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Defense dominates as Gee-Gees subdue Queen’s in home opener

By Dan Plouffe

The Gee-Gees’ defense tossed around the Golden Gaels in a 19-6 Ottawa U victory, allowing just a field goal and a single. Photo: Dan Plouffe.

The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees struck for two majors in the second quarter and frustrated the Queen’s Golden Gaels the rest of the way as they improved to 2-0 with a 19-6 Ontario University Athletics football victory Saturday at Frank Clair Stadium.

“We’re definitely very happy with the win,” said Aaron Colbon, who threw touchdown passes to Bogdan Raic and Simon Le Marquand in his home debut as starting quarterback. “It was a bit nerve racking coming out there today with my first home start. You come out of the gates and you know you’re the one starting the game. But it’s a great feeling to know that you’re the guy that everyone is looking to.”

With Queen’s leading 4-1 midway through the second quarter, Raic ignited the Frank Clair Stadium crowd of 5,367 with a big 47-yard TD reception to send Ottawa ahead 8-4.

Colbon then completed a 10- play, 75-yard drive on the next possession with a beauty fade pass to Le Marquand near the end zone sideline to help the Gee-Gees to a 16-4 lead at halftime.

Ottawa U continued to rush the ball effectively in the second half as running back Brendan Gillanders finished his day with 161 yards on the ground for 24 carries.

Colbon’s 9-of-25 for 146 yards number weren’t quite as impressive as his debut last week in Guelph when he wound up two passing yards short of 300, but the important stat was zero interceptions, as the Gee-Gees’ defence frustrated Queen’s all day, limiting the Gaels to a field goal and a single early on and then shutting the door the rest of the way.

“We played pretty well – we didn’t let Queen’s score any touchdowns and that was our main goal,” said Ottawa defensive back Matt Kasner, who made his Gee-Gees home debut after playing three years at Acadia University. “They got some drives on us but we held tough in the end.”

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Despite the loss of James McNaughton, Chayce Elliott and Sébastien Tétreault, the Gee-Gees’ defense is emerging as a real strength of the club, led by Ottawa natives Tyler Sawyer and Ettore Lattanzio, who finished 1-2 in total tackles for the second week in a row with 5.5 and five respectively.

“Our whole team is strong, but we take pride in our defense. We never let our offence score in practice, and we take that into the game,” explained Kasner, a Merivale High School grad who won a high school title in his senior year. “We work hard and all run to the ball so it’s not one person, it’s all 12 of us together. We’re a family and a team.”

Kasner is certainly enjoying his time with his new football family while working towards a Master’s degree in electric business technologies, and felt “excited more than nervous” to make his return to Ottawa on a university football field Saturday.

“I was looking forward to playing this game for awhile,” smiled Kasner, who was a league all-star with the Ottawa Jr. Riders last season. “The team really welcomed me. It\’s a great group of guys, I love playing with them, and we have a lot of fun – especially when we win.”

The Gee-Gees will look to continue their winning ways next week when they travel to London, Ont. to take on the no. 2 nationally-ranked Western Mustangs Saturday at 1 p.m.

Game stats here.

Watch highlight and interview clips here.

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