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Four Gaels prominent at all-star game

May 13, 2013


LONDON — The week passed quickly for Andrew Lue.

“It was a flash, to tell you the truth,” Lue said after the East-West Bowl, several minutes after the West secured its 18-17 victory.

“I still feel like we’re warming up right now. It all happened very fast … too fast.”

The week of practice, testing and Saturday’s football game was an “unreal” experience, said Lue, a defensive back who was one of four members of the Queen’s Golden Gaels to play in the annual all-star game.

Lue started the game and was one of the East team’s captains.

“The level of play, the coaching, the quality of players, the quality of the coaches. It’s a real memory now,” Lue said. “It was a great learning experience, picking the coaches’ brains every day. I know every guy took away a lot of things from this.”

Being exposed to the methods and systems used by teams in other conferences was fascinating, Lue said.

“The ability to adapt your play, based on a new scheme, based on new players, that’s definitely something I’m going to take back with me.

“Hopefully we’ll make it out of the conference and I’ll get to show it off.”

Gaels linebacker Sam Sabourin, who had 4.5 tackles in the game, said the week of activities gave players an opportunity to see how they measure up with players from the rest of the country.

“The chance to play against these guys makes you better,” Sabourin said. “It was a short time frame but the amount of work you got in was pretty significant. It was definitely a tough week. We got to work with CFL coaches, which was awesome, playing at that tempo.”

The need to maintain one’s intensity is something Sabourin said he’d be taking from the experience.

“The mentality that every play, every practice, you had to bring your all and anything less wasn’t quite good enough. That’s the big thing,” he said. “You always try to play like that but at this level of competition, it really shows — one per cent off a play here, a play there, really makes a difference.

“The speed of the game picks up that much more. If you take a half step the wrong way you’ve got the offensive tackle in your face.

Queen’s defensive end Derek Wiggan was second among East defenders with 5.5 tackles.

“It’s definitely something I’ll remember,” he said. “You don’t always get to work with the best of the best every day. The talent from across the country is amazing.”

While most players played about half the game, injuries along the defensive line led Wiggan to play almost all of it.

“It’s good during the game. Now I’m feeling it,” he said with a smile. “I love playing, so the more I’m out there the better for me.”

Suddenly finding yourself on the same team as former opponents was never an issue, Wiggan said.

“Actually, it was pretty smooth. We all understand why we’re here, and we’ve probably seen each other from different football camps when we were younger.

“I learned a lot,” he continued, “what different conferences have to offer, how they’re taught, how (offensive) linemen are taught to block. It was a great learning experience.”

Quarterback Billy McPhee was the other Queen’s player to take part in the game. He played three quarters, completing 14 of 23 passes for 114 yards and the East’s only offensive touchdown.

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