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Young lineman joins his brother at Queen’s

May 2, 2013

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

Is it painful, Bob Sauer was asked, for a man who played football at McGill to have not just one, but two sons pursue the game in the colours of an old arch rival?

“That’s two daggers in the heart now,” Sauer said, with a grin.

“I want to say you can see the resilience that McGill guys have because I now have two sons at Queen’s.”

Zac Sauer was among seven recruits introduced at a media event Wednesday by Queen’s Golden Gaels coach Pat Sheahan. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound defensive lineman from Ayr, Ont., will be joining his brother, Andrew, on the football team in the fall.

Bob Sauer, who just so happened to be Zac’s coach at Southwood Secondary School in Cambridge, said foregone legacy aside, he’s pleased to have another boy go to Queen’s.

“From the old playing days at McGill, in those days it was quite a rivalry,” he said, “but as far as the boys coming here, I couldn’t ask for more. Andrew’s had a wonderful experience. I was very pleased that Zac chose to come here.”

For a man whose teams managed to beat Queen’s only twice in five seasons — and never in the playoffs — Bob Sauer actually has a poignant memory from that rivalry. It’s from 1981, when McGill beat Queen’s in the regular year and was favoured to do so again in the conference final in Montreal, but didn’t.

“We were highly ranked that year,” he recalled, and at the post-game gathering that was traditional at the time, he said Queen’s players actually apologized for the outcome. “We had guys come up to us and say, ‘We’re really sorry … you were really the better team and you guys should be going to Halifax now, not us.’

“That takes a lot, after winning a game as important as that, for someone to turn around and say you guys should really be the ones who are going. I’ve got to tell you, those Queen’s players were very respectful. It shows the kind of sportsmanship that is involved in the school. That always has (stayed with me).”

Though Andrew Sauer, three years Zac’s senior, said he’s looking forward to the possibility of playing with his kid brother — “it would be the first time”— he said he did nothing to try to facilitate it.

“Actually I didn’t try to influence him at all,” he said. “It wasn’t my place.

“It was his choice to make.”

Zac Sauer confirmed that detail.

“My whole family wanted me to make the decision on my own,” he said. “I was talking to a few schools and I think it was really important to them that they didn’t push me to go somewhere I didn’t want to go.”

Sauer said he was also involved with McMaster, Carleton, Laurier, Waterloo and Western.

“I went to every school,” he said. “I wanted to keep my options open, see everywhere and make a decision based on what felt right. I don’t know if it was always (going to be) Queen’s but in the end that turned out where I was going to be.”

There were numerous reasons for that. “They have such a rich history … that’s appealing to me,” said Sauer, who will be studying psychology. “Secondly, I’ve never played with my brother before. It would be nice to play at least a season with him.

“Thirdly,” he said, “it just feels like the right choice. It feels like home.”

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