The University of Toronto’s Student Newspaper Since 1880

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Varsity Blues come out on top in a nail-biter against the Ottawa Gee-Gees

The Blues’ defense and special teams stun in season opener
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
The Varsity Blues won 11-10 in their season opener. PHOTO COURTESY OF SEYRAN MAMMADOV
The Varsity Blues won 11-10 in their season opener. PHOTO COURTESY OF SEYRAN MAMMADOV

The Blues managed an 11–10 season-opening win over the Ottawa Gee-Gees on Saturday, September 18, their first game in 700 days. The Blues have recorded a 1–11 game record against the Gee-Gees in the lead-up to this match. 

From the start of the game, the Blues’ defense played with heightened intensity. This was displayed when linebacker Dominic Ciraco tackled punt returner Nathan Walker, forcing the Gee-Gees’ offense to start their first drive at their 15-yard line. Shortly after this play, defensive end Lukash Cuningham sacked the Gee-Gees’ quarterback Ben Maracle, forcing the Gee-Gees to punt at the 50-yard line. 

In a post-game interview, coach Greg Marshall said that he was happy with how the team performed. “Our defense really played well, special teams were very good, and offense did just enough to get the win.”

The Blues’ defense was able to keep the game scoreless until their offense kicked in. Blues quarterback Clay Sequeira ran the ball in for a touchdown on a 3-yard drive after much deliberation. With the successful kick attempt, the Blues were up 7–0. However, it didn’t take long for the Gee-Gees to respond. A few plays later running back Dawson Odei ran for 10 yards and squeezed his way in for a touchdown on the right side of the endzone, which tied the game at 7–7. 

The momentum shifted once again in the late second quarter. In the 10th minute, Chris Maclean, kicker for the Blues, feinted a punt and instead ran for 18 yards for a third down conversion. 

When The Varsity asked Coach Greg about his standout players during the game, he mentioned Chris Maclean, saying, “He struggled a little bit on the field goals but he did a great job punting the ball. That fake [play]… was key because we got points off of it.”  

The Blues managed to cap the first half with an 11–7 lead.  

The second half of the game was heavily dominated by the Gee-Gees. Their first drive saw them move 82 yards up the field for the field goal, while the Blues only went a total of 34. On the offensive side, Sequeira’s light seemed to dim a bit as he ended the second half with five passes and nine incompletions. 

The game came down to the wire when Gee-Gee quarterback Ben Maracle threw a beauty of a pass to receiver Rodney Estienne for a 30-yard gain. However, after that play, the Blues defense stepped up and the Gee-Gees were unable to score.  

When asked if the results were convincing enough to satisfy the team moving forward, Coach Marshall said, “A win is a win. We’re very excited to get the win and I never look at whether [we’re winning by] one point or 30 points.”

After two weeks of rest, The Blues will host the Queen’s Gaels on October 2 for a game at the Varsity Stadium. The Gaels were ranked one place above the Blues last season, and the Blues did lose the last time the two teams faced off. However, if the Varsity Blues’ defense continues to show up game after game, it’s just a matter of time before their offense starts performing just as well.