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Halftime adjustments spur Gaels' defence to masterful second-half performance
Posted: November 3rd, 2013 @ 12:39am
By CLAUDE SCILLEY
Losing running back Rob Farquharson to an injury in the third quarter didn't help the Guelph Gryphons' chance of coming back against the Queen's Golden Gaels in Saturday afternoon's Ontario University Athletics semifinal football game.
It wasn't necessarily the reason they ultimately lost the game, Gryphons coach Stu Lang says.
"We just couldn't connect," Lang said. "Everything was there. We hit that bad punt that gave them short field position and then we fumbled on a return, which gave them short position. With wind, it's a battle of field position. There's nothing they did that we didn't expect."
On a carry late in the third quarter, Farquharson injured a hamstring. It was the same injury that kept him out of games early in the season.
Taking him out of the game Saturday "was more a precautionary thing," Lang said.
"The training staff and Neil Lumsden, our running backs coach, decided to hold him out because the plan was obviously to get to the Yates Cup and we wanted him to be ready to play."
How was his team's offence affected by Farquharson's departure?
"Rob's an all-star," Lang said. "It hurts, but to be fair, in the fourth quarter we had the wind. We should have been throwing the ball better. We just didn't score any points you can't win without scoring points."
Indeed, the Gaels had neutralized Farquharson before he went out of the game. After a first half in which he gained 75 yards, he had just 10 in the third quarter, with gains of zero and one yard and a one-yard loss among his five carries.
"We had a little trouble stopping them in the first half," Gaels linebacker Sam Sabourin said. "Coach (Pat) Tracey did an excellent job making some adjustments, moving some guys around. For the most part they came out in their five-pack once we stopped that inside run play in the second half.
"We've got some of the best DBs in the country. They can man up next to anybody. We're confident with the guys we have back there and just kept playing our defence."
In the second half, Queen's not only prevented Guelph from scoring, the Gryphons were tackled five times behind the line of scrimmage, quarterback Jazz Lindsey was sacked once and he threw two interceptions. They managed just one play longer than 11 yards, and none longer than 26.
"In Canadian football, when you have wet weather, those receivers, they drop one pass and it just kills a drive," Sabourin said. "We got lucky a few times; other times I think we just covered them down pretty well. I'm so proud of the guys, everywhere. "
Sabourin said he was surprised to see Farquharson come out of the game.
"He's a tough player, I'll say that about him," Sabourin said. "It's shocking to see a guy like that go out of the game. You know he's got to be pretty darn hurt when he comes out of the game because that guy's a tough runner and a tough guy all around."
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