FCC2017: Last minute clutch performance propels Quebec to gold medal game
On Tuesday afternoon, Alberta was on the verge of pulling off a major upset at the 2017 Football Canada Cup in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.
Heading into the final minute of the game, Alberta clung onto a 12-10 lead over defending champions and top seed Quebec.
With 15 seconds left, Alberta’s chance to play for gold was dashed when Antoine Couture came though in a clutch performance and booted a nine yard field goal to propel Quebec to a 13-12 victory.
For the third consecutive year, Quebec finds themselves in the championship game. In a rematch of last year’s gold medal game, the team will face Saskatchewan on Friday July 14th at 7:00pm AT.
Alberta battles Ontario for the bronze medal on the same day at 4:00pm AT.
In the first half, offensive production was hard to come by for both teams and they were scoreless after one quarter of play.
Early in the second quarter, Jake Withrow added a 25 yard field goal to give Alberta the lead. Less than two minutes later, his attempt at a second field goal went wide and out of the end zone.
Couture booted a 14 yard field goal to pull Quebec within a point of Alberta.
At halftime, Alberta led Quebec 4-3.
Jonathan Ericson connected with Segun Adeseye for a 23 yard touchdown in the third quarter. Just over a minute and 22 seconds later, Quebec responded back as quarterback Lukas Boulanger snuck into the end zone for a 1 yard touchdown to keep pace with Alberta.
Alberta managed to get a single in the final minute of the game to go up by two points. However it was short-lived as Couture’s precision in those last 15 seconds of the game secured Quebec’s berth in the gold medal game.
“The fact that Antoine was here last year and he was with us on Team Canada this winter, he is an experienced player,” commented Quebec Head Coach Marco Iadeluca. “That’s why we felt good about having him here if we came down to these situations, hopefully we don’t have to do it again.”
“He’s a clutch player and that’s why we brought him here and he came through for us here for sure.”
Players of the Game for Quebec were REC Mathieu Robitaille (offence) and DB Anton Haie (defence). Alberta Players of the Game were RB Matthew Peterson (offence) and DB Jacob Biggs (defence).
Quebec felt very fortunate to escape with the victory.
“They never lost focus; we tried to tell them that every second counts and that we have to play until the very end,” reflected Iadeluca. “I am very proud of our kids because they kept their focus and we didn’t have much time left at the end of the clock.”
“We came out and we were playing a very talented group who were very well focused and very disciplined. I think it was a great football game against two great teams and sometimes that’s the way it’s going to go.”
In his assessment of the team’s performance, Iadeluca wasn’t concerned about the lack of offensive production but also noted the defensive unit’s improvement from their previous game.
“We play these tournaments together for a week and it takes a little bit of time for offences,” he assessed. “We talked about controlling the ball and not giving turnovers.”
“We knew our defence was better than what we showed here on Saturday night. We knew our defence would bounce back.”
As for Alberta, the team was disappointed about how close they were to winning the game and how their chance to play for gold slipped away.
“I’m just super proud of the kids that played their hearts out,” Alberta Head Coach Chris Morris expressed. “It’s really unfortunate that it came down to a couple of plays; they made a couple of plays and that’s what happens when you play against good teams.”
“Everyone of your kids did their job but it’s an unfortunate part of our game. Our kids stayed very focused the entire game. Those plays they (Quebec) got against us they earned; they are a strong opponent and they kept coming. I thought we had them a couple of times and unfortunately we couldn’t punch it in.”
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