Sports

Gee-Gees backup quarterback Ben Maracle runs the ball in Sunday’s 35-22 loss to McMaster. Photo: Greg Mason/Sports Services

Ottawa quarterbacks Buettner and Maracle struggle with interceptions in 35-22 loss

The Gee-Gees opened up their season against the McMaster Marauders on Sunday afternoon at Ron-Joyce Stadium in Hamilton. Coming off a first-week bye, the Gees looked to open up their 2019 season on the right foot with a win in the Hammer. 

The game didn’t start the way the Gee-Gees hoped as the Marauders quickly scored on their first possession on a three-yard pass from quarterback Andreas Dueck to Tommy Nield on a second and goal play.

The Gees then failed to reply to McMaster, losing the ball due to an interception on their next possession and then losing the ball via a punt on the possession after that. 

McMaster struggled on their following possessions giving Ottawa a chance to climb back in the game thanks to an interception form Eli Cruickshank at the Mac 26-yard line. On the following play, the Grey and Garnet tied the game thanks to a 26-yard pass from quarterback Sawyer Buettner to wide-receiver Carter Matheson. Kicker Campbell Fair would kick for the extra point tying the game at seven after a quarter.

The Gee-Gees offence started the second quarter by pushing back the Marauders to their 38th-yard line. Unable to advance anymore and stuck on third down and with 11 yards to go the Gees kicked for a field goal, bringing the score to Ottawa 10, McMaster 7.

The Marauders would emulate the Gee-Gees with two minutes left in the half and kick for three from the Ottawa 28th yard line to tie the game. McMaster added another field goal half a minute later to take a three-point lead to the dressing room. 

Coming back from halftime, the Gee-Gees took no time tying the game on their second possession thanks to Fair’s second field goal of the game. Ottawa would then briefly take the lead by pushing McMaster’s offence back in their own end zone for a two-point safety thanks in part to a great defensive play by Tramayne Stephen. 

But the Grey and Garnet struggled for the second quarter in a row to close it out and McMaster capitalized by scoring a touchdown on a drive started by an intercepted Buettner pass. After three quarters the Marauders led 19-15.

In the fourth quarter, both offences managed to take advantage of bad defensive decisions. 

McMaster scored first, beating the Gees defence with a strong air game and finishing off their first drive of the quarter with a one-yard rush for a touchdown to take a 26-15 lead.

With four minutes left, McMaster pushed Ottawa back to their own end zone for a safety to make it 28-15. Ottawa would cut the lead from 13 to six on a Donald Shaw touchdown with three minutes left.

But McMaster would take back their 13-point lead on another interception, this time thrown by Ottawa back-up quarterback Ben Maracle. Maracle threw another interception on the next play but with only 43 seconds left the Marauders elected to let the clock wind down to zero.

In a 35-22 loss, the Gee-Gees rushed for 73 yards, completed 23 out of 38 passes for a total of 246 yards from the air while McMaster ran the ball for 82 yards and completed 25 out of 39 passes for 247 yards. However, the big difference was the number of interceptions (six) thrown by Ottawa that led to touchdowns for McMaster. In comparison, McMaster quarterbacks only threw one interception.

The Gees are back in action on Sept. 7 when they host the Queen Golden Gaels at Gee-Gees Field at 1 p.m.