McMaster rallies to assure Marauders of third place finish

McMasterA strong second half performance by the No. 9 Marauders would be the demise of the hometown Varsity Blues as McMaster rebounded for a 40-21 victory on Saturday afternoon at Varsity Centre.

Trailing 21-17 at halftime, the Marauders scored 20 third-quarter points and held the Blues scoreless throughout the final two frames to put the Ontario University Athletics game away.

Kyle Quinlan (South Woodslee) went 21-for-32 and 306 yards and three touchdowns and also rushed 13 times for 137 yards. London native Kevin D’Hollander led all receivers with three receptions for 101 yards and two majors, while Joey Nemet (Burlington) rushed 21 times for 102 yards and one TD. Ryan Chmielewski (St. Catharines) and Allan Dicks (Abbotsford B.C.) each had 5.5 tackles and an interception on defence.

Fifth-year defensive back and Blue’s player of the game Kyle Kennedy of Ottawa tallied a game-high 14 tackles and one pass break up, while Mississauga native Wilkerson DeSouza had 12 tackles and one sack. Joe Cappiello (Toronto) ended the day with four tackles and three sacks in the loss.

Toronto native Michael Prempeh led all Blues receivers with five catches for 70 yards, while quarterback Andrew Gillis threw for 213 yards and two touchdowns.

Toronto jumped out of the gates early and scored on the first series of the game, capping a four-play, 52-yard drive with Prempeh’s first touchdown reception.

On the ensuing drive, McMaster marched down the field but was forced to settle for a 36-yard field goal by Andy Waugh (Perth). Waugh would go on to kick three more of 17, 18 and 22 yards through the uprights.

The Marauders took the lead when Joshua Kreidl (Hamilton) made a 20-yard catch on the last play of the first quarter to put the visiting squad up 10-7.

Toronto responded in a big way on McMaster’s first drive of the second quarter. Veteran lineman and Toronto native Joe Cappiello sacked Quinlan and forced a fumble, which was recovered by second-year linebacker Kevin Asare who picked up the loose ball and scampered 75 yards down the field for the Blues’ second major of the day.

The Blues struck again with two minutes remaining in the first half. Gillis connected with second-year receiver Paul de Pass of Ajax for a 38-yard gain to set up Prempeh’s second TD of the game. The third-year receiver scored on a 12-yard pass to put U of T up by 11.

The Marauders would narrow the gap just before the first half expired when D’Hollander caught a 30-yard pass in the end zone.

McMaster carried that momentum into the third. After two Waugh field goals, D’Hollander added his second TD of the game on a 62-yard pass from Quinlan. An interception on Toronto’s next drive would lead to a three-yard rushing touchdown by Nemet as the Marauders built a 37-21 lead heading into the final quarter.

With the win McMaster clinched at least a third place finish in the conference with a 6-2 record. They will have the week off before the OUA playoffs start on Oct. 30.