Second half comeback propels Quebec to gold medal game
By: Kevin Hirschfield, Special to Football Canada
Photo credit: FotosbyFitz / Glenn Dickson
Quebec’s offence found its groove in the second half of their semi-final matchup Tuesday and, as a result, they’re off to yet another Canada Cup gold medal game.
Sem Suossobotra and Kevin Mitale caught touchdown passes from Jonathan Sénécal and Quebec knocked off Alberta 24-10 in one Canada Cup semi-final.
All of Quebec’s points came in the final two quarters.
“We told the guys at halftime that, although we had 0 points on the board, we had a much better first half offensively than we did (in last game vs Manitoba Silver),” said head coach Marco Iadeluca. “If we just kept grinding that way, good things would happen. We’re thrilled with our offence.”
Alberta appeared to be poised to pull off the upset. Led by the running of Tanner Sudo (14 carries, 89 yards, 1 TD), they opened up a 10-0 lead at the half.
But the number one-seeded Quebecers lived up to their ranking as soon as the second half began. Suossobotra’s touchdown came just 2:59 into the 3rd quarter on a 55-yard scoring drive. They followed that up with another effective drive, only to have a field goal attempt hit the uprights and keep the score at 10-7.
They took the lead for good around the midway mark of the final quarter as Mitale caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Sénécal to make it 14-10. Sénécal finished 21 of 30 for 225 yards and two touchdowns.
After they forced Alberta to concede a safety, it was the Quebec defence who sealed the deal late in the fourth thanks to a Terrence Ganyi 31-yard interception return for a touchdown.
Alberta’s Sudo, meanwhile, was smothered by Quebec’s defence for the final two quarters.
“Kudos to our defensive coaches, they made adjustments at halftime, they came out and kicked some (butt) in the second half,” said Iadeluca.
“We just couldn’t get momentum in the second half,” said Alberta coach Chris Morris. “We just needed one more drive. If we had one more drive at any point when we were up 10-0, I think we would have been fine.”
The defending champs from Quebec now advance to their sixth gold medal game in the last seven events, having won four of those times. Quite the decade of dominance.
“I think it’s a reflection of the young coaches that prepare these kids really well so that when they come to this, they’re really well prepared,” said Iadeluca. “It makes it easy on us.”
Quebec awaits the winner of Ontario/Saskatchewan in the Friday’s final, while Alberta plays for bronze.
This post is also available in: French