Rick Rivers Report
On a cool, cloudy and very windy day, the Dalhousie Tigers opened their Atlantic Football League defence with a 31-14 victory over the UNB Saint John Seawolves at the Canada Games Stadium. A hurricane Dorian like wind and dozens of orangish-red penalty flags were in evidence from the start to the finish. Some third down punts barely made the line of scrimmage.
Tigers’ veteran QB, Chris Duplisea and his veteran receiving corps were the difference. Duplisea threw darts in the stormy conditions and finished the game, 25/35 for 321 yards with two TD passes, one pick and a commendable 71% completion rate. Alistair Chauhan (8/109) led the receivers, while Jack Underhill (5/96-1TD), Guilluame Bernier (4/50-1TD) and Spencer Muise (5/30) rounded out the sure handed veterans in less than ideal conditions. Now creative OC, Evan Brown, can work on the run game.
The game scoring started with a punt single by the Seawolves but Dal responded with a fifty-five yard march culminating in a one yard TD run by Jack Campbell. Julian Jenkins PAT and a safety touch by the Tigers saw them up 9-1 at quarter time.
In the second Q, unnecessary penalties reversed offensive gains for the Cats who eventually scored on a 29 yard touchdown pass from Duplisea to Bernier. A monster wind aided a kickoff point by Okyay Kepenek brought the score to 17-1. Seawolves QB, Jared Laming completed two longish passes against the gale to set up Riley Ring-Dineen’s two-yard TD run to end the half at 17-7 Dalhousie.
Dalhousie head coach, Mark Haggett although frustrated by his team’s first half performance chose not to rant but settle his boys by having them go into a deep breathing exercise. It produced results on their second possession as Duplisea completed eight passes on a drive resulting in a major pass of 20 yards to Underhill, completing a 102 yard march. Convert was good and Tigers were up 24-7 at the end of the third quarter.
Midway into the final Q, Laming combined with Ring-Dineen on a 30 yard aerial TD to close the score to 24-14. Dalhousie’s run game which was non-existent for most of the game came to life in the last few minutes as Jason Watts carried four consecutive times ending on a one yard score. But Saint John was not finished as they ended up first and goal on the Dalhousie three. DC David Kelly’s players were stellar in terminating the foes drive with a goal line stand.
The defence, led by rookies Alvin Shimoli (2T/2INT), Liam Charisi (8T/1INT), Romarie Johnson (3T/1pick), and veterans Eric Purcell (7T) and Nate Whidden (7T) make a more than sound base to build on.
The Tigers will be on the road next week to face the UNB Red Bombers in the first game of the two game total point series for the Alumni Cup.