CIS

Wendel and Stewart shine as #9 Gees look forward to tough schedule ahead

Photo: Marta Kierkus

Following a disappointing loss to McMaster, the Gee-Gees football team needed a turnaround performance before heading into the toughest stretch of their schedule.

The Gee-Gees turned in the most dominant effort of their season on Sept. 19, pounding the struggling Windsor Lancers 52-24. Their performance enabled the Gees to become the ninth-ranked team in the nation.

Despite the steep margin of victory, it still doesn’t do justice to the Gees’ performance as they came out firing on all cylinders and didn’t ease up until the fourth quarter.

If you simply look to the performance of Gees’ quarterback Derek Wendel, the powerful win isn’t much of a surprise. The fourth-year gunslinger absolutely carved the Lancers’ secondary up, completing 20 of 28 passes for 381 yards and five touchdowns.

Statistically speaking, Wendel’s name is all over the overall stats leaders in the nation ranking second in touchdowns, third in yards per game, and sixth in completions. Of course a quarterback is only as good as the receivers around him, and Wendel has some serious weapons.

Fifth-year Ian Stewart is the go-to option in the Gee-Gee offence and he was fed the ball all game against the Lancers. Stewart had eight catches for a staggering 188 yards and two touchdowns. The Wendel-Stewart show was at its best on a 72-yard bomb that was close to being the pair’s third touchdown on the day.

Eyeing the schedule ahead, Wendel was taken out of the game and replaced with backup quarterback Victor Twynstra for the duration of the fourth quarter.

Windsor would get three touchdowns in ‘garbage time’ to ease their loss, but the damage was already done. The Lancer’s discipline wore thin late in the game, and a myriad of cheap shots and questionable calls plagued the waning minutes.

“The game might’ve gotten away from (the referees) a little bit,” said Gee-Gees head coach Jamie Barresi. “I had a feeling the Windsor kids might’ve been a little frustrated and been taking some shots at our guys. That’s all I was trying to get across to the officials.”

Apart from the late game issues, the Gee-Gees were still pleased with how the game came out, but the focus is on a bigger set of obstacles down the road.

Next on the schedule is Guelph who, along with Western, is the top team in the province, and is coming off a hard fought win over McMaster.

The trip to Guelph will be key to the rest of the Gee-Gees’ season—with a win, the Gees could be on their way to a home playoff game and potentially even a first round bye.

“Obviously we have a huge next couple of weeks coming up,” said Gee-Gee Ian Stewart. “More of the better and mid-range teams (are) all fighting for a playoff spot so every week gets more and more important.”

Stewart knows that their trip to Guelph next week marks the start of a considerably tougher schedule.

“Guelph is a good team as well, we know that, we’ve seen the film and we’ll have to dissect them all week and see what we can do against them. I’m pretty confident in our offensive skills and think we can make some plays and get a win.”

Following Guelph, the Panda Game is scheduled for Oct. 3. Luckily for the Gees, the Ravens will have to travel to London to take on the undefeated Mustangs at their homecoming this weekend, a game that will not likely end well for Carleton.

With the excitement of the thick of the year approaching, the team needs to be more focused than ever.

There has been a lot of talk on the difficulty of the Gee-Gees’ schedule this season, Barresi isn’t fazed.

“I was delighted to have this schedule,” said Barresi. “The thing that happens in games like this is what you see here, the second half comes and there’s a total loss of focus. What we needed last week against Mac was a full 60 minute focus and we need to get ready and used to playing those types of games.”

The Gee-Gees take on the Guelph Gryphons on Sept. 26 at 1 p.m. The game will be streamed live on OUA.tv.