Cougar Offense Muzzled in Loss to the Spartiates
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.”