FCC 2019: Quebec exacts revenge on Alberta as Choquet the hero in fourth overtime to advance to gold medal game
By Ameeta Vohra
Kingston, ON (July 10, 2019) – A provincial rivalry was reignited once again as Quebec and Alberta scripted another chapter in their storied history at the 2019 Football Canada Cup in Kingston, Ontario.
Quebec was seeking revenge after Alberta shocked the team in last year’s semi-final in Calgary, ending a three year championship reign with a 23-13 victory. Overall, Quebec had won six championships dating to 2011 and four of those championship games were played against Alberta.
On Wednesday, they exacted that revenge, defeating Alberta 29-27 in a dramatic and intriguing game that went to four overtimes for it to be settled at Queen’s University’s Richardson Stadium.
Quebec will meet the winner of the Saskatchewan/Ontario game to battle for gold on Saturday July 13, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. EST. Alberta will square off against the loser of the Saskatchewan/Ontario game for the bronze medal on Saturday July 13, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. EST.
The first half was dictated by a field position battle between the two special teams units. Moreover, it was truly a defensive tug of war and a very physical game between two rivals that have met so many times throughout the history of the Football Canada Cup tournament.
Only 22 seconds into the game Quebec almost got a touchdown when receiver Xavier Gaillardetz went down field for a 90 yard return. However, a holding penalty recalled the play.
With 1:12 left in the quarter, Alberta began pressing as Charlie DeLand fakes a play and finds Nathan Turner to advance the ball. The team was not able to capitalize on the good field position and had to settle for a Luc Nolin 23 yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead in the game.
Quebec responded back in the second quarter as Iraghi Muganda sprints into the end zone to tally a major to put the team ahead.
Over two minutes left in the frame, Alberta quarterback Eli Hetlinger’s pass intended for Sony Bermudez-Chavez was intercepted by Quebec defensive back Coslens Clairveaux.
With 1:46 remaining before the half, Quebec were deep in their own zone. Rather than risking giving Alberta a chance to mount anything dangerous, Emile Choquet tiptoes into the end zone and concedes a safety to the opponents.
At halftime, Quebec had a slim 6-5 lead on Alberta.
In the third quarter, Alberta found their rhythm on 1st and goal as Hetlinger connected with Kolby Hurford for a 5 yard touchdown reception to give Alberta the lead.
However, the lead didn’t last long as Quebec’s Eloa Latendresse Regimbald snuck into the end zone with 4:16 left in the frame.
Alberta tried to regain the lead as Matthew Morin had a seven yard carry to get the team in good field position deep in Quebec territory. Once again, Alberta’s offence wasn’t able to get their offence to bypass a tough and tenacious Quebec defence. Nolin attempted a 17 yard field goal but it went wide in the end zone. Alberta got a single point to tie up the game 13-13.
In the fourth quarter, Alberta took over the lead on as Nolin added a 35 yard field goal with 5:53 left in the game.
Quebec responded back as Muganda makes a huge catch that becomes the catalyst for the team’s drive deep in Alberta territory. With 2:17 remaining, Latendresse Regimbald sprints into the end zone for a 12 yard major.
With 29.8 second left, Choquet added a 30 yard field goal to increase their lead over Alberta.
Just when it appeared Quebec was heading to the gold medal game, Alberta had different plans. On the last play in regulation, Hetlinger sets off a Hail Mary pass and it landed in the hands of Dawson Gladue in the end zone to send this game into overtime.
In the first overtime, Quebec opted for a Choquet field goal on 3rd and 5, and he was successful in his attempt. When the ball went back to Alberta, Hetlinger connected again with Gladue for a key first down. However, Quebec’s defence came up with huge stops when it mattered and Alberta settled for a Nolin field goal to send the game to another overtime.
Alberta had a chance to press ahead when Nolin attempted a 38 yard field goal. However, the ball hit the goal post. When it was Quebec’s turn, Choquet’s 42 yard field goal attempt was blocked by Alberta.
In the third overtime, Quebec pressed towards the red zone but took two penalties which resulted in a loss of downs.
Alberta had a golden chance to put this game away but Nolin’s 21 yard field goal attempt was no good; however, the team got a point on a rouge.
Quebec sealed the deal when Choquet’s field goal attempt was successful.
Offensive Players of the Game of the Game were running back Iraghi Muganda (Quebec) and receiver Dawson Gladue (Alberta). Defensive Players of the Game were linebackers Edwin Wilson Tara Kolenge (Quebec) and Kosta Zannis (Alberta).
“It was a crazy; it could have gone either way,” commented Quebec head coach David Lessard on winning the game after four overtimes. “First half, I felt that we played better but we kept taking stupid penalties that set us back.”
In the second half, I felt they did better. They started running the ball and it kind of cut off our offence. It was tough to keep drives going. Obviously, we took the lead with the field goal and you play your defence and you don’t expect a Hail Mary type of play to be successful. It was and just from that point, it’s just hats off to the kids for how hard they played and were tough mentally to get the win.”