The football Tigers rode some huge plays in the third quarter to a 31-20 victory in their homecoming game against the UNB Fredericton Red Bombers on Saturday, Oct. 17. The win upped the Tigers’ record to 4-2 on the season and was their fourth straight.
“It’s good, it’s obviously good to win, it’s good to put a series of wins together,” said Tigers head coach Alan Wetmore after the game. “I wish the game was a little tidier. I think we could’ve played better … I think we gave up too many penalties, we got a little lackadaisical, we let the layoff affect us, I just want us to be a little more mentally strong.”
The game also represented the first awarding of the Alumni Cup, which is goes to the team that scores the most points between the two team in the regular season. The Tigers came into the game needing to win by seven to take the cup after dropping the first game 37-31 in Fredericton. The Alumni Cup was awarded to Dalhousie President Dr. Richard Florizone at midfield after the game.
“It’s great to get the first ever Alumni Cup,” said Tigers QB Nick Hunsley. “It kinda represents our team as a whole … it’s great because we’re peaking at the right time.”
It was a cold dreary night at ‘the Wick’ as rain started pouring 20 minutes before kickoff. The poor weather kept most of the fans at home but those who did turn up saw the Tigers put on a show.
The first quarter did not see a lot of action as the two teams punted for field position. With 2:15 left in the quarter Red Bombers punt returner Mitch McCoy seemed to be bottled up at his own five-yard line, he managed to break free and ran to the right sideline were he was brought to the turf by a hard tackle at the 10.
He stayed down on the field for an hour, in a scary scene, as paramedics were called in to stretcher him off the field. Reports were that it was a separated shoulder.
When the game resumed the Red Bombers went two and out and conceded a safety to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
In the second quarter the Red Bombers drove into field goal range but kicker Alex White pushed it wide right, Tigers returner Kenzie MacNeil juked out a number of Red Bombers to bring it out of the end zone to keep the score 2-0 Tigers.
The Tigers were forced to punt on their next possession but punter Rob Wilson made a heady play by chasing down the ball and recovering the unintended onside punt to give the Tigers a fresh set of downs.
A few plays later, Hunsley hit WR Byron Kavanagh over the middle 12 yards up-field and Kavanagh did the rest for a 21-yard TD hookup. The score made it 9-0 Tigers.
Late in the first half the Tigers defense came up with a massive goal-line stand. They shut down the Red Bombers on three plays from within the five-yard line.
The Bombers got the ball into field goal range again but on the last play of the first half White pushed it wide left and MacNeil brought it out again to keep the score 9-0 at the half.
On the opening possession of the second half, the Red Bombers used a couple of questionable penalty calls against the Tigers and a 40-yard completion from QB Pat Mollins to WR Courtland Lee to march down to the Tigers one-yard line.
They scored from there as RB Turner Sturgeon took a direct snap from the Wildcat and pounded it in off of left tackle. The TD made it 9-7.
Early into the next Tigers possession Hunsley hit WR Alex Bayne on a post route over the middle, Bayne out ran the Red Bombers D up the left sideline to the house for a 60-yard TD. The extra point was blocked and the score was 15-7 Tigers.
The Tigers got the ball back quickly and again Hunsley hit Bayne this time on a fade up the left sideline for a 48-yard TD. After the extra point was good the Tigers were up 22-7.
After MacNeil made a nice return on a Red Bomber punt the Tigers had great starting field position at the Red Bombers 26. A few plays later at the start of the fourth quarter Hunsley found Louis Gauvin on a fade to the back right corner of the end zone. The extra point was good for a 29-7 Tigers lead.
The Red Bombers used a fake punt run off the right edge by Coel Storey on their next possession deep in their own territory to spark a comeback bid. Mollins was able to hit WR Zac Chambers for two TD passes in the fourth to bring the score to 29-20.
On the last Red Bomber play of the game Tigers LB Giovanni Holmes sacked Mollins in the end zone for a safety and made the final score 31-20 Tigers.
“Now that the ball’s rolling I think we’ll continue to carry that momentum forward and that’s going to be the key to success,” said Tigers RB and team captain Zach Leger. “We just played great, it was a great team win.”
The win aside Wetmore still believes his team has more to offer.
“I want them to be able to finish the deal,” said Wetmore. “[The defense] gave up things and they got penalties and quite honestly I’m a little unhappy about it. I want them to be able to play championship ball and they have to play better than that to be champions.”
Up next for the Tigers is a road game at the Holland College Hurricanes in PEI.