No. 7 McMaster’s massive second half performance evens Gee-Gees record 1-1
Photo courtesy of Jon White (The Silhouette), Infographic: Kim Wiens
The Gee-Gees football team took a small step backward in their hunt for a national championship. For the first half of their matchup with the McMaster Marauders, the Gees looked primed to down the seventh-ranked team in Canada. Unfortunately the team couldn’t pull off the upset in Hamilton, falling 57-42 to last year’s Vanier Cup runner up.
This game reaffirmed the growing rivalry between the Marauders and Gee-Gees. Over the last handful of years, these two teams are destined to meet in games that will shift the tides of a season.
Both teams are fighting to establish themselves as elite in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference. McMaster has established their place after two impressive wins, however the Gee-Gees will have to address some issues before proving how elite they are.
The game quickly turned into a shootout with Gee-Gees quarterback Derek Wendel spreading the ball and commanding the offence. The Gees found the endzone four times in the first half, and at one point held a 32-17 lead.
In similar fashion to the their opening game against Toronto, the Marauders stormed back in the second half to put the Gee-Gees on the ropes. In a momentum-shifting turn, a McMaster player claimed a Gee-Gees player punched him in the groin.
There was no penalty called, which caused Mac’s head coach to throw a tantrum at the referee. McMaster became motivated by that non-call and would not let up on the Gees.
Despite the loss, Wendel improved his resumé, boasting 301 passing yards and four all-purpose touchdowns for the second consecutive game. The McMaster defence had running back Bryce Vieira’s number all game, limiting him to only 41 yards rushing.
McMaster quarterback Asher Hastings and Ottawa’s Derek Wendel are two names sitting atop multiple passing statistics in the country. The teams don’t appear to be slowing their aerial assault anytime`soon, so their battle will be one to watch for the remainder of the year.
The Gee-Gees will need to grow from this loss as the Marauders didn’t necessarily expose the Gees’ playbook. It was more of a situation where the Gees beat themselves by not making plays and leaving too much pressure on their defence.
“It was more on us. Give (McMaster) credit,” Gee-Gees coach Jamie Barresi told the Ottawa Citizen. “They’re a good team and were able to put pressure on the quarterback, but there were things that we left on the field and our best defence is to keep our defence off the field. It was all on us.”
These lessons will be immensely useful when taking on other top-tier opponents like Guelph and Western later in the season.
The Gee-Gees will be coming back home to take on the Windsor Lancers in a reunion game for the 2000 Vanier Cup Championship winning team. The Lancers enter the game with an 0-3 record and have only scored 30 points all season, meanwhile giving up 146.
Kickoff against Windsor will be at 1 p.m. on Sept. 19 at Gee-Gees Field.