A DOMINANT PERFORMANCE BY THE GEES SECURES A PANDA VICTORY FOR THE FOURTH STRAIGHT YEAR
The Gees and the Ravens were welcomed by a sold-out TD Place for the 53rd Panda Game.
The Gee-Gees opened the game with a kickoff from Zachary Copeland that placed the Ravens deep in their own end. The game’s first series was short-lived, though. A quick two and out was brought on by a fierce tackle from Gees defensive end, Kevin Victome, which forced the Ravens to end their first series with a punt.
Next up, Gees’ ball.
The Raven’s punt was caught and the Gees were given possession at their 23-yard line. Quarterback Ben Maracle handed the ball to running back, J-P Cimankinda, who rushed for a fresh set of downs. After setting up the drive, Maracle made his first pass of the game to wide receiver Maxim Malenfant, who picked up another first down — the Gees keep the drive alive.
The next series began with a Gees false start — this is when the heckles started.
“Fuck you, Ottawa U” chants erupted from the Carleton stands. They were immediately returned by a chorus of “fuck you, Carleton U” from the U of O side. The crowd’s energy didn’t seem to help the Gees, though, as their opening series also resulted in a punt.
The Ravens began their second series with a bang. A long throw moved the Ravens to the Gees’ 30-yard line, and an end-zone pass gave the Ravens the game’s first lead shortly after — it was 7-0 for the Ravens midway through the first quarter.
The Gees didn’t respond until the end of the quarter. Maracle connected with wide receiver Nicholas Gendron for an 80-yard reception that ended up in the end zone. Campbell Fair’s extra point was good, and the game was tied 7-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, a fumble by Cimankinda gave the Ravens possession at the Gees’ 50-yard line. At this point, the chants had returned, louder than before.
After two unsuccessful attempts at gaining a first down, the Ravens punted the ball to Ottawa’s 4-yard line. On their returning drive, Maracle connected with Gendron for a second time to gain over 50 yards. The series ended with a successful field goal by Fair — 10-7 for the Gees.
The second quarter concluded with two unsuccessful drives for both the Ravens and the Gee-Gees. At half, the Gees held onto their 10-7 lead.
During halftime, the stadium continued to fill up. By the start of the third quarter, both sides of TD Place were packed. Carleton and U of O students were loud and ready to cheer on their respective schools into the second half.
The second half started with the Gees getting possession at their 34-yard line. Maracle’s connections with both Gendron and Cimankinda helped to march the Gees deep into Carleton’s end early on in the third quarter.
Ottawa’s first series of the third quarter ended in a touchdown when Maracle connected with wide receiver Willy-Pierre Dimbongi in the end zone. The extra point by Fair was good once again as the Gees added to their lead early in the third quarter, 17-7.
The Gees’ defence continued to hold the Raven’s offence to no points throughout the third quarter. The closest Carleton came to putting points on the board was an attempted field goal, which hit the upright.
By the time the fourth quarter began, the Gees’ offence was rolling.
Fair started the quarter with back-to-back field goals that brought the Gee-Gees’ lead up to 23-7. And after a striking defensive performance by the Gees, the Ravens continued their trend of being forced to punt on third downs deep into the second half.
One of the more electric series’ of the game came late on in the fourth quarter when the Gee-Gees’ running back, Cimankinda, carried multiple times during the same series. One of Cimankinda’s rushes during the drive went for over 15 yards and was complete with a stiff arm that knocked a Ravens player to the ground.
Fittingly, Cimankinda finished the series with a touchdown, and the Gees were up 30-7 with under 4 minutes remaining.
After this touchdown, Gees fans began to make their way down to the field level. The table was being set for a U of O field rush.
But the game wasn’t over yet.
Carleton’s offence took the field, and had their first pass intercepted by Gees’ linebacker, Emmanuel Aboagye-Gyan. With that pick, the Gee-Gees’ offence returned to the field at Carleton’s 45-yard line. After picking up a first down, Cimankinda got on the board once again and with Fair’s successful extra point, the Gees added to their lead — 37-7.
There were 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter — but Gee-Gees fans didn’t care. With time still on the clock, U of O students stormed the field to celebrate their school’s fourth straight Panda Game victory, bringing Pedro home once again.