(OTTAWA, ON) — It took double overtime, but the Carleton Ravens defended Pedro the Panda.
Carleton kicker Mike Domagala (St. Catharines, ON) played the hero on Saturday afternoon, drilling a 17-yard field goal in overtime to lift the Ravens past the crosstown rival Ottawa Gee-Gees in the 2015 Panda Game, 48-45.
Carleton (4-2) benefited from the MVP performance of quarterback Jesse Mills (Halifax, NS), while the Gee-Gees (2-3) couldn't capitalize on the record-setting effort of quarterback Derek Wendel in the offensive showdown.
"Any time you get a double overtime win, in a game like that, it's special," said Ravens head coach Steve Sumarah. "With this putting us at 4-2, it's another step forward, and hopefully we can carry this momentum forward."
The Ravens and Gee-Gees traded offensive punches throughout Saturday's rivalry game. Carleton opened up a ten-point lead in the first quarter before Ottawa surged back on top with a 30-point second quarter. Despite Wendel's pinpoint accuracy under centre for the Gee-Gees, and even while trailing by a game-high 11 points in the third quarter, Carleton did not break.
"Kudos to OttawaU and Derek Wendel, he played a fantastic game," said Coach Sumarah of the U of O quarterback, who threw for 542 yards against his team. "At the end of the game, we just made a couple plays when we needed to, and it was huge, absolutely huge."
Carleton's dramatic win was set up by a key defensive stop in overtime on a Gee-Gees 3rd-and-4. Ottawa running back Bryce Vieira heard the footsteps of Carleton DB Justin Howell (Bradford, ON) and dropped a Wendel short feed, turning the ball over and setting Carleton up for the winning possession.
"Honestly it just came naturally, feeding off the energy," said Howell, who drilled Vieira before turning to the crowd, which responded by memorably cranking up the noise. "It's an in the moment kind of thing, we had to get the ball back and make a play, so we made it."
A Jahvari Bennett (Mississauga, ON) rush then set up Domagala's winning kick, which sent the crowd into a frenzy and spawned the second field rush in as many years for Carleton.
"I trusted my receivers today, they're some of the best in the OUA and Canada, and I just knew I had to get the ball to them so they could make plays," said Ravens quarterback Jesse Mills, who threw for 217 yards, four TDs, and an INT on the afternoon. "The O-line played great, and our defence got turnovers when we needed them — it's a huge win."
With the victory, the Ravens improved to 4-2 on the season and have legitimized their bid for a home game in this Fall's OUA playoffs.
"It's a big win, and we're going to enjoy this for 24 hours, but then we've got to refocus for York," said Coach Sumarah, whose team will have a chance to set a modern-era program record in wins next Friday (7 p.m., MNP Park). "York is our number one priority."
Source: Carleton Ravens