McMaster’s grand opening celebration of the new Ron Joyce Stadium lost some of its lustre on Saturday (Sept. 12) when the Ottawa Gee Gees left with a 22-19 Ontario University Athletics win.
The game marked the return to the McMaster campus for the Marauders who have played the past three seasons at Ivor Wynne stadium while their complex was under construction. Ron Joyce, the founder of Tim Horton’s was present for the pre-game ceremonies, which included a performance by the McMaster University choir and a spectacular pyrotechnics display.
In the first quarter, McMaster kicker Andy Waugh (Perth, ON) kicked a 20-yard field goal at 6:51 to record the first regular season points on Les Prince Field. much to the approval of more than 4,000 who watched the game in pouring rain. But after 30 minutes of play the Gee Gees took a 12-10 lead into the dressing room.
In the third quarter, Josh Sacobie (Fredericton, NB), who is pursuing the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) career passing record held by McMaster’s Ben Chapdelaine (1997-2001), would hook up with Acadia University transfer, Ivan Birungi (Pickering, ON) on a 43-yard pass before leaving the game with an apparent ankle injury. That score widened Ottawa’s lead to 19-10. Birungi would finish the game with seven receptions for 123 yards and a touchdown.
With the Gee Gees leading 22-11 with under five minutes in the game, McMaster’s second-year running back Joey Nemet (Burlington) rambled for a two-yard score to close the gap to 22-19. With under a minute in the game, the Marauders would drive the ball to the Ottawa 45-yard line, before turning it over on downs.
McMaster quarterback Ryan Fantham (London) had an excellent game completing 16 of 27 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown. Matthew Perressini (Hannon) had five receptions for 66 yards. Receiver Kevin D’Hollander (London) finished the game with 46 yards receiving on a single reception resulting in a first-quarter touchdown.
Sacobie completed 19 of 32 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns but threw two interceptions. Fifth year senior Justin Wood-Roy (Morin Heights, QC) had four receptions for 86 yards for the Gee Gees.
Defensively, McMaster’s Ryan Chmielewski (St. Catharines) had a game high eight tackles and added an interception. Daniel Baronas (St. Catharines), playing in his first game for the Marauders, had six tackles. Justin Vince (London) had four tackles and a sack. Byron Metcalfe (Pickering, ON) had three tackles and an exciting 51 yard run back of an interception.
Ottawa’s Michael Cornell (Hamilton) had six tackles. Tyler Dawe (Rockwood, ON) and Maxime Bedard (Granby, QC) each had four tackles.
McMaster, now 0-3, travels to Guelph to meet the 1-2 Gryphons at 1 p.m. on Saturday (Sept. 20) while the Gee Gees, now 2-1, will host the University of Waterloo (1-2) at 1 p.m. The McMaster game will be broadcast on The Score television network and can heard on radio at AM 900 CHML and CFMU 93.3 FM.