Hurricanes wreck Tigers football
Dal out after semifinal crumble
The Holland College Hurricanes made it look easy Nov. 12 against the Dalhousie Football Club, riding a three touchdown performance from running back Dave Clark to run away with a 38 – 7 win at UPEI’s MacAdam Field.
The Tigers offence, unable to click for much of the season, struggled against a tough defence and could not score when it mattered most, dropping a number of catches in the end zone.
The fourth-seeded Tigers have been knocked out of the playoffs now, failing to make up for their poor 1 – 5 season. The Hurricanes booked a seat in the league championship to face the UNB Fredericton Red Bombers.
After the loss, Dalhousie Founders Club President Jim Wilson was clearly disappointed, but still pointed to the positives of this season.
“I hate to lose. It’s the second year of a brand new program and I think our team improved immensely over last year, but I think every team in the league also improved immensely.
“In the end, I wish we had done better, but the league is so competitive that it ends up being what it is,” said Wilson.
Holland College took little time opening the scoring as Clark broke free for a 37-yard touchdown on the first drive and then converted the extra point for a 7 – 0 lead.
The Hurricanes defence also impressed, shutting Dal down with a quick pass rush and strong downfield coverage, holding the Tigers scoreless in the first quarter.
Already pinned deep to start the second, the Tigers conceded two points and the Hurricanes opted to start on their own 35-yard line.
Waking up, the Tigers defence soon made their best play of the game, forcing a fumble to recover the ball deep in Hurricanes territory. Seizing the moment, Tigers running back Greg Pelly seized the moment, barreling to a 25-yard rush, but a holding penalty on Dal brought the play back. Unable to score, the Tigers turned over the ball on downs.
Dal’s defence again stood tall on the next drive, forcing the Hurricanes to punt and then blocking the ensuing kick. This time Pelly made no mistake, scoring a one-yard run to trail just 9 – 7.
Moments later Clark scored again, this time on a 12-yard rush, before quarterback Nick Hunsley added another for the Hurricanes, connecting with receiver Jeff Hillier on a 60-yard touchdown reception. The two scores allowed Holland College to coast into halftime with a 22 – 7 lead.
Early in the third quarter, the Hurricanes had a field goal attempt blocked but the Tigers were incapable of pushing out of their own end, conceding another two points to trail 24 – 7.
Adding to the Tigers woes, Demetrius Ferguson ran back a kickoff for the touchdown, giving UNB Fredericton a commanding 31 – 7 edge.
Clark later capped off the afternoon for the Hurricanes, adding an exclamation mark on the day with a 90-yard touchdown.
After an afternoon to forget, Wilson said his team will enter the off-season with a full agenda, knowing they must build upon their successes.
“Our absolute best moment this year was our homecoming game. We had a huge game, spectacular weather and our only victory of the year. Everyone was decked out in black and gold and showing pride for Dal. It was awesome to see.
“I think anytime we have a season like this, you need to look at the leadership with both the players, the coaching staff and even the executive off the field. We need to sit back and look at what went wrong and what went right. We obviously need to be more focused, more disciplined and, simply put, have more fire in the belly,” said Wilson.
“At the end of the day, Holland College had us beat before we even got there.”
The Holland College Hurricanes meet the UNB Fredericton Red Bombers in the championship Nov. 19. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. at UPEI’s MacAdam Field.