Written by Emma Kelly
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA – The Carleton Ravens rebounded after a tough Panda Game loss with a last minute win of their own against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues. With seconds left on the clock, the Ravens would turn to first-year kicker Forcier, Brandon (St. Ange, Que.) who made no mistake securing the 27-24 victory.
The team opened the night with a ceremony to honour the graduating seniors. Cole Hepburn, Mitch Raper, Jesse Lawson, Josh Lambersky, Danny McWhirter, Philip Bellerose, Jonathan Edouard, Vincent Plouffe and Nathan Carter were all honoured at center field with players and fans applauding for their dedication and time to Ravens football.
In addition to recognizing Carter for his years of service, he was presented with a vintage game-used Ravens jersey signed by previous All-Time Rush Yards record holder Mark Brown.
The Ravens were sharp straight off the kickoff forcing a two-and-out before Reid Vankoughnett (Winnipeg, Man.) would lead a strong opening drive which was capped off with Ravens rookie Kaseem Ferdinand (Ottawa, Ont.) scoring his first OUA touchdown. The Varsity Blues respond late in the quarter as quarterback Clay Sequeira found Noah Lovegrove to equalize the score 7-7.
The Ravens would retake the lead in the second when Brandon Forcier would hit a 30-yard field goal extending his own Carleton record – having successfully made his first seven career field goal attempts. The Varsity Blues respond with a field goal and a rouge at the end of the quarter to take a 11-10 lead at the half.
Both teams put up a fight in the third, with Sequeira running into the end zone to take the largest lead of the night. Just passed the 5-minute mark, Ravens Keaton Bruggeling (St. Catharines, Ont.) would cap off a 78-yard drive breaking a tackle with an open field spin move before scoring a clutch touchdown.
In typical Ravens’ fourth quarter fashion, the games conclusion was an intense nail biter. The Varsity Blues took an early field goal to advance their lead 21-17. With the Ravens making their way downfield, it proved difficult to stop their balanced offence. Nathan Carter would find his way into the end zone for his 21st career touchdown, giving the Ravens their first lead since the first quarter – 24-21.
With a minute left on the clock, the Varsity Blues would add a Chris MacLean field goal to equalize the score. But it would be a trio of Ravens rookies would would respond. First Vankoughnett would find Kaseem Ferdinand on a deep ball to set up a field goal attempt before Brandon Forcier would line up for a 21-yard field goal attempt before being iced with a timeout. The quick pause in the action did nothing to distract Forcier who would step up and calmly drill the game winner, and his eighth consecutive field goal attempt. The Ravens would complete this week’s comeback winning 27-24.
“We knew it was going to be tight. It is just our season” said Coach Steve Sumarah after reflecting on the nerve-racking finish.
He later explained the adversity this team has experienced this year with multiple injuries that have shook the team. Starting corner, Danny McWhirter suffered a knee injury during the first play of the game today and while quarterbacks Tanner Dejong and Tristan Lefebvre remain out with injuries suffered two weeks prior in the York game.
Sumarah followed with, “These kids are resilient, they battled and when it did not look good, they found another gear. I’m proud of them.”
The Ravens look to maintain this energy next Saturday in Kingston, when they face the Gaels at 3pm EST. Catch all the action on OUA.TV.