Rick Rivers’ Report: Home Field for Playoffs, Tigers 23 - Hurricanes 12

They are football cliches, “offence wins games” but “defence wins championships”. Head coach Haggett must have been happy with his “D” as they came to play showing great intensity as they swarmed and hammered a Holland “O” which had a very balanced run and pass game in a narrow OT loss to the Tigers last week at Wickwire.

Seven days later DC Kelly’s defence was a charged force unit, with a front seven dominating, to make Holland’s offence look inept, allowing them only two first downs in the first half. Dal’s defensive backs embarrassed numerous times the week before, came up with a pick six from Gordon Brown, and an INT from Giovanni Holmes and knock downs in each quarter. The hit squad was led by Jennings-Lindsay(9), Leger (7), Holmes (6), Holland (5) and Legault (4).

Last year’s offensive player of the year was Mr. Versatility in the Tigers’ 23-12 victory. Zack Leger said, “I am not a punt returner” but as an onsider during Dal punts, he sacrificed his body, diving to recover two punts, caused a fumble, brought down runners from behind and did have a fine return on a Hurricane missed FG.

In the first three minutes of the game, Dal went down 5-0, giving up a safety and a FG. Malcolm Gascoigne’s miss on a short FG, gave the Tigers their first point. A cool Chis Duplisea (3/9 for 39 yards in the first half), hit Gascoigne for a 14 yard major after having his four yard TD run called back for holding. Gascoigne’s convert put Dal up 8-5. Brown’s pick six and a PAT put the Tigers up for good with a 15-5 halftime score. But it was the offensive line and the running of workhorse Zach Kuhn (12 for 102 yards) that kept the black and gold in control and the Hurricanes off the field.

On this cold and cloudy typical football day both defences were more than respectable. Duplisea’s passing warmed up a bit in the second half as he completed some mid-range passes and setup his QB sneak major with three minutes left in the third Q on a 14 yarder to Gascoigne, making the score 21-5. This reporter questioned why the Tigers did not go for a short FG midway through the fourth Q to go up 19 points, when they gave up the ball on downs. But a defensive safety seconds later put the black and gold up 18 with 7:44 left in the game.

Hurricane replacement QB, Michael Petroschke, hit Micah Roberts on the last play of the game to break their TD drought. PAT was good and the final score was 23-12. Holland will now play back to back games with the Red Bombers to see who gets to host in the semi-finals. Dalhousie has assured themselves to be at Wickwire for the playoffs.

Tiger fans are like the Green Bay Packer fans of the AFL. They travel well. The streaming casters from Holland, twice mentioned the big numbers and the noise the black and gold fans made during the game. With four potential games left in the season, only the last regular season game will be on the road in Saint John. With the majority of Tigers coming via the great recruiting of coaches Brown and Haggett, is their any wonder we have tremendous fan support. The thirteenth man/fan is important! Jim Wilson get us a flag to raise.