Paquette's perfection earns Bishop's 2013 Mayor's Cup
SHERBROOKE, Que. – The Bishop’s Gaiters beat the Sherbrooke Vert et Or 22-21 on Saturday night for the second time in three weeks in RSEQ University Football action. This time they earned the Mayor’s Cup with the victory at Stade de L’Universite de Sherbrooke. A Mathieu Paquette 47-yard field goal with 37 seconds remaining put the Gaiters up by a single point. The game came to a dramatic end when a Vert et Or 30-yard field goal drifted wide left.
After the season opener between the Vert et Or and Gaiters was dubbed as one of the best games in the last 10 years, it was hard to believe that the encore with the Mayor’s Cup on the line could be any more exciting. It was. With the win Bishop’s takes home the trophy for just the second time in its eight year existence.
The game got off to a slow start. Just a single Vert et Or point off a missed field goal was registered on the scoreboard in the first quarter.
Another single, this time off a Sherbrooke punt gave the hosts a 2-0 lead early in the second quarter. Paquette, a Sherbrooke native, got the Gaiters on the board with his first of three field goals on the night. The 33-yarder gave Bishop’s a slim 3-2 advantage. After a Sherbrooke safety, Bishop’s scored the game’s first major and the only one of the first half. Jordan Heather (Oromocto, N.B.) hooked up with Alexander Fox (Montreal) on a 20-yard pass and catch. Bishop’s led 10-4 at the break.
The Gaiters extended their lead 9:17 into the third quarter when Heather found Jerome Mercier (Quebec, Que.) on a 13-yard strike. The Gaiters scoring drive was aided by 50 yards of Sherbrooke penalties. The Vert et Or answered back less than two minutes later with their first touchdown of the game. The score cut the Gaiters lead to 16-11.
In the fourth quarter there were three lead changes, while Paquette made 91 yards worth of field goals and the game came down to the final play. Sherbrooke scored another touchdown just 2:58 in and grabbed an 18-16 lead. Bishop’s mounted a drive halfway through the quarter but managed just a 44-yard Paquette field goal. Sherbrooke made their lone field goal in five chances with 1:32 remaining and grabbed a 21-19 lead. Heather led the Gaiters down the field and Paquette connected on a 47-yard field goal, his career long. The score gave Bishop’s the advantage for good but not without some drama to end the game.
In a situation eerily similar to two weeks earlier, the fate of the game rested on the foot of the Sherbrooke kicker. This time it was Sebastien Blanchard (Sainte-Sabine, Que.). His 30-yard attempt missed wide left. O’Shane Daley (Scarborough, Ont.) caught the missed field goal and sprinted towards the goal line. He kicked the ball out of the end zone and out of bounds to preserve the Bishop’s dramatic 22-21 victory.
“It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win,” said Gaiters head coach Kevin Mackey. “Finally we got a couple bounces to go our way and Mathieu hit a big 47-yard field goal at the end of the game. This is a huge stepping stone for the foundation of what we want to do. Guys are resilient and guys played hard. Football is an emotional game and it’s the will to win. We made fewer mistakes and were more disciplined and we have to continue what we are doing.”
Unquestionably the Gaiters were more disciplined as they were penalized eight times for 55 yards while Shebrooke took 18 penalties for 205 yards. Paquette was a perfect 3-for-3 on the night while Blanchard struggled, going 1-for-5. All other statistical categories leaned towards Sherbrooke as they out-gained Bishops 604-346 yards and ran 70 plays to Bishop’s 57. They also had the ball on offense for 9:38 more than the Gaiters; however Bishop’s led 22-21 on the scoreboard at the end of the game.
The Gaiters (2-1) will gear up for a pair of home games in the next two weeks. On Saturday, September 21 they face the Concordia Stingers (0-3) at 1 p.m. on Coulter Field. The match-up is Bishop’s annual homecoming game. Follow the Gaiters throughout the 2013 campaign at www.gaiters.ca.
Game Notes: Heather finished 18-38 with two touchdowns and two interceptions…Fox caught five passes for 48 yards and a touchdown…Paquette also averaged 42.3 yards on seven punts and his 47-yard field goal ties the long in the CIS this year.