Canadian University Football
There are times when
I should keep my big mouth shut.
One of those
occasions was last weekend at the football game between Queen’s and Laurier. It
was a crazy game, full of errors by both teams. Very catchable balls were
dropped, fumbles took place for no good reason, runners scored touchdowns at
the least expected times. Coach Pat Sheahan from Queen’s described the game as “ugly,
filled with plenty of missed opportunities.”
Here’s the situation:
Laurier was not expected to stay with Queen’s the entire game. They had given
Western a scare, and Western outscored Queen’s 50-31 last week. Nonetheless, it
was supposed to be a relatively easy win for Queen’s, and it started that way,
in the first half.
By the beginning of the
fourth quarter, the Golden Gaels were in trouble, down 27-16. They mustered
some offence, and closed the gap. With little more than a minute remaining in
the game, they went ahead 34-27. Laurier had the wind at their backs, a factor
throughout the game. Following a poor kickoff which went out of bounds, the
Laurier Golden Hawks marched down the field, and tied the game with seconds
In overtime, each
team scrimmages the ball on the 35 yard line, and is given the opportunity to
score any way possible: touchdowns, field goals, single points (rouges). One
team takes a crack at it, then the other. Laurier started but failed to score.
Queen’s put together
a couple of first downs, and huddled inside the ten yard line. The quarterback,
Billy McFee, moved the ball in front of the uprights and took a knee. Coach
Sheahan decided to try the field goal on second down, “just in case the snap
was bobbled”. It was at that time that I exclaimed, “They could block that, you
Joanne, with her golfing pal Donna Purcell
The fans closest to
me, including my wife, threatened to tar and feather me, but with more forceful language. Sure
enough, the field goal attempt was blocked. From our vantage point, we could
not figure out what happened next. Following serious detective work, I have
pieced together the other pieces of the play.
James, Holly Molaski-our niece, and Joanne
The place holder, # 5
Aaron Gazendam, had the presence of mind to grab the blocked kick and punt it into the end zone. The Laurier
players waited while the ball squirmed on the ground, hoping that the Queen’s
players would encroach, inside the five yard restraining area. In the meantime,
Gazendam snuck around the befuddled players, and pounced on the ball. His
right. His touchdown. Game over.
Queen's University Defensive Coordinator Pat Tracey
Coach Sheahan told
the Gaels after the game, “It took every last play to win this game. I gave
credit to Coach Pat Tracey for the final play. So there is a Belleville connection to this”. Tracey
learned the game on the fields in Belleville as
a student at Centennial
Secondary School. He went
on to win the Vanier Cup with Guelph University,
and coached special teams in Hamilton
for the Tiger Cats. “Pat is the architect of the kickout play, and he has
practised it every Friday. But I have to be honest with you. We hadn’t exactly
practised it that way!” No kidding!
Student support for the Alumni
As side note, it was
the 45th Reunion Year for my Arts
and Science classmates of 1968, and we were afforded the opportunity of walking
on the track around the stadium at half time. There is always a wonderful
reception from the student section. Our niece joined us for a photo
opportunity. Thumping of leather jackets. A sea of purple. Plenty of smiles and
Ron Bannerman, in his leathers, just ahead of Peter Milliken.
Jonah Pataki hails
from Wallaceburg, Ontario,
and is in his first year at Queen’s. He played for Team Ontario, and visited the campus at Queen’s a
year before deciding to become a Golden Gael. “A perfect fit,” he told me after
the game. “This is an exciting win. Never before have I seen anything like
this. You see a blocked field goal, and you expect the worst.” He shared the
moment with his mother after the game.
Jonah Pataki #35, with his Mother. I assume.
Queen’s now has a
record of 5 wins, one loss, and remains in third place behind Western. Laurier
has one win this season. But this is Canadian university football, and as I
have indicated, anything can and will happen!
All the latest fashions, as well!