KINGSTON, Ont. – Defending Yates Cup champion Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks trounced the Queen’s Gaels 40-17 defeat in front of a home crowd of 4,657 Saturday at Richardson Stadium.
The Gaels (0-3) punted to Laurier to start the game, and the Golden Hawks (3-0) drove up the field. A big tackle by Nelkas Kwemo (Montreal) forced a Laurier punt. A pair of rushes from Jonah Pataki (Wallaceburg, Ont.) showed promise for the Gaels drive, but it wasn’t enough for Queen’s, and Laurier responded with a touchdown. A botched snap wouldn’t see the extra point converted and the Golden Hawks took an early 6-0 lead on Queen’s.
The Gaels came out flying and answered back after a 42-yard throw from Nate Hobbs (Mississauga, Ont.) found Jeremy Pendergast (Kingston, Ont.). On Laurier’s one-yard line, Jaeden Washington (Woodbridge, Ont.) bulldozed his way into the end zone for a Gaels touchdown, and Nick Liberatore (Dartmouth, N.S.) converted the extra point to give the Gaels a 7-6 edge in the closing minutes of the opening quarter.
The first minute of the second quarter, however, saw Golden Hawks quarterback Michael Knevel find Kurleigh Gittens Jr. deep for a touchdown. With the extra point, the Hawks climbed in front of the Gaels 13-7.
With the Hawks up 13-10 defensive lineman, Cam Lawson (Caledon, Ont.) came up big for Queen’s with a fumble recovery to put Gaels on Laurier’s 28-yard line. On the first offensive play, Hobbs found Chris Osei-Kusi (Brampton, Ont.) for his first career receiving touchdown and Queen’s was back in front 17-13.
During Laurier’s next drive, a pair of flags had Queen’s deep in their own end. Jason Shamatutu (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) was clutch on defence, blocking a touchdown pass in the Gaels endzone, followed shortly by a Wesley Mann (Almonte, Ont.) interception in the red zone.
Laurier finished off the first half strong adding a field goal first then with a minute left in the quarter; the Golden Hawks were able to get a touchdown and another extra point to take the lead on Queen’s 23-17.
A 42-yard punt return from Benjamin Arhen (Brampton, Ont.) looked promising for the Gaels, but the drive was snubbed early, and the Hawks pulled off a 52-yard field goal in the last seconds to close the half and lead Queen’s 26-17.
After neither team was able to score for most of the third quarter, it was Laurier who got on the scoreboard with a touchdown to extend their lead to 33-17 over Queen’s.
From there, Laurier tacked on another Golden Hawks touchdown and the game finished 40-17 for Laurier.
By the numbers
368 – Punting yards by Nick Liberatore
91 – Kick return yards from Benjamin Arhen
1st – First career receiving touchdown by Chris Osei-Kusi
11 – Total tackles from James Donald
399 – Passing yards from Laurier quarterback Michael Knevel
48 – Rushing yards from Nate Hobbs
“For about 28 minutes of that game, we were right there with what looks like the best team in the league right now. It was just unfortunate that we had two two-and-outs and we had the shanked punt, and it cost us 10 points, lost the lead and we never really recovered,” said Queen’s head coach Pat Sheahan.
The Gaels travel to London to take on the No. 4 Western Mustangs at 7 p.m. ET Sept. 23. The game can be seen live on OUA.tv.