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PREVIEW: Gee-Gees set to face Queen’s in 2019 home opener

Photo: Greg Campbell.
Photo: Greg Campbell.

On Saturday, the Gee-Gees football team will host the Queen's Gaels for their 2019 home opener at Gee-Gees Field.

Last week, the team fell short in their season opener against a tough McMaster team in Hamilton. Though the Gee-Gees held a slim lead in the third quarter, the Marauders responded to secure a 35-22 win on home soil.

With one game of experience under their belts, the Gee-Gees will look to return to form in front of a home crowd for the first time this year.

If history is any indicator, the Garnet and Grey can enter the matchup with some confidence. Though margins of victory have been relatively thin, the Gee-Gees have won each of their last five meetings with the Gaels dating back to 2014.

Last year, the two teams met at Richardson Stadium to close the regular season. The Gee-Gees secured the second seed in the OUA playoffs with the 27-22 win, while the Gaels were eliminated from playoff contention.

For the second week in a row, the Gee-Gees will face a team with a different head coach from the previous season. Queen's head coach Steve Snyder will attempt to earn his first win for the tri-colour since taking over the reins from long-time head coach Pat Sheahan in the offseason.

Last week, the Gee-Gees defence looked strong and will look to continue trending upward on Saturday against a Queen's offence that has averaged the second lowest yards per game in the OUA this season (306).

The Gee-Gees offence, however, will look to improve upon a difficult showing last weekend. Protecting the ball in potentially unfavorable weather conditions will be paramount in the game.

Attention will be on quarterback Ben Maracle as he makes his first career start for the Gee-Gees. Last week, late in the fourth quarter, Maracle was able to string together a drive for a touchdown to keep the game within reach. Last week's game was the second appearance for Maracle, who dressed and threw one pass against Toronto last year.

Maracle, who hails from Deseronto, Ont., is sure to be familiar with his opponent, having grown up a short distance outside of Kingston, playing junior football for the Limestone District Grenadiers at Richardson Stadium.

Carter Matheson, another Kingston product, will look to best an impressive 144-yard performance in week one, that has him sitting second in the OUA and U SPORTS in yards per game heading into Saturday.

Since Gee-Gees Field opened in 2013, the Gee-Gees have been undefeated in home openers. Including two wins against the Gaels in 2015 and 2017.

The Gee-Gees football team and Sports Services will recognize Dr. Gary Greenberg's 40 seasons as team physician in advance of the football Home Opener game on Saturday, Sept 7. Dr. Greenberg, who earned his MD at uOttawa, will participate in a ceremonial coin toss prior to the 1 p.m. kickoff.

Furthermore, the game will recognize 1975 Vanier Cup Champion Mike O'Connor, who lost his life in a car accident in 1995. O'Connor was a member of the Gee-Gees for four seasons from 1972 to 1975, and played for Queen's for the 1976 season. He was named a conference all-star twice and since his passing, he has been recognized by uOttawa Sports Services each time his two alma maters meet in Ottawa. A ceremony will take place at the conclusion of the game to award the Mike O'Connor Most Valuable Player award for each team.

The game will be streaming live on OUA.tv, tickets can be purchased at tickets.geegees.ca