(FREDERICTON, NB) Behind a stalwart defensive effort, the UNB REDS were able to pull out a 12-9 victory over the Holland College Hurricanes in Atlantic Football League action, on Saturday night, at UNB’s BMO Centre.
The REDS, without starting quarterback Hunter Sturgeon, turned to back-up Noah Dominie, who got his first start as a RED.
UNB would not allow a single point on defence and were constantly pressuring the Hurricanes quarterback and making big tackles.
“It was a tight one,” said REDS head coach Vince Sturgeon. “I thought our defence played tremendous. Offensively we struggled a bit with our backup quarterback in, but I thought we made some plays when we had to, and we got out of there with a W, which is what we wanted to do.”
UNB got the scoring started in the first quarter as Ryan Lee kicked home a field goal to put the REDS up 3-0.
Later, stuck on their own goal line, the REDS were forced to concede a safety making the game 3-2 UNB.
The game was a defensive battle after that, as both teams held each other in check until the fourth quarter.
At the 11:59 mark of the fourth, with the Hurricanes backed up to their own end zone, REDS linebacker Ethan Ray rushed up the middle and found a hole, allowing him to pressure the quarterback and force a safety increasing UNB’s lead to 5-2.
“I just saw the fumbled snap and gunned it down the field,” said Ray. “I was not letting up.”
Late in the fourth, the REDS offence was finally able to break through after a 20-yard rush from Lee set up a Noah Dominie rushing TD, giving UNB a 12-2 lead with less than a minute to play.
On the ensuing kickoff, Hurricanes returner Daniel Nkonkomalimba took the kick all the way back for a Holland College touchdown, making it a 12-9 game 42 seconds to play.
UNB recovered an onside kick, but was unable to get a first down, giving the ball back to the Hurricanes for one last chance.
On the final drive of the game, UNB’s defense came up big, forcing a fumble to take over the ball and allowing the REDS to run out the game and secure the win.
“We’ll want to improve how we manage the game in the last minute or so,” said Sturgeon. “In the end though we made that one play to help us get out of there with the W and that’s what matters.”
UNB moves to 2-and-1 and will travel to Saint John next weekend to face the UNB Saint John Seawolves, Saturday, Oct. 8 at 2:00pm.