2014 CIS Football Team Preview: Queen’s Gaels

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Source: Shawn MacDonald, Queen’s Sports Info / Photocredit Jason Scourse

2013 regular season record: 7-1
2013 regular season standings: 2nd in OUA
2013 playoff record: 1-1
2013 playoff finish: Lost 51-22 to Western inconference final (Yates Cup)

The 2014 season saw the Gaels return to the Yates Cup for thefirst time since their 2009 Yates and Vanier Cup winning season.They once again met the Western Mustangs in the matchup but cameout on the wrong end of the 51-22 final.

The 2013 version ofQueen’s had a veteran filled lineup and was at or near thetop of the CIS in statistical categories on both sides of the ballas a team. Offensively, the Gaels averaged the second most pointsscored per game and led the league in defensive scores withfive.

This season, Queen’s returns top players at some impactfulpositions. With a strong core of players moving on, including fourwho are currently with CFL teams, the Gaels will look to someyounger faces to fill starting roles this season. Returning forQueen’s to run the offense in his fifth season will bequarterback Billy McPhee (Burlington, Ont.). McPhee had a standoutseason last year and will look to finish off his career with hisbest season yet. Although the offense loses members on the line andat the receiver position, this will only serve as an opportunityfor younger faces to shine such as John Meenagh (Calgary) and DougCorby (Burlington, Ont.).

Despite losing the programs all-time leading rusher in RyanGranberg, the Gaels depth at running back will make them a threaton any play thanks to the likes of Jesse Andrews (Arnprior, Ont.),Jonah Pataki (Wallaceburg, Ont.) and Aaron Dowd (Gananoque, Ont.).Rotating in different backs with different skill sets helped keep atrio of runners fresh last year late into the season and playoffs,it is once again a luxury that the Gaels are blessed with in2014.

The return of Derek Wiggan (Toronto) gives Queen’s anAll-Canadian anchor for their defensive line once again. Wiggan wasdrafted by the Calgary Stampeders in the fourth round, 34th overalland will return to Queen’s for his final season beforeheading back to Calgary next year. Two emerging stars for the Gaelsin the backfield will look to improve upon their standout 2013seasons as Yann Dika-Balotoken (Toronto) and Brendan Morgan(Pickering, Ont.), who both attended the East-West Bowl thisspring, are set for larger roles after the losses of All-CanadiansAndrew Lue and TJ Chase-Dunawa.

Quote from head coach:

“This is a transition year at Queen’s having graduated a numberof starters on offense and defense. We have a small buttalented group of seniors back with us this year led by quarterbackBilly McPhee, defensive end Derek Wiggan and senior receiver AlexCarroll. Although we are lacking experience at certain positions,we have recruited well over the past few years and we have sometalented athletes stepping up to fill the roles vacated by atalented group of graduating seniors. We have good team speed andsome good young linemen who have been working hard to be ready forthis year. My plan is to be a tough team to beat by season’s end.”– Pat Sheahan

Head Coach:

– Number of seasons as head coach with team (including 2014):15th
– Number of seasons as head coach in CIS (including 2014): 26th
– Career regular season record with team: 72-40
– Career regular season record in CIS: 120-73-1
– Career overall record with team (reg. season & playoffsonly): 88-51
– Career overall record in CIS (reg. season & playoffs only):151-94-1

OFFENCE

Number of returning starters: Four

Key returning players:

QB Billy McPhee returns for his 5th season in the CIS.Continually improving throughout his career McPhee finished withhis best season yet in 2013 ending with 17 touchdowns (6th in CIS)and only four interceptions (1st in CIS in TD/INT min. 50 passingattempts).

RB Jesse Andrews enters 2014 as the most experienced runningback for the Gaels. 67.6 yards per game (16th in CIS) despitesplitting duties, led the Gaels with 8.6 yards per carry andfinished with five rushing scores (7th in CIS [tie]).

RB Jonah Pataki was named an OUA All-Rookie in his first year.Scored one touchdown as a rookie and rushed for 118 yards againstWaterloo.

WR Alex Carroll is back for his 5th year as a Gael. Injuriesslowed him down in 2013 but he was able to return to put up 68yards with six receptions in a pivotal game against Guelph to closeout the season.

Key recruits or transfers:

QB Nate Hobbs from St Joan of Arc CHS (Mississauga, Ont.)Mississauga Warriors/Team Ontario QB. Team Ontario U18 Gold Medalwin vs Team USA in Texas last January.

WR Matteo Del Brocco from Cardinal Carter CHS (Leemington, Ont.)Essex Ravens Team

RB Brandon Tyrell from T.A. Blakelock HS (Oakville, Ont.)

Key losses:
RB Ryan Granberg, OT Josh Prinsen, WR Giovanni Aprile, OGDerek Morris

DEFENCE

Number of returning starters: Six

Key returning players:

DT Derek Wiggan was an All-Canadian in 2013 and is a three timeOUA All-Star. Drafted by the Calgary Stampeders this spring in theCFL draft Wiggan returns for his final season. He finished with 5.5sacks last season (18th in CIS)

DB Yann Dika-Balotoken had a breakout campaign for the Gaels in2014 being named a first-team OUA All-Star. He led the CIS ininterceptions with five and interceptions returned for touchdownswith two.

DT Natu Myers saw his workload increase last season and isexpected to be among the best on the defensive line for the Gaelsin 2014. In limited action last year he had nine tackles and twofor losses.

S Brendan Morgan settled in on the defensive side of the ballafter starting out as a running back in 2013. In five games as adefensive player he put up 15 total tackles including a six tackleperformance against Windsor.

Key recruits or transfers:

Defense
DE Carson O’Sullivan from St Mary’s CHS (Pickering,Ont.)

DB Chris Mackey from Sinclair HS (Oshawa, Ont.)

LB Nelkas Kwemo from College St Anne (Lachine, Que.)/Kent HillsPrep in Maine, USA.

Key losses:
CB Andrew Lue, DB TJ Chase-Dunawa, DT John Miniaci, LB SamSabourin

SPECIALTEAMS

Key returning players:

K – Dillon Wamsley

KR/PR – Doug Corby

Key recruits or transfers:
NA

Key losses:
KR/PR – Giovanni Aprile

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