By Alexander Cole
A last-second defensive stand by the Concordia Stingers defense allowed the team to pick up a 17-11 victory against the St-Francis Xavier University X-Men on Sept. 24 during homecoming at Concordia Stadium.
“We had a good pre-game scouting report from our defensive-coordinator Patrick Donovan,” Stingers defensive end Andrew Barlett said. “We had a great week of practice. Everyone was fast to tune in and make the plays that they needed to. Big time players made big time plays.”
The Stingers came out of the gate fast, taking a 9-0 lead just five minutes in, after a touchdown by Stingers wide receiver James Tyrell and an X-Men safety.
The X-Men would end up finding their groove later into the first half, eventually taking an 11-10 lead deep into the second quarter. The Stingers came back with a field goal by kicker Andrew Stevens, and added a point from a missed field goal to take a 14-11 lead going into halftime.
In the first half, the Stingers only generated 186 yards of total offense. Stingers head coach Mickey Donovan, said the offense needs to get better and it has been struggling for the last few games.
“It’s been the same story for four weeks,” Donovan said. “Offensively we can move the ball, but we get into that red zone and it’s done. We’re not finishing when we need to finish. I feel like a broken record because we’re not getting the problem solved.”
In the second half, the Stingers opened with a field goal to bring the score to 17-11 and relied on their defense to hold the lead for the rest of the game.
The X-Men were unable to get deep into the Stingers zone and were kept to 353 yards of total offense. During the X-Men’s final possession, the team was finally able to chip away at the Stingers defense, and with four seconds left on the clock, the X-Men had one last play to steal the win from the Stingers.
X-Men quarterback Tivon Cook threw the ball into the end zone but it was batted down by a Stingers cornerback.
“You’ve got to think about personal pride and the teammate standing next to you,” Barlett said about the team’s calm demeanor during the final moments. “You’ve got to look to the sideline to see your brothers who have fought hard all game. You have to go as hard as you’ve ever gone in a game.”
Despite being disappointed in his team’s performance, Donovan was happy that his team picked up the win and brought their record up to 2-2.
“We got to get some momentum going our way,” Donovan said. “With a win, that’s one positive we can take with us. We need to get better, watch the film and fix the mistakes that we keep continuously making.”
The Stingers next game will be against the Bishop’s Gaiters in the Shrine Bowl at home on Oct. 1.