Coach Haggett has said it all year long, “we are young”, “lacking experience” but “continually growing”. The third comment to a degree stalled on Saturday as the Tigers looked listless for most of the 60 minutes in a 28-15 loss to the Holland College Hurricanes. Earlier in the season, Dal had humiliated HC by defeating them by 24 points at Wickwire.
It was cool cloudy and windy as the black and gold stepped onto the firm natural grass of the UPEI field. A victory in the final regular-season game would ensure second place for the Tigers but a loss by twenty-five would see Dalhousie return to the island for an AFL semi-final the following Saturday. With 7:40 remaining in the fourth Q, the Tigers were down 20, 28-8 Holland.
The Dal offence led by ’18 league QB, Chris Duplisea, put their only march of the day together. Duplisea only 11/29/124 yards and two interceptions (8/57 rushing) became part of a dynamic running duo with Jason Watts (18/83 – 2 yard TD). The O line deserves a lot of credit in the six-minute march for the major which Julian Jenkins converted. With less than two minutes now remaining in the 4th Q, the team must have felt a sigh of relief knowing down 15-28 that a home semi-final was a near certainty.
The first quarter had seen Holland College take a 9-0 lead on a QB sneak by Teshaun Tran and a field goal and PAT by Mathew Mitchell. Early in the second Q, Marco Gutierrez scored on a six-yard run with Mitchell converting. Hurricanes 16 – Tigers 0. Nate Whidden got a defensive six on a fumble recovery in the end zone which Dal converted on a pass from Duplisea to Alistair Chauhan (4/51). The score became 18-8 Hurricanes at the half when the Tigers gave up a safety.
Second-half scoring saw Gutierrez with another 6 yard TD run and Mitchell collecting the convert and a single off of a wide FG. Dalhousie gave up their second safety of the game, now putting HC up 20, 28-8.
Gutierrez, from Mexico, is one half of the HC Mexican tandem of running backs, the other being Rodrigo Montes de Oca. The Hurricanes ground offence dominated first downs from these two. The Tigers leading tacklers against the maroon and white were; Liam Chisari (9), James Young (8), Jesse Legault (7) and Bradley Burgess, Eric Purcell and Whidden, all with five hits.
On Saturday, October 26th at Dal’s Wickwire Field, these two teams will meet for the third time to determine who goes to the AFL championship. That game will probably be in Fredericton versus the Red Bombers who ended the regular season 6-0.
Just a reminder that the Tigers are defending AFL champs who scored 87 points against UNBF but gave up 93 against the Red Bombers in the two fabulously entertaining league games. But the black and gold must focus on defeating the Hurricanes who controlled over three quarters of the game on Saturday, or their season will end this Saturday!
See you at Wickwire! GO TIGERS!