Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA – Saturday afternoon was packed with excitement and Raven pride as the Carleton Ravens football team returned to the field for the first time in almost two years. The team opened their season against the rival Queen’s Gaels and was welcomed to the turf with blue skies and a sold-out crowd.
The last time these two played each other was in 2019 on Gaels’ soil where the Ravens took the win 18-12. The Ravens finished the 2019 season with a 4-4 record finishing sixth stats while the Gaels finished with a 3-5 record landing in eighth.
Late in the first quarter, the Ravens opened the scoring with a 32-yard field goal from L’Ange Gardien, Que. native Brandon Forcier. The Ravens defence held their position strong and were all over Gaels quarterback, James Keenan (Ottawa, Ont.) early on.
The Ravens struggled with defensive penalties and faced the consequence as Keenan went deep for a touchdown to give the Gaels the lead before the half. Trailing the consistent and aggressive Gaels, the team went back to the room at the half while the Ravens Rhythm performed for the sold-out crowd.
Once again, rookie kicker Brandon Forcier opened up the second half scoring in the third quarter with a field goal to mark his second of the afternoon. Despite adding three points, the Ravens remained behind Queen’s 6-8 at the end of the third.
The fourth and final quarter did not differ from the rest of the game, with the Ravens falling in trouble with penalties. The Gaels advance to field goal range and Nick Liberatore (Dartmouth, N.S.) made no mistake with the kick, spreading the lead to 5. The Ravens continue with their grit and determination on both sides of the field, keeping Queen’s on their toes. After a late touchdown by Gaels receiver Richard Burton (Ottawa, Ont.) the game would end with Ravens falling short of Queen’s with the score 18-6.
“It was just great to get back on the field”, head coach Steve Sumarah explained.
Reflecting on the game, he noted that it was great to look at where the team is and observe where the strengths and weaknesses are. When asked about how he felt about the loss Sumarah said “I am excited about what we have potentially, but today was obviously a little frustrating in some moments when we didn’t quite execute like we wanted.” This season marks Sumarah’s ninth year as head coach for the Carleton football program.
The Ravens play at York University next Saturday and look to even their record. Kickoff is at 4:00 p.m. with the game being broadcast on OUA.tv.