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Gaels exact better bargain on turnovers; defeat Windsor 49-34
Posted: September 7th, 2013 @ 7:36pm
By CLAUDE SCILLEY
In a football game laced with mistakes, the Windsor Lancers were called to pay dearly Saturday afternoon. From four turnovers, the Queen's Golden Gaels exacted a stiff price of 24 points.
The Gaels were just as clumsy - they fumbled the ball four times in the first 22 minutes of the game - but coming back across the counter the exchange rate they gave their opponent was decidedly softer. Even though three of those turnovers came inside Queen's own 40-yard line, all Windsor got in return for four sudden opportunities was a measly pair of field goals.
That difference was reflected on the scoreboard at the end of the game, as Queen's walked off with a 49-34 win in an Ontario University Athletics contest before a crowd of 2,308 at Richardson Stadium, the Gaels' fifth win in a row over Windsor since 2006.
It was the third win without defeat this season for the No. 2-ranked Gaels, who have next weekend off and don't resume play until Sept. 21 in Ottawa. Windsor fell to 1-2.
Both quarterbacks pointed to the mistakes as having a large influence on the outcome of the game.
"They made a lot of mistakes and we didn't take advantage," Lancers quarterback Austin Kennedy said. "We matched them and made mistakes as well (but Queen's took advantage). That was the story of the game. We didn't take advantage.
"We scored a lot of points but the mistakes allowed to them to score even more. Had we not made the mistakes we made, especially on offence, maybe those 34 points would have actually given us a W instead of a loss."
Billy McPhee of Queen's was much more efficient in terms of capitalizing on his opponent's errors.
"Points off turnovers is the most important stat, in my opinion," he said. "Talking about momentum, that's where (it can get killed): 'Ah, we just turned the ball over, come on, D, let's get a stop,' and then, boom, they score.
"We've been on the wrong end of that in the past and finally we made it on our side."
It took the Gaels just two plays to zing the Lancers for Kennedy's first interception, by Sam Sabourin. After a 25-yard completion to Justin Chapdelaine and an unnecessary-roughness penalty set Queen's up at the Windsor one-yard line, Ryan Granberg carried in for a touchdown that put the Gaels ahead for good, 14-7.
The breakthrough play came midway through the second quarter. After Windsor had cut the Queen's lead to 14-10, McPhee and Scott Macdonell connected for a 35-yard touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Windsor's Nigel Applewhaite fumbled the kickoff - twice. He first bobbled it in the end zone, then picked it up and got to about the five-yard line, where he fumbled it again. Jonah Pataki picked up the ball and took it across the goal line for Queen's second touchdown in eight seconds, and a 28-10 lead.
"We're not a young team, anymore," Lancers coach Joe D'Amore said, "but we're not confident enough to recover from some of the mistakes that we make."
D'Amore also lamented his team's ability to compound its mistakes.
"For example, the kickoff, we fumble the ball into the end zone. He picks it up. At that point we either kneel and give up a single or secure the football. We run out, fumble it (again) and it ends up as a touchdown. We don't have a guy open, it's second and short - we can't take a 25-yard sack from the quarterback running around. Little things like that.
"In the course of a game the kid's just trying to make a play, which I understand, but in the grand scheme of it, if we want to be a better football team, we have to understand situations. There's a time to take chances and a time to be conservative. We just have to understand when those times are."
Gaels coach Pat Sheahan acknowledged his own team's "turnover troubles."
"At this level, when you're playing against good teams and you make big mistakes like that, it should cost you - and they did," he said. "It cost them, we had others that cost us.
"Later on in the season they're going to be plays that come back and haunt you, but the guys are 3-0. They've earned that record and they're to be congratulated for that effort."
Indeed, the Gaels were far better than they were a week ago against McMaster, when they mustered just 227 total yards. Queen's had a season-best 420 yards of offence, scored four offensive touchdowns and got four field goals from Dillon Wamsley.
"Not perfect," Sheahan said, "but a little better.
"To come down and score the major on the first series of the game was a great confidence boost.
"We're not quite there, yet and, I suppose, nor should we be there yet."
What's still lacking, Sheahan said, was in evidence in the third quarter, when his team had 49 yards of offence, two first downs and a turnover. Windsor, meanwhile, scored 10 points to get back in the ball game at 31-20. By the end of the game, the Gaels were almost nine minutes in arrears when it came to time of possession.
"There are times in a football game where you've got to take over," Sheahan said. "You've got to be sharp enough to understand the situation. It's amazing that when you're really in rhythm and in synch you don't have these turnovers and fumbles, you don't have receivers falling down or miscues in the backfield like we had today."
McPhee had his best game of the season. He was good on nine of his first 10 pass attempts, completed 67 per cent overall, threw for 297 yards and three touchdowns with not one interception.
"We've been saying the whole season, 'We've had a great week of practice, let's put it on the field,'" McPhee said. "York was OK but left something to be desired. Mac we didn't contribute like we wanted to. Finally, after a month of being together and working as hard as we have, it paid off."
Technically, he said, the biggest improvement was with the play of the offensive line.
"Coach Sheahan says the O line (is) the foundation of the entire team," McPhee said. "When the defence sees that, 'Hey, they're protecting the quarterback, we're finally running the ball like we want to,' it's tough to stop when you have momentum."
Windsor rushed the football well, with Gilbert Stewart gaining a season-best 93 yards and Kennedy running for far more than 122 yards the official game statistics give him credit for.
"We ran the ball extremely well, against a team that is notorious for being a great run defence," D'Amore said. "I thought we played well; I thought we competed against a tough team in a tough environment - there's some good but we've got to fix those little things. If we want to compete against these guys and the Macs and Westerns of this world, we're going to have to play better football."
Each team engineered a nice drive to score on its first possession of the game, Queen's 67 yards in five plays and Windsor 83 yards in 10 plays. It was 14-10 Gaels after the first quarter and 31-10 at halftime.
Besides the Granberg, Macdonell and Pataki touchdowns, Chapdelaine, on a 40-yard pass in the game's third minute, and Doug Corby, on a 51-yard pass midway through the fourth quarter, had the Queen's majors. Wamsley was 4-for-4, with field goals of 42, 38, 30 and 34 yards, three of them in the fourth quarter.
Kennedy had touchdown runs of four and 60 yards. He also completed an 11-yard scoring pass to Evan Psczonak. Mitch Dender scored the Lancers' other TD on a one-yard run in the game's final minute. Dan Cerino kicked field goals of 29 and 17 yards.
Granberg had his best game of the year, 61 yards rushing, before leaving the game early in the third quarter with a possible rib injury. Macdonell and Chapdelaine each had their best receiving days of the year, with four catches each for 97 and 82 yards, respectively, for Queen's.
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