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Men’s football returns home for first football game on Lees Avenue field

WITH A NEW field, coach and perspective, the Gee-Gees men’s football home opener and first game on the field strengthened the new season as the team faced the Toronto Varsity Blues Sept. 7.

The game opened with a fierce touchdown from Gee-Gees captain Brendan Gillanders, a fourth year human kinetics student. The Toronto Varsity Blues quickly added some points to the scoreboard with a field goal and a touchdown by Alex Pierzchalski, bringing the score to 14–10 by the end of the first quarter.

Two more touchdowns by third-year communications student Adam Valchuk and first-year education student Aaron Colbon extended the Gees’ lead to 21–10.  Third-year social sciences student Lewis Ward scored an impressive field goal for the Gee-Gees going into the second half of the game.

After a scoreless third quarter, Gillanders scored again during the fourth with a touchdown and field goal to widen the Gees’ lead to 34–10.

This is the Gee-Gees’ second win this season, with a prior victory against the Waterloo Warriors.

Captain Brendan Gillanders was honoured to play Saturday’s game on the new Lees Avenue field.

“This field is a long time in the making and to get the opportunity to be the first one to score a touchdown here in front of everyone who played before is an honour,” said Gillanders.  “The coaches did an extremely good job getting us ready, that’s what contributed to our success.”

Colbon remarked that now the team doesn’t have to travel far for games.

“It’s great, it’s finally somewhere we can call home,” he said. “It’s such a great feeling. It was a close-feeling atmosphere and it felt warming with a lot of people [that] close to you.”

After spending years gaining valuable experience as an assistant coach in the Canadian Football League and in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Jamie Barresi—a former Gee-Gee— returned to the U of O to accept his first-ever head coach position. Before the game, Barresi told the team, “You’re the first group [to play on this field], this school has been here for hundreds of years, and no one has had a chance to play on campus.”

Barresi said that the team played well in spurts; they were struggling at times and dominating at others.

“Coaches are never happy; we were making way too many penalties,” he said.  “We jumped off of four penalties within five minutes. I was very disappointed about it.”

Colbon said Barresi does a great job getting the team ready every week in practice by working them hard and pushing them to execute with perfection.

The Gee-Gees’ next home game is Sept. 21 at 1 p.m. against the Queen’s University Gaels.