

Sherbrooke dominated the special teams battle all game long. This was evident when Gabriel Cote returned a punt for 64 yards and a touchdown. The extra point was kicked successfully and the Stingers found themselves trailing yet again. There were still just under seven minutes to play in the first quarter and it was 14-7 for the Vert et Or.

At the 3:00 minute mark, Stingers kicker Andrew Stevens kicked a 40-yard field goal to bring Concordia to within four points of Sherbrooke. The first frame ended with a marginal 14-10 lead in favour of the home team.

The second stanza was dominated by Sherbrooke. Three field goals, a missed field goal, and a touchdown later, the score was 30-10 at halftime for the Vert et Or. This game meant nothing in regards to playoff standings but for Concordia—who are set to play their playoff matchup on Saturday against Laval—this is not the kind of momentum you want. The Stingers were not ready for the offensive firepower they faced in the first half. 

The third quarter zoomed by. The only action coming 6:15 minutes into the game was when Sherbrooke running back Jimmy Larose rushed for his first touchdown of the game. After the extra point, the Vert et Or had built up a commanding 37-10 lead. Larose ran for 179 yards in the contest earning him The Réseau Sport Étudiant Québec’s (RSEQ) offensive player of the week honours.

The game looked to be over, but Concordia flipped the switch with 12 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.

It started with a 30-yard touchdown reception from none other than Jacob Salvail to cut the deficit. Stevens’ extra point was successful bringing the score to 37-17. It was a tall task, but the Stingers had a pulse.

Five minutes later, a three minute drive was capped off by a Dwante Morgan rushing touchdown and Stevens with the extra point to inch the score closer, 37-24. This was a game folks. 

The tides were shifting in the Stingers favour when Roy ran for his second rushing touchdown of the game. Another extra point by Stevens made the score 37-31. There was some work to do, but plenty of time on the clock for the Stingers with 2:37 minutes to go. 

Sherbrooke was pinned deep in their own end so they gave up a safety in order to avoid giving Concordia good starting field position on their next drive. This made the score 37-33, and the Stingers had the ball on their own 35-yard line with just under two minutes to go in the contest.

All signs were pointing to a signature comeback win for the third time this season for Concordia, however, on the first play of the drive, Roy was intercepted which essentially put the game away. Sherbrooke added a field goal with 48 seconds to go, giving them a seven point lead which they would not let go of for the rest of the game.

The Stingers made it interesting, but it was too little too late. “I think we started slow, our energy wasn’t there,” said Zach Phillion of the Stingers who won defensive player of the week in the RSEQ last week. “We can’t go into halftime down big and then try to pick ourselves up.”

The Concordia Stingers football team is in for a tough matchup against the Laval Rouge et Or on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Quebec City and will be televised on TVA sports for those that would like to tune in. The winner of the game will earn themselves a place in the RSEQ final. So far this season, Laval has won their two matchups against Concordia.