Turnovers were the name of the game during the fifth annual Tony Proudfoot Memorial game. The Red Bombers forced seven, including six interceptions en route to a 37-31 overtime victory over the Dalhousie Tigers.
With the win, the Bombers improve to 2-0 on the season.
The Bombers jumped out to an early 9-0 lead. The Tigers conceded a safety on their second drive of the game and Mitch McCoy returned the following punt 80 yards to the house.
On the next Bombers possession, quarterback Alex Dee conducted a 75 yard drive topped off with a 15 yard touchdown pass to Mitch McCoy, which bounced off two Tigers defenders before falling into his hands.
With the Bombers up 16-0 early, it had all the makings of a blow-out. However, a Tigers interception by Rob Wilson at the end of the first quarter turned the tables.
Both teams exchanged interceptions throughout the second quarter but only the black and gold squad was able to capitalize on them. The Tigers put up fourteen unanswered points, including a 15 yard touchdown pass from Nick Hunsley to Alex Bayne.
The Red Bombers found the endzone again midway through the third quarter. Dee hooked up with Josh Blanchard for an 11 yard score to extend their lead to 23-14.
Tigers QB Nick Hunsley struggled over the course of the game; he threw six interceptions and was benched at the end of the third quarter. Credit the Bombers defence; Angus Van Wagoner had three interceptions, Alex White had two and Travis Branscomb had the other.
“Our defence really kept us in the game. Angus Van Wagoner, a first year kid from St. Stephen had a huge game for us with three interceptions,” said Red Bombers head coach, Dan McCoullough.
The Tigers kicked a field goal with 12:42 left in the game to cut the score to 23-17.
The Bombers also made the most of their opportunities on special teams. With 8:00 minutes left in the game, Coel Storey pounced on a ball in the endzone that flew over the Tigers punter. The score put the Bombers up 30-17. The Bombers scored a rouge on the next drive to once again increase their lead to 31-17.
The game could have been put away in the second half, Mitch McCoy returned a fake punt 90 yards and took a kick return the distance but they were both called back on holding penalties.
Down 14 with just under two minutes to play, Tigers running back Zach Leger found the endzone closing the gap to 31-24.
Then, the Tigers recovered an onside kick to set up a dramatic finish. Zach Leger fumbled the ball on the first play of the drive and the Bombers recovered. Behind cheers of the sell-out crowd, the game looked to be in the bag.
Dalhousie’s Mackenzie Inglis returned a punt to the opposing 12 yard line and Zach Leger punched it in from 1 yard out on the last play of regulation to set up overtime.
The Bombers won the coin toss and opted to go on offence second. The Tigers turned the ball over on downs, giving the Red Bombers a chance to win. Four plays later, Dee found Blanchard wide open in the endzone for the second time.
Game over. Bombers win.
“It was closer than I would have liked. We had the control after the first quarter and we made it hard on ourselves. But its homecoming, we won, and it feels great,” coach McCoullough noted.
The Bombers are back in action next Saturday as they take on the Holland Hurricanes in Charlottetown.