WATERLOO, ON — The Ravens are headed to playoffs as the fourth ranked seed after defeating the Waterloo Warriors, 43-15, in the final regular season game.
"We were hoping at this point we would be in the conversation for the Yates Cup, but almost more importantly, we were hoping to get that first playoff game on campus," said head coach Steve Sumarah about the team's progress. "It shows that we really have come a long way."
Carleton started off the scoring against the Warriors mid-first quarter with a 65-yard connection from Mills to Behar. With 4:16 left on the clock, Jayde Rowe (Scarborough, ON) had an 8-yard run for a touchdown, bringing the Ravens lead up to 14. Mike Domagala (St. Catharines, ON) finished off the first quarter with a 27-yard field goal.
The Ravens continued to add to their score early in the second quarter, as Mills found receiver Dexter Brown (Sherwood Park, AB) on a 40-yard pass for another touchdown. The Ravens brought their lead to 24, while the Warriors remained scoreless.
A Carleton fumble put the Warriors in great scoring position, as they picked up the ball at the one-yard line. Waterloo pushed their way into the end zone, and found themselves on the board.
Carleton once again made their way down the field. A big rush of 42 yards by Rowe put the Ravens one yard short of a touchdown. On the next play, Mills and his strong offensive linemen plowed their way past Waterloo defenders for another touchdown.
Carleton led 31-7 over Waterloo going into the second half.
A pair of field goals by Domagala allowed the Ravens to pull away with their lead. Waterloo conceded a safety, and the Ravens found themselves with a 39-8 lead.
Waterloo ended the third quarter with a touchdown, making the score 39-15, in favour of Carleton.
Two more safeties in the fourth quarter finalized the win, as the Ravens ended the Warriors season with a final score, 43-15.
Many Carleton starters were taken off of the field for the second half of the game for precautionary measures. "We wanted to make sure our guys were fully rested and healthy, because at this time of the year, any time you can get extra rest for your guys it is only going to benefit them," explained Sumarah.
While Carleton was certainly favoured going into today's game, they focused on the task at hand, and were able to get their sixth win of the regular season.
"[We] knew that we had a chance to go 6-2 which is an improvement from last year," said Sumarah. "It speaks to progress, and I think the guys were motivated to go out and perform so we could get to that 6-2 mark."
VanWynsberghe reiterated this point, explaining that every game is important in the regular season. "We tried to make the game about us, and focused on what we needed to do. […] The real season begins now. We are more excited than we have ever been."
With nine receptions during Saturday's game, Nate Behar (London, ON) set a new record at Carleton for most receptions in a single season. Behar's 57 receptions in 2016 surpassed Marc Dinardo's 51 receptions during the 1997 season.
Quarterback Jesse Mills (Halifax, NS) also set a Carleton record for passing completions in a single season. Mills held the record for his 2015 performance, with 152 completions. Despite playing only the first half of the game in Waterloo, Mills added 17 completions to his total, setting a new personal best with 166 pass completions in his final season.
RAVENS VS. GEE-GEES: PART II
The win over Waterloo guaranteed the Ravens their first home playoff game since 1986. The city of Ottawa will be alive once again as Carleton takes on the University of Ottawa in another rivalry match-up. This time, rather than Pedro the Panda up for grabs, a trip to the semifinal game is on the line.
"This actually has a lot more value and importance [than Panda Game] because it is a one-and-done game," said Sumarah. "I think it is going to bring a different level of intensity, a different level of focus for our guys knowing that we are in playoffs."
Ravens receiver Kyle VanWynsberghe (Delhi, ON) agrees with his coach, that although Panda is an exciting game at the time, it is in the past, and they are preparing for a much bigger game against uOttawa.
"Panda is cool, but it means absolutely nothing now," said VanWynsberghe. "It is very difficult to beat a team twice, in my opinion. Ottawa is a very well coached team, and they have some talented players, but we have to win."
Source: Carleton Ravens