By Aaron Mansfield
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — The chants grew louder with each moment Qadree Ollison stayed on the field to do interviews and pose for pictures. "We want Q!" belted Canisius' student section, "The Blue Crew," which had formed a tunnel to congratulate the running back.
Ollison, a Niagara Falls resident, had just played the game of his life and led Canisius (9-0, 5-0 Monsignor Martin) to a 28-21 road victory over arch rival St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute (7-2, 3-2). He ran 39 times for 335 yards and four touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound junior almost single-handedly won the game, as he scored all of Canisius' points and the Crusaders did not accrue a single passing yard.
"I think I'll remember this performance for the rest of my life," Ollison said. "These are the types of games that never go away."
Canisius clinched the Monsignor Martin regular season championship and the No. 1 seed in the conference playoffs with the win in rainy, windy conditions at Robert Scott Athletic Complex.
The game lived up to its billing, as Canisius entered as the No. 1-ranked large school in Western New York and St. Joe's entered ranked sixth. The Marauders led 14-7 at the half, but their senior day ended on a sour note as Ollison took over in the second half.
"He's a hell of a back," said St. Joe's head coach Dennis Gilbert.
Ollison amassed 246 of his 335 yards and three of his four touchdowns after the break.
"Some of our kids, I questioned them at halftime," said Canisius head coach Rich Robbins. "I questioned our heart and they responded.
"It's hard to put into words right now. Tough weather, tough day. Both teams had to run. Qadree again was outstanding."
Ollison struggled with cramps all game and had to rest for a few plays twice, but he kept coming back and Canisius kept feeding him. The Crusaders did not attempt a pass in the second half.
"I want it as bad as anybody," said Ollison, who has run for 1,442 yards and 20 touchdowns on 184 carries this year after sharing touches in a two-back system last season. "Coach kept telling me: 'Q, we need you, we need you.'"
St. Joe's had won the last four rivalry games before Saturday and now leads the all-time series (which began in 1921) 47-31-3. Last year, the Marauders defeated the Crusaders 48-47 on a late Chad Kelly touchdown pass in the Monsignor Martin semifinals at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Marauders senior running back Ilo Noble performed admirably on Saturday. He ran 20 times for 211 yards and a touchdown, but Noble was limited to 38 yards in the second half as Canisius clamped down on defense. Ollison did the rest.
"We knew if we let him get into space, it was going to be trouble," Gilbert said. "They did a nice job. On two of his long runs, we were lined up improperly and he caught us. That's what good teams do: when you make mistakes, they sting you."
Canisius will play the No. 4 seed, once the winner of St. Francis/St. Mary's is determined, in the Monsignor Martin semifinals on Nov. 8 at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bishop Timon-St. Jude, which defeated St. Joe's on Oct. 12, is the No. 2 seed. Timon will play the No. 3 seed — the winner of St. Joe's/Cardinal O'Hara.