On September 3, the Varsity Blues football team faced the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees at Varsity Stadium for the season’s home opener. With a packed stadium of more than 4,100 fans anticipating a win on home turf, the Blues fell short, suffering a 15–10 loss. 

What happened

The game started off strong for both teams, with Ottawa applying pressure early, establishing a strong defensive strategy that carried throughout the game. At the end of the first quarter, the Gee-Gees were successful with their first field goal attempt, taking a 3–0 lead. 

The U of T crowd remained lively despite the deficit throughout the game KATE WANG/THEVARSITY

Nevertheless, a change in possession early in the second quarter worked to the Blues’ advantage, providing the team with an opportunity to drive up the field. Blues kicker Sam Henke put the Blues on the scoreboard with a successful 29-yard field goal, tying the game at 3–3. The Gee-Gees scored their second field goal from the 40-yard line to regain the lead, but the Blues took back possession and had a promising opportunity for another field goal. Yet, the Blues could not capitalize on it, and a ten-yard punt return by the Gee-Gees set their team up for another field goal opportunity and a score of 9–3 to end the first half of the game. 

The Blues fought back in the second half, applying pressure on Ottawa’s offense and playing aggressively, with key defensive players Ryan Stewart and Owen Cassie making several tackles. Another successful field goal for the Gee-Gees extended their lead to 12–3 to end the third quarter.

The Blues’ defence huddles together to keep the score close KATE WANG/THEVARSITY

Early in the final quarter, Blues wide receiver Nigel LeGood made an impressive 60-yard pass to receiver Christopher Joseph that put the team in an optimal position for a comeback. On the next play, Blues quarterback Kinsale Phillips rushed the ball into the endzone, scoring the team’s first touchdown — the only one of the game. A successful kick from Henke completed the play, leaving the Blues trailing just behind Ottawa’s 12–10 lead. 

Unfortunately for the Blues, the Gee-Gees consolidated their lead with another successful field goal and won the game 15–10.  

What happened next

After a tough loss for the Blues, the team lost 9–42 to the Queen’s University Golden Gaels on September 9 at Varsity Stadium. The Gaels were ranked second in the Ontario University Athletics standings last season, and brought some excellent competition to Saturday’s game.

This game against the Gee-Gees took place on Sunday, September 3. For what happened next, click here.