Sunday, September 30, 2018. Charlottetown, PEI - Anyone hoping for some wild and exciting football action were not disappointed at Wickwire field at Dalhousie University Saturday afternoon.
The Tigers and Hurricanes battled to the end of regulation and two overtime shootout periods to decide the winner.
When the dust settled, the Hurricanes fell short twice at the 1 yard line of the Tigers, missing an opportunity to beat their arch rivals by a single point
The ‘Canes offence had a slow start to the day with a scoreless first quarter.Adding to the slow start was the loss of veteran receiver Tyler Majuary to a leg injury.
The Tigers led 10 to 0 at the end of the first quarter, and the loss of their star receiver was a huge hit to the team’s morale. The ‘Canes threw on a fake punt to Denzel Gendron-Muscadin , who caught a pass from punter Kaye-Mitchel for a first down at the end of the first quarter to give a surprised Dal defense something to think about at the start of the second quarter.
A rejuvenated Hurricanes offence led by quarterback Brady Crowe took advantage of the special teams play and moved the ball with runs by RB De Montegao and short passes to Shambe and Boniface. In the end, Crowe rushed for a touchdown and Cruikshank added the extra point, making the game 10-7 early in the 2nd quarter
Dal took over the ball and was picked off by DB Denzel Gendron-Muscadin, who ran the ball back for yardage. Crowe’s offence went to work and moved the ball within field goal range, and kicker Cruickshank hit a 25-yard field goal tying the game 10-10 at the half.
In the third quarter both teams defences played strong, minimizing any offensive opportunities; but early in the fourth quarter, Crowe, who had been finding receiver Allister Nicholson for some big yardage receptions, hit Nicholson with a 35-yard pass in the corner of Dalhousie’s end zone, with Cruickshank adding a single to make the score 17-10 ‘Canes.
Costly penalties for the third week in a row caused the Hurricanes to lose much needed yards and momentum, even though, from the end of the first quarter to midway in the fourth, the Canes could smell victory. However, the Tigers moved the ball down the field on three ‘Canes penalties in a row, moving the ball up by 40 yards.
The Tigers were able to punch the ball into the end making it a 17-17 game late in the fourth. The Hurricanes came back up the field and once again the offence took penalties. The ‘Canes chose to punt the ball off the foot of Matthew-Uriah Kaye-Mitchell, with Mitchell making the tackle on Dal receiver in the end zone, adding a rouge to their score. Again the Tigers took over and came back down the field, adding a point off a wide field goal attempt, tying the game and forcing it into overtime.
The Hurricanes took the ball first at the Tigers’ 35-yard line but could not punch it in, and then the Tigers did the same. Both teams were relentless all day. Dalhousie took over the ball for the second overtime period, and three costly offsides by the Hurricanes allowed the Dal offense to move the ball to the one-yard line, punch it in for the major and added a controversial extra point, and bringing the score to 25 to 18. The Hurricanes came back, with Crowe throwing a TD pass to rookie receiver Jarrett Walker making the score 25 to 24.
The Hurricanes went for the 2-point conversion to seal the win, which is the rule for both teams to do in the second overtime period after a major.With the ball on the 1-yard line the Hurricanes offense got a penalty and were moved back. On the following play, Dal's defense took a penalty, on the third down on the Tigers 1-yard line, Crowe could not get the ball over the end zone line against a roaring Tiger defense.
The game had everything: tension, big plays by both offence and defense, and frequent lead changes, showing the resilience and determination of both teams.But in the end, the Hurricanes’ penalties throughout the day and late in the fourth quarter cost them the game.
Hurricanes head coach Ross Young said the team needs to learn from its mistakes.
“After week three, our team cannot and should not be taking the penalties we did. That cost us the game. It was a dandy game with both teams battling to the end and will make for an exciting matchup next week,” he said. “We will be working on some adjustments and definitely will be a fitter team this week as we deal with the penalty issue.”
Allister Nicholson had an amazing day, going 7 for 7 in receptions with 160 yards and a TD with 40 yards called back. Defensive tackle Bradley Lawton, along with his D-line and DBs Donovan Small and Denzel Gendron-Muscadin had huge days. Rookie punter Kaye-Mitchell had a great day on punting and receiving. Expect veterans Adam Shambe and Jacob Hample to step up this week to replace the injured Tyler Majuary
The Hurricanes will face the Tigers at home next Sunday, October 7 at 1 p.m. on MacAdam Field at UPEI Canada Games Alumni Place for a game that promises to be a real Thanksgiving treat for fans.