Cougar Of­fense Muz­zled in Loss to the Spar­ti­ates

Stanstead Journal - - SPORTS - Len­noxville, Sher­brooke

In a bat­tle for first place in the league, the Cham­plain Cougars were shown up by the Spar­ti­ates from Vieux-montreal, los­ing 34-14 this past Satur­day. The usu­ally strong Cougar of­fense, led by their four run­ning backs, was kept to a mea­ger 153 yards, 57 yards com­ing from the pass and 96 from the run.

“It’s a good wake-up call” said Cham­plain’s head coach Jean-françois Joncas with a very no­tice­able tone of dis­ap­point­ment in his voice. “This week, the fo­cus was there, but maybe we thought we were un­beat­able be­cause of the big vic­tory last week…”

The Cougars were kept tamed through most of the first quar­ter, and looked a bit stunned at times. They did, how­ever, gain some mo­men­tum in the sec­ond quar­ter. With the Spar­ti­ates lead­ing 10-0, Alexan­dre Grace in­ter­cepted an er­rant pass from the op­pos­ing quar­ter­back and re­turned 62 yards for a great touch­down. The Cougars would add an­other touch­down later in the quar­ter on a three yard run by Devon Ste­wart.

The game then took a turn for the worse for the Cougars at the end of the first half. Af­ter stop­ping their op­po­nents with their backs at their own goal line on two straight plays, the Cougar de­fense gave up a three yard touch­down pass with nine sec­onds re­main­ing on the clock, re­lin­quish­ing the lead in the process.

The sec­ond half saw the Cougars strug­gle on both sides of the ball. On of­fense, noth­ing could be gen­er­ated on the run or the pass. An­thony Au­clair es­pe­cially strug­gled, com­plet­ing only five of his eigh­teen pass at­tempts for 57 yards and throw­ing two in­ter­cep­tions in the game.

The de­fense fared lit­tle bet­ter against the also run­heavy Spar­ti­ates of­fense. The two op­pos­ing run­ning backs ran for a to­tal of 258 yards, scor­ing one touch­down apiece. They were, how­ever, able to con­tain the vis­i­tors’ pass­ing at­tack, hold­ing them to only 104 yards pass­ing and adding an­other in­ter­cep­tion in the fourth quar­ter (Ni­cholas Gau­dreault).

When ques­tioned about the team’s strug­gles run­ning the ball, which is usu­ally their best of­fen­sive weapon, coach Joncas stated: “With the way we played last week, for sure Vieux pre­pared them­self well in terms of get­ting ready for the run game. I guess we have to look at our­selves when we watch the film. When teams are go­ing to play against us, they’re go­ing to bring their A-game be­cause they’re go­ing to want to stop the run. On our side, we have to be ready to face that type of ad­ver­sity.”

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