On a weather perfect autumn afternoon the Dalhousie Tigers held off the UNBF Red Bombers, 24-15, to win a berth in the AFL championship game. Again the defences were the focus of the first three quarters but the excitement of the fourth quarter had everyone saying “what a game”. Alex White opened the scoring for UNBF with a single off of a missed field goal for the only score in quarter one. In the second, a MacKenzie Inglis interception lead to a 21 yard FG by Rob Wilson. Later that quarter, a Kenzie MacNeil INT snuffed a Red Bombers’ drive that had started with a blocked Tigers’ punt. The first half score witnessed the Black and Gold up 10-1, as Alex Bayne scored on a five yard run and Wilson converted.
Dalhousie’s D came up big in the third quarter after a Tiger fumble gave the Red Bombers first and TD from the three. Three Red Bomber tries and a goal line stand for the ages. Turner Sturgeon had been thwarted but on UNBF’s next possession Sturgeon would score from 30 yards out. White converted and the Bombers were within two, 10-8.
The excitement was just beginning and QB Nick Nunsley who had made some earlier first downs on runs, combined with TE Louis Gauvin toward the back corner of the end zone for the aerial major. Wilson’s PAT had the Tigers up 17-8. Versatile Josh Blanchard had the Dal fans gasping on two punt returns. The first was halted from going the distance as Will Brien sprinted to stop #17. The second saw him fly 80 yards to bring the score to 17-15 late in 4th after White’s conversion.
But the drama was not over. The Tigers would give up the ball and Bombers’ QB Mollins began a march deep in their own end. A great jump on a sideline throw with 1:20 remaining, saw Graham Felix sprint 50 yards for the pick six and some Dal breathing room. Wilson made another PAT and D looked good for the win. But the Tigers were assured of victory as Inglis made his second pick deep on the sideline in front of a rapturous Dal squad.
Congrats to coach Wetmore and his crew for a game well played and a good chance at bringing the title to Dalhousie as the travel to Charlottetown to take on the defending champs.