It’s football once again as the 2023-24 season opening match against the Dalhousie Tigers was on the road. The Tigers are back-to-back champions, beating the Bombers in the championship game last year. UNB has a historic rivalry with Dalhousie and it was felt during the game as both teams were fired up to be back on the field. The bombers fought well, but came up short, losing 31-28.
During the first quarter, Dalhousie started off strong with a safety within the first couple of minutes followed by 21 unanswered points. Their passing was key to their early lead. The Bombers defence was adequate, but they really lacked on offence. The Bombers’quarterback Jonah Rawlines ran a fake, securing them 20 yards.
With a poor first, the Bombers were looking to make up for lost ground. Within minutes, Jace Taylor scored their touchdown. Cameron Hayward would put in work on the offence, running a total of 14 yards for his team in the second. Rawlines continued to successfully complete pass after pass to his teammates, while also scoring his own touchdown. Taylor later on would score his second touchdown via a 35-yard catch from Rawlines. The pair looked unstoppable by halftime.
UNB once again stepped up their game going into the third quarter. UNB started to recognize that their passing was more productive than running plays. Running the majority of their plays through Rawlines would prove to be effective for them. Rawlines would throw a 25-yard pass to Nick Parker and another 20-yard throw during the next play. Parker would also run 15 yards to start the quarter off. The Bombers’ defence also improved with an interception by Cole Schneider.
The team was starting to hit their strides, preventing Dalhousie from a touchdown on the endline. Dalhousie would score their first touchdown since the first and continued to shake up the Red Bombers defensive line.
With the final quarter underway, Dalhousie looks to secure their lead while UNB hopes to supersede them. Rawlines completes a nine-yard run followed by a ten-yard pass to Justin Remillard. The Tigers would exploit the Bombers when a loose ball happens halfway through the quarter. The Bombers would take a 27-yard loss on the goal line with two and a half minutes left. Upon scoring a field goal, Dalhousie would take a double knee, forcing the clock to run out with 30 seconds left.
As the season carries on, both UNB and Dalhousie will get back into their groove and continue to improve, hoping to achieve the championship trophy. UNB takes on the Holland College Hurricanes on Saturday, September 23rd at 7.