Return to Richardson: Queen’s set to play home opener in 2021 season

Gaels take on the Ottawa Gee-Gees in Week 2 of the OUA season

Anthony Federico
Queen's Gaels' Anthony Federico celebrates one of his three sacks against the Carleton Ravens in week one OUA action. Queen's will take on Ottawa in their home opener this Saturday. - OUA 

After their first week win over the Carleton Ravens in OUA football, the Gaels now host the other team from the nation’s capital.

The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees come into the game after Andre Perron shockingly passed away following the school’s first game in Toronto, last Saturday.

The team has chosen not to postpone the match, the Gaels will make sure to honour Perron during the game.

“We’re going to pay tribute on game day,” said Queen’s head coach Steve Snyder. “We’ve coordinated something with the University of Ottawa football staff.”

In addition to the ceremony, reigning OUA Defensive Player of the Week Anthony Federico will wear a different jersey number so the 99 of Perron can go unused.

Richardson Stadium will be home to the Queen’s football team for a USports event for the first time in over 700 days. While the road has been long to get second year head coach Steve Snyder’s Gaels back to their home field, the time off has helped a young roster get more familiar with their team,

“The urgency and feeling that your hair is on fire … wasn’t there,” said coach Snyder, of the time off. “You were able to keep a slower teaching tempo and bring everyone along.”

One of the leaders for Queen’s this season is Ottawa native and QB James Keenan, who looked much more calm in the pocket compared to his 2019 season.

Keenan finished the season opener with 177 yards and two passing touchdowns, but his ability to extend plays was also on display. The Gaels’ signal caller added 39 rushing yards in key moments.

His running back Rasheed Tucker also is vital to the team’s successes. In 2019 Tucker averaged over 100 yards per game and started strong against Carleton carrying the ball 14 times for 79 yards.

The Gee-Gee’s attack will be tough for the Queen’s defence to handle, led by coach Ryan Bechmanis, Ottawa’s roster can spread the field and has generated a lot of intrigue around their system.

New Ottawa head coach Marcel Bellefeuille implemented his offensive scheme in their first game as such there is little insight to gleam for Queens. The Gaels will have to get creative with how they prepare for their opponent, and one time coach.

“We’ve actually gone back to that a little bit through out the last couple months,” said coach Snyder. “Back to practice tape from 2018, back to game film from 2018 and get a feel for his style of football.”

Gee-Gees come in with a roster filled with top athletes like Rodney Estime who finished last week with eight receptions for 149 yards, including a few highlight reel catches.

As their scheme comes together under the new offensive staff, the matchup against Queen’s athletic secondary will be one of the deciding factors in the game.

As for Ottawa the toughest week imaginable has happened, but this team has chosen to play on for their lost family member. While it will be highly emotional on both sides with both the loss of Francis Perron, the game will go on at 3 p.m. Saturday in front of a sold out crowd in Richardson Stadium.

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Posted: Sep 24 2021 4:46 pm
Filed under: College Football Sports