The UNB Red Bombers concluded the 2015 regular season with a win. The Bombers defeated the UNBSJ Seawolves 21-20, Saturday at BMO Centre. A late interception by Travis Branscombe sealed the victory for the Bombers, despite allowing the Seawolves to score 20 straight unanswered points.
The Red Bombers busted out of the gate early despite being without three offensive starters: Alex Dee (concussion), Mitch McCoy (shoulder) and Josh Blanchard (shoulder).
Jesse Hazzel scored on the first offensive play of the game on a draw play. The running game continued to fire on all cylinders as Turner Sturgeon scored on back to back 1-yard run’s for his third and fourth touchdowns of the season.
All signs were pointing at a Bombers blowout, as they were up 21-0 at the end of the first quarter.
The winless Seawolves were hungry for their first win of the season but committed three unnecessary roughing penalties as a result of their intensity. That might of however, lit a spark in their game. Seawolves quarterback Sean Gailbarth found Trevor Harrison in the endzone midway through the second quarter to cut the Bombers lead to 21-7.
Freshman QB Pat Mollins started his second consecutive game for the Bombers, replacing Alex Dee. He found success on passes to Zac Chambers and Luke MacLeod but struggled to find a rhythm, turning the ball over four times.
The Seawolves created seven turnovers overall, and converted a Turner Sturgeon fumble into six points, when Alex Peabody rumbled into the endzone from 4 yards out to cut the Bombers lead to 21-17.
The momentum was in full swing towards UNBSJ when Harrison kicked a 30 yard field goal to make it 21-20 with six minutes remaining in the contest.
Luckily for the Bombers, big plays were made by defensive backs Coel Storey and Travis Branscombe, who both recorded two interceptions, including the game sealer by the freshman Branscombe. This marked the second time this season that the Bombers forced at least four interceptions in a game.
With the win, the Bombers finish the season at 3-3, setting up a semi-final date with the Dalhousie Tigers in Halifax on Halloween.
“We need to prepare ourselves mentally. There’s a lot of adversity in playoff football with injuries as well as being on the road” said head coach Dan McCullough.
The Bombers are looking to make it to their first AFL Championship final since 2012, when they last won the Moosehead Cup.
The other semi-final will include the winless UNBSJ Seawolves on the road against the two defending champs, Holland Hurricanes.