Written by Griffin Porter
OTTAWA, Ontario – As the Carleton Ravens came off a strong performance in their win against the University of Toronto last week, they entered TD Place and the Panda Game looking to keep their momentum going in a march to the playoffs. Facing an uphill battle in which they would practically have to win out the rest of their season in order to have a shot at qualifying for the Yates Cup playoffs, the Panda Game presented much more than the usual rivalry matchup.
With Canadian legend Alex Trebek in the building, the Ravens got off to a strong start in the first half. Leaning on star running back Nathan Carter, who was only 3 touchdowns and 210 rushing yards away from establishing Carleton career records in each of those categories at the start of play, as well as an exceptionally strong defence, Carleton played a scrappy first quarter and entered the first break of the game up 3-1.
Special teams cost the Ravens, however, as they missed 3 field goals over the course of the game. The Ravens were able to put the ball in the end zone in the second quarter on a nice throw from QB Tanner De Jong to WR Quinton Soares, to take a 10-1 lead. Soares had a big game, catching 5 passes for 106 yards and the one touchdown. However, the Ravens lost Carter to an injury on that same drive, which reduced the effectiveness of the Ravens rushing attack, and forced the Ravens to rely more heavily on the arm of De Jong.
The halftime break put a halt in the Ravens momentum, but a goal line interception by Ravens DB Cedric Lavigne at the start of the third quarter had Carleton looking poised to continue their first half domination. However, a botched handoff between De Jong and back up RB Joshua Ferguson allowed the Ottawa defence to score the first Gee Gees touchdown and tie the game at 10.
From there, Carleton began to fall apart, despite the return of Carter from his injury, as De Jong had the ball stripped for a 2nd touchdown by the Gee-Gees defence, and threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter with the Ravens only down by one touchdown. Despite continued strong play from LB Jack Cassar, who had 8 tackles and 2 sacks, and the rest of the Ravens defensive unit, the Gee Gees continued to chip away and take advantage of a sputtering Carleton offence for strong field position. The Ravens were unable to get any significant offence going in the second half, and had some key defensive stops undone by costly penalties. In the end they were outscored in the 2nd half 31-0, for a final score of 32-10.
When asked after the game what he would take away from the second half collapse, head coach Steve Sumarah brusquely “Nothing. It was awful”. The Ravens will look to get back on track next week at MNP Park against the McMaster Marauders.