Queen’s-Western rivalry renewed Saturday at new Richardson Stadium

By Jonathan Yue, CIS Communications Intern  

The rivalry between the Queen’s Gaels and the Western Mustangs continues this weekend, but for Western head coach Greg Marshall, the visits to Kingston have always been special.

“My earliest memory here was when I was a player here in ’79,” said Marshall, as his Mustangs prepared to play in front of a large pro-Gaels crowd on Saturday in the first game at the new Richardson Stadium. “Since then, every time we’ve been to Kingston, there was a big crowd and exciting atmospheres, and we’ve had some really good games.”

Marshall played for the Mustangs from 1982 to 1984 before becoming their head coach in 2006. He remembers how the rivalry has evolved since his playing days. From athlete to coach he has experienced it all.

On the other side is Gaels receiver Chris Osei-Kusi. Not many players admit to cheering for their bitter rivals but Osei-Kusi remembers cheering for the Mustangs as a kid, watching his older brother, Ricky Osei-Kusi, who finished a four-year career with the Mustangs last season. Not knowing much about the CIS at the time, he remembers seeing the “goldish-yellow” team beating his brother’s squad.

“I want the gold team to win this time, now that I’m on Queens and part of the rivalry,” said Osei-Kusi. “I know it’s a storied rivalry, so helping this team win is always a good thing.”

Saturday will mark the 92nd meeting between the two teams since 1929, with a record that favours the Gaels slightly, holding a 45-44-2 all-time edge against the Mustangs.

The game will be aired on City TV, the first of four CIS Football Game of the Week telecasts airing coast-coast on the road to the 52nd ArcelorMittal Dofasco Vanier Cup. Osei-Kusi is excited about the added coverage of the games and hopes to show what CIS football has to offer.

“Showing games on TV will definitely help because they’re all going to be very competitive,” said Osei-Kusi. “Seeing a lot of fans and the two teams going at it for four quarters, it’s definitely going to help the CIS.”

The $20-million renovation of Richardson Stadium promises a whole new fan experience at the game. Opening ceremonies will begin at 12:30 pm on Saturday, leading up to a 1 pm kick-off. Coach Marshall says that the new additions to the field will benefit both sides.

“Before, many of the stadiums in the OUA had artificial turf and Queen’s was one of the last ones with grass,” said Marshall. “Now it’s a little easier to play down there and not have to worry, with weather or players changing footware. From what I’ve seen, it looks like a great facility and a great venue for university football.”

The Mustangs, who are looking to build on their 2015 Yates Cup appearance, come into the game with a 2-1 record on the season. Their two wins have come in dominating fashion, outscoring opponents 153-20, while showcasing the team’s high-powered offence and stingy defense early in the season.

The Gaels are still in search of their first win of the campaign. Coming off a nine-point loss to the Guelph Gryphons last week, Queen’s will be looking to use the home crowd at its new digs to its advantage in front of a national television audience.

“With the new stadium, we’re going to feed off the energy of the people and that’s going to help us out mentally in the fourth quarter,” Osei-Kusi says. “The energy of the crowd will be a huge boost.”

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