The Dalhousie Tigers football club picked up a 37-9 victory in the Pinktoberfest game on Saturday, Oct. 3 at Wickwire Field against the University of New Brunswick Saint John Seawolves. The win was the Tigers’ first of the season, brining their record to 1-2.
“It’s almost surreal,” said Tigers head coach Alan Wetmore after the game. “I’m excited and ecstatic, I didn’t like being 0-2 and we lost a few games last year … I was getting pretty desperate [to pick up a win].”
The Tigers showed they are making good strides as a program at ‘the Wick’ on Saturday.
“We played well,” said Wetmore. “We played our assignments, [the team] did the job I knew they were capable of and I’m pretty happy.”
The Tigers established a strong running game with first year RB Zach Leger rushing for three touchdowns and 147 yards on 16 carries.
“Zach’s our workhorse,” said QB Nick Hunsley. “He [Leger] has taken the job by the reigns. He’s a downhill runner who tries to punch the defense right in the mouth and has been doing an incredible job.”
Leger was quick to put the credit for the win on the rest of the team.
“It feels awesome [getting the win] it was a real team effort, the guys really came together,” said Leger. “We got a huge new addition with [FB] Kyle Whalen, the O-line really clicked and the offense is just starting to work.”
The Pinktoberfest game was held as a fundraiser for breast-cancer research and included the Tigers wearing pink socks and using pink tape, as well as the officials using pink flags. October is Breast-Cancer Awareness Month.
The game had a lethargic start as both offenses struggled to move the ball. The Tigers got on the board first when Rob Wilson scored a ‘Rouge’ on a punt to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Wilson along with the rest of the Tigers special teams unit did a tremendous job swinging field position for the Tigers all game.
The Seawolves responded with a touchdown drive a couple of possessions later. Seawolves QB Sean Galbraith completed three passes to WR Adam Spurrell including a drive capping 17-yard touchdown pass on a corner-route to the right side. The score gave the Seawolves a 7-1 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The turning point of the game came on the next Seawolves drive. They had marched the ball down the field to the Tigers 29, aided by several Tigers penalties. On first-down Galbraith tried to throw a ‘5-yard hitch’ to his left and Tigers DB Graham Felix jumped the route and returned it 85-yards to the ‘house’ for the ‘pick-6’ and an 8-7 Tigers lead.
“The ‘D’ came up big in big moments for us today,” said Hunsley.
The Felix ‘INT’ sparked the Tigers and they did not look back.
On their next possession the Tigers put together their first sustained scoring drive of the game. The drive was highlighted by Leger busting an 18-yard carry on a hand-off to the left and Hunsley hitting Gullimae Bernier running a post route over the middle for 16-yards. Leger finished the march on a toss-sweep left where he broke at least three tackles on the 12-yard touchdown run. The score put the Tigers ahead 15-7.
After a holding call on a punt return the Seawolves were backed up on their own 5-yard line a couple of possessions later. The Tigers’ ‘D’ forced a ‘two and out’ and the Seawolves coaching staff elected to concede a safety to gain field position, however the Seawolves punter decided to run the ball out of the end-zone gifting the Tigers with the ball at the Seawolves 3-yard line.
On ‘third and goal’ from the one Leger scored his second ‘TD’ of the game on a toss-sweep right. After the extra-point was no good, the Tigers went into halftime with a 21-7 lead.
The second-half started with the Seawolves driving the ball from their own 36 to the Tigers 25 on a couple of big completions from Galbraith to Spurrell. The Tigers’ ‘D’ bent but did not break forcing a ‘turnover on downs’ after the Seawolves elected to go for it on ‘third and ten’.
The Tigers went ‘two and out’ on their next possession and were forced to punt. The snap was low and bounced away from Wilson who made a wise decision under pressure to kick the ball out the back of the end-zone to concede the safety and make the score 21-9.
Two possessions later a Wilson punt was fielded by Henrik Tonning on the Seawolves one-yard line, Tonning fumbled the ball and it was recovered by the Seawolves in the end-zone for a safety and a 23-9 Tigers lead.
On the ensuing possession Hunsley methodically marched the Tigers down the field. Hunsley had two big completions to Bernier, first a 32-yard connection on a fade route down the left sideline followed by a 15-yard grab on a seam route.
On ‘second and ten’ Hunsley found Byron Kavanagh on a slant route to the right and Kavanagh made some good ‘YAC’ to pick up the first down.
Three plays later on ‘third and one’ from the seven-yard line at the start of the fourth quarter Hunsley hit Alex Bayne in the back right corner of the end-zone for another Tigers ‘TD’. The touchdown pass pushed the Tigers lead to 30-9.
Two possessions later Leger took a handoff to the right and juked left and then right and back to his left several times on his way downfield before stiff-arming a defender and taking it to the ‘house’ on a jaw dropping 56-yard touchdown run. The play brought the score to 37-9 Tigers and was the last eventful play of the game.
“We had a bit of a slow start early in the year,” said Leger. “Now that the ball is rolling … I think we can hopefully keep this momentum going and take six in a row [for the Moosehead Cup].”
The Tigers play on the road against the Seawolves before returning back to ‘the Wick’ for Homecoming against the University of New Brunswick Fredericton Red Bombers on Saturday Oct. 17 at 7:00pm.