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Tigers off to encouraging start in pursuit of their third straight AFL championship

Football team comes out victorious after a hard fought battle with UNB

The Dalhousie University men’s football team started off their 2023 season hot with a 31-28 victory over their longstanding rivals the University of New Brunswick Reds on Saturday, Sept. 9. 

The Tigers concluded an impressive season last year by winning the Atlantic Football League’s (AFL) Moosehead Cup for the second straight year. The team had a record of five wins and one loss (5-1). 

Led by Noah Glover, Dal’s returning quarterback, the Tigers faced off against the very team they battled in the Atlantic Football Championship the previous season, providing an immediate test to the teams spot as top dog in the league. 

A hard day at the office for the Tigers

Dal’s student body gave their back-to-back Moosehead Cup champions a warm welcome back with a roaring crowd at Wickwire Field. 

Matching the crowd’s energy, the Tigers took an early lead, earning a safety followed by two quick touchdowns, ending the first quarter leading the Reds 23-7. 

It was no easy win for the Tigers though. The Reds defence stiffened in the second half and their offence came alive, cutting into the Tigers’ lead. The teams went back and forth the rest of the game, the Tigers making both memorable offensive and defensive plays. 

Through grit and determination, the Tigers managed to hold off the Reds’ comeback, cementing their victory with an outstanding defensive stop. 

“We were pretty relieved to get out of there with the win,” said Glover. “We obviously got off to a pretty hot start but had some trouble keeping our foot on the gas, which definitely showed in the second half.” 

Looking forward to the future 

The Tigers have room for improvement but they showed noticeable resiliency when the game got tough, showing good reason to be optimistic for this season’s Tigers. 

“Going forward, I couldn’t be more optimistic about winning my third championship in three years,” said Glover. “As an offensive group, we returned a solid amount of guys that all worked really hard this off-season in order to improve on the foundations we laid last year.” 

Despite being excited about the team’s returning core, Glover was equally enthusiastic about the incoming rookie class.

“More than anything, I was impressed by the play of some of our rookies,” he said. “Caden Quong at running back, Ethan Lord at slot receiver and Obi Odimma and Garret Mofford on the offensive line.” 

The culture built by Dave Kelly, the team’s veteran head coach, and his staff appears to be quite contagious, developing an enthusiastic squad that has a hunger for excellence. 

This should be a deadly combination and help a team that seems more than capable of making a return to the championship for their third straight season succeed. 

Glover stresses that it is important for the team to remain focused and keep their head down in order to achieve their goals. 

“I believe this season will be by far the toughest that we’ve had while I’ve been here,” he said. “It’s tough to beat any team three times in a row, especially one you’re so familiar with [them], like we are with both Holland and UNB Fredericton. We will have to be very sharp in every facet of our game if we want to get back to the top this year.”

This exciting Tigers team has some solid momentum, and hopes to be one step closer to the 3-peat with every game this season.

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