The Dalhousie Football Club has played their final match at Wickwire Field this season. And maybe that’s a good thing.
Home-field advantage has been conspicuously absent for the Tigers this fall. That misfortune remained correct Oct. 13 when the Tigers suffered their third and final defeat at home this season, a 23-8 collapse to the UNB Saint John Seawolves.
Dal ends this year’s campaign at home having tallied only 22 points as opposed to 59 for the opposition.
Despite a poor showing in front of their fans, Dal has proven their credentials on the road, beating UNB Saint John and narrowly falling to Holland College.
With a final regular season game and the playoffs still to come on opposing fields, Tigers head coach Stuart MacLean knows that although his troops have time to their season around, they must do so quickly.
“If we play like we did today, we’re not going all the way,” says MacLean.
In the first quarter the Tigers seemed poised to reverse their misfortune at home, contributing on the scoreboard early thanks to Tristan Jennings running in a two-yard touchdown. Sean Wedge replied in the second quarter with a brilliant play-action that fooled Dal’s defence to tie the score at seven. Charlie Harroun added a touchdown not long after to give the Seawolves a 14-7 edge.
Past halftime, the Tigers offensive game was a melody of squandered opportunities. Lacking the hunger they should have in the fourth quarter of a one-possession game, Dal saw an intercepted pass fall right through their grasp and one of their passes easily picked off.
In total, the Tigers collected only 77 passing yards and 51 yards on the ground rushing—a statistic that Dal running back Greg Pelly is not fond of.
“We came out in the first drive and I felt we had a sense of urgency to go up and really move the ball, but I thought we definitely lost that,” says Pelly.
Dal’s performance wasn’t helped by a depleted roster. Only about 35 players were dressed, with key cogs like starting quarterback Brendan Festeryga (broken thumb), tailback Ting-Li Hseih (concussion) and offensive linesman James Logan (concussion) sidelined.
If there was disappointment on the Tigers, there was a sigh of relief from quarterback Trevor Harrison and the Seawolves. The 23-8 triumph was UNB Saint John’s first victory of the season, tying them with Dal’s 1-4 record.
“We’ve been working hard all season,” he says. “It hasn’t showed up in the first four games, but finally.”
The Tigers collaborated with the Think Pink student group to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research at last Saturday’s game. Dal’s athletes wore pink socks in recognition.