FCC2019: Quebec’s strong defensive coverage in second half overwhelms Manitoba
By Ameeta Vohra
If the adage that defence wins championships is true, Quebec has served notice in Day 1 of the 2019 Football Canada Cup that they will be a force to reckoned with throughout the week.
Turning on the heat in the second half, Quebec mounted up a strong defensive barrier that Manitoba couldn’t crack. Quebec were victorious, defeating Manitoba 31-6 during Game Day 1 at the tournament.
Quebec, who is seeded third in the tournament will move on the semi-final where they will face second ranked Alberta on Wednesday July 10, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. EST. As for sixth seeded Manitoba, they will battle seventh ranked New Brunswick in the consolation round on Wednesday July 10, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. EST.
The first quarter was a true defensive battle between the two teams as there was only a single point put up on the scoreboard.
On the return, Manitoba’s Ethan Nagler kicks the ball into the end zone. The team ends up with a single to take a slim 1-0 lead over Quebec.
In the second quarter, there were some magnificent plays by both . With 10:34 left before the half, Manitoba quarterback Sawyer Thiessen throws an interception into the hands of Quebec’s Dylan Djete. Then, pivot Eloa Latendresse Regimbald gaffes the snap and Manitoba defenders swooped over him.
As Manitoba took over the ball and hoped to add some points, Quebec’s defense mounted a solid wall and with 7:38 remaining before the half, Manitoba were three and out.
With Quebec pressing to score a major, Regimbald was blitzed by Manitoba’s defensive back Brandon Slobozian with 5:40 remaining in the second quarter.
Just over a minute later, Xavier Gaillardetz gave Quebec great field position with a tremendous run play.
Manitoba’s defensive line denied Quebec twice right at the 1 yard line in the red zone. However, third time was the charm as Regimbald snuck into the end zone to give Quebec the lead and first major of the game with 2:09 left before the half. Emile Choquet’s PAT was good and Quebec took over the lead 7-1 over Manitoba.
In the last minute of the second quarter, Thiessen was intercepted again, this time by Daniel Bararuhanya which allowed Quebec to take over at the 47 yard line.
Quebec tried to add to the lead; however, Choquet’s 31 yard field goal went wide but the team still managed to get a single point as Manitoba could not run it out of the end zone.
At halftime, Quebec led Manitoba 8-1.
Trying to get the equalizer, Manitoba did not have an answer to Quebec’s defensive pressure. With 10;59 left in the quarter and deep in their end zone, Nagler concedes a safety to help Quebec increase their lead 10-1.
With 9:28 remaining in the third quarter, Regimbald connects with Galliardetz who sprints into the end zone for a 49 yard major. Choquet’s conversion was successful and Quebec increases their lead over Manitoba 17-1.
Regimbald connects with Iraghi Muganda for a beauty of a catch to put Quebec into great field position. It set up the following play where the pivot finds Jonathan Mambila for a 5 yard touchdown.
Manitoba, started to show signs of life when Thiessen dashed down the field for a 20 yard rush with 3:45 left in the third quarter. Then, he connected with Theo Karahalios for a pass which put Manitoba in position for a great opportunity to score. However, penalties and equalled with great defensive coverage from Quebec killed their chance.
In the final frame of the game, Quebec continued to extend their lead. After Muganda lit up the field with a 70 yard reception, it positioned Kokou Baudin Kobaili to sprint into the end zone for a 6 yard rushing major. Choquet’s PAT was good.
Quebec’s defensive line was phenomenal during the last couple of minutes of the game as they put too much pressure on Manitoba and it resulted in Djete getting his second interception of the game.
However, Regimbald threw an interception to defensive back Adam Fast who ran down the field to give Manitoba a late chance to score from good field position deep into Quebec’s territory.
With 54 seconds left in the game, Thiessen creeps into the end zone to give Manitoba a touchdown. On the two point conversion attempt, the ball is intercepted by Quebec.
Offensive Players of the Game are quarterback Eloa Latendresse Regimbald (Quebec) and wide receiver Theo Karahalios (Manitoba). Defensive Players of the Game were defensive backs Daniel Bararuhanya (Quebec) and Brandon Slobozian.
While Quebec is happy to get the win, Sunday’s game proved there is still work to be done if they want to hoist the national championship by the end of the tournament.
“Obviously, you start the third and you’re playing a strong team like Manitoba that is well coached, their kids played hard,” said Quebec head coach David Lessard. “The result is pleasing but you need to improve if you want to go all the way and win, you need to get better.”
It’s a good result but we’ve just got to play better down the road.”
While disappointed by the loss, Manitoba is proud of how much they battled until the end of the game.
“It was a good game,” commented Manitoba head coach Ryan Karhut. “Our kids dug in and they fought hard but Quebec is a pretty talented team and they just got the better of us today.”