Heading into Saturday's home opener, the Gee-Gees football team had won all six home openers since opening Gee-Gees Field in 2013. With a 44-27 win over the Queen's Gaels, the streak is now seven consecutive wins.
Led by redshirt freshman quarterback Ben Maracle, the Gee-Gees offence showed their true potential for the first time in this young season. In a five-touchdown performance, the team showed an ability to move the ball various ways.
It was a mix of young players and veterans responsible for the team's 44 points. The win marked first career touchdowns for Maracle (both rushing and passing), Daniel Oladejo, and running back Amlicar Polk. Meanwhile, fifth-year receivers Kalem Beaver and Carter Matheson, both tallied touchdown receptions.
On the defensive side of the ball, the team once again turned in solid performance. There was pressure on the Queen's quarterbacks throughout, leading to four sacks in the game.
Linebacker Kyle Rodger had the team's lone interception, however, with it coming in key field positioning, the offence quickly converted it to points.
The highlight play from the defence came late in the fourth quarter when Emmanuel Aboagye-Gyan stripped the ball from the Queen's running back as he tried to turn up-field. The fumble was then quickly scooped up by fifth-year cornerback Cody Cranston who returned the ball 61 yards for the game's final touchdown.
Following the game, the Gee-Gees hold the fourth-ranked defence in yards against in the OUA (353.5).
"I give our kids a lot of credit, they played with a lot of heart," said Gee-Gees head coach Jamie Barresi. "We let [the game] get out of our hands last week, and we almost let this one get out of our hands. We still have a lot of stuff that we have to fix up."
Maracle was 21-31, throwing for 290 yards and three touchdowns. The Tyendinaga, Ont. product received the Mike O'Connor Most Valuable Player Award following the game.
"I have a lot of things to work on," said Maracle. "Obviously I'm still new to the game at this level, so I think I have a lot of work to do and things available to fix for the future.
Despite his strong first start, Maracle focused on how to improve going forward, particularly decreasing turnovers.
"Going forward, that's going to continue being our emphasis, not turning the ball over and continuing to march the field," he said.
Next weekend, the Gee-Gees will be at home once again to take on the Laurier Golden Hawks. This is the first time the Golden Hawks will play at Gee-Gees Field since its opening. Laurier last played the Gee-Gees in Ottawa during the 2012 season.
Following an upset loss to Toronto this weekend, the Golden Hawks will be coming into the matchup siting at 1-2 this season.
"We've got a lot of stuff to get ready," said Barresi. "We're fortunate we don't have to go there to play them, because we've never had them here, that's an advantage we have."