Written by Brandi Awad, Carleton Sports Information
Photo by Ian MacAlpine
KINGSTON, ON – The Carleton Ravens kicked off their 2017 season with a comeback win on enemy territory Saturday, defeating the Queen’s Gaels 22-17 at Richardson Stadium.
The Ravens started their game off strong, putting themselves in field goal position three minutes into the first. Fifth-year Michael Domagala (St. Catharines, ON) attempted the 37-yard kick, but fell short. However, he was quick to redeem himself with 8:33 on the clock, opening the Ravens scoring with a 37-yard field goal to make the game 3-0.
The Gael’s Nick Liberatore made sure to respond towards the end of the quarter with a field goal from the 20-yard line to even out the game, 3-3.
Carleton’s offence was able to answer with a touchdown early in the second when Queen’s veteran QB Nate Hobbs fumbled the ball, leading to a 22-yard recovery and dash to the end zone from Frederik Robitaille (Terrebonne, QC). The Ravens were able to snag the extra point with a kick from Domagala. Just one minute later, in an explosive defensive play, Carleton’s Jeremy Rioux (Gatineau, QC) sacked Hobbs for a two-point safety, bringing the lead to 12-3.
After a dull first half from Queen’s, the Gaels came out ready to play in the second half, putting themselves back in the game. Nearing the midway point of the third, Hobbs was able to connect with fourth-year receiver Matteo Del Brocco on an 18-yard TD pass. A good kick from Liberatore made it a two-point game for the Gaels at 12-10.
Just a few minutes into the fourth quarter, Hobbs was able to reach Del Brocco again on a 16-yard TD pass turning the game in Queen’s favour. Another good kick from Liberatore had the Ravens trailing by five.
After a few tough breaks for Carleton, heading into the final few minutes of the fourth, it seemed as though the game was going to come to a crushing end. However, the Ravens weren’t ready to give up just yet.
With just under two minutes to go, the Ravens found themselves at the Queen’s 40-yard line. After a few clutch passes from rookie QB Michael Arruda (Gatineau, QC) to third-year wide receiver Phil Iloki (Montreal, QC), they put themselves in field-goal territory. Domagala stepped up and nailed a 27-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 17-15 on the scoreboard.
Down by two at the 43-yard line, with 47 seconds to go, Iloki brought Carleton five yards closer on a pass from Arruda. The first-year quarterback was then able to find fifth-year Dexter Brown (Sherwood Park, AB), who rushed the ball to the one-yard line. On the next play, Arruda pulled the quarterback sneak to find paydirt, sealing Carleton’s victory with a touchdown score.
Ravens’ head coach Steve Sumarah was happy with his team’s performance.
“I thought we played really hard and I thought we stayed together as a team and really supported each other even when things were looking a little dire there,” he said. “For game one, I’ll walk away with that win anytime.”
However, he recognized that there’s still a long way to go.
“I think the biggest thing is consistency, you know at times we were very good all the way around and at other times we made a lot of mistakes.”
Consistency will be a key factor in next week’s game against the McMaster Marauders, who stunned the Ravens in last year’s season opener with a 40-10 win.
“Obviously Mac is a very good team and it always has been for years,” Sumarah explained. “It’s going to be one of those scenarios where we can’t turn the ball over – we have to play mistake-free football. And, when we get the chance to make plays and create turnovers like we did early in the game today we need to jump all over that.”
The Ravens will take on the Marauders next Sunday (Sept. 4) on home turf at MNP Park at 7:30 p.m.
DOMAGALA SETS RAVENS RECORD:
Fifth-year kicker Michael Domagala became Carleton’s all-time career scoring leader on Saturday, passing Jeff Morris’ previous total of 228 points with eight points against the Gaels. Domagala’s first quarter field goal tied him with Morris at the top of the list, before his extra point on Frederik Robitaille’s touchdown saw him overtake Morris as the new career record holder at the university. Morris had held the career scoring mark since his final season in 1986.
BY THE NUMBERS:
The Ravens set a modern-era program record with nine sacks on Queen’s quarterback Nate Hobbs. Defensive lineman Tevin Bowen (Toronto, ON) led the way with 2.5 sacks and his forced fumble led to Robitaille’s second-quarter touchdown. Linebacker Leon Cenerini (La Salle, MB) had a game-high 9.5 tackles, which included a sack.
RAVENS PLAYERS OF THE GAME:
Frederik Robitaille – Defensive Line – 3rd Year – Terrebonne, QC
Kyle VanWynsberghe – Wide Reciever – 5th Year – Delhi, ON
Dexter Brown – Wide Reciever – 5th Year – Sherwood Park, AB
OUA Week 2
McMaster at Carleton (Home Opener)
Sunday, September 3, 2017 – 7:30 p.m.
MNP Park – Ottawa, ON
Photographs by Ian MacAlpine: