THE RICK RIVERS’ REPORT
2021 VOL. 3
October 5, 2021
Alumni Cup, Game One
Famous rocker Meatloaf sang, “two out of three ain’t bad”. I am very sure that head coach Haggett and defensive coordinator, Dave Kelly, do not agree with that statement. The Tigers hadn’t allowed a point in their first two wins. Not a point and very little opponent yardage! That all changed in Fredericton on the weekend against the Red Bombers, as they rallied in the second half to a 35-24 victory, after being down 17-14 at the break.
The game was a tale of two halves. In the first half, Dylan Waugh with the help from the offensive line, kept his seasonal running and scoring pace (8/61 yards and two TDs), while QB Chris Duplisea went 9/14 and 137 yards with Noah Glover (4) and Aiden Keefe (3) leading the receiving corps. In what was to be a competitive game for first place, Okyay Kepenek kicked a 34-yard FG to give the Tigers the lead. Bombers’ QB, Hunter Sturgeon, had two short TD runs in the first half and became the dominant player of the game.
Waugh had a third quarter major and continued to run well, but Duplisea had one of his worst halves since beginning his tenure as the black and gold pivot. He went 5/14 for 60 yards and one INT. Waugh continued to be reliable with 8 carries for 61 yards. But the near perfect Dalhousie defence would implode. Too many missed tackles, especially of the elusive Sturgeon, started the decline. Nate Whidden led all Tiger tacklers with eight, while Liam Chisari had 7 and Josh Byron and Aidan Lesgkowait had 6 each. But nearly every Dal tackler forgot to stick and wrap at least once in the game, especially in the late third and fourth Q.
But the game breakers were the Tiger penalties! UR’s (unnecessary roughness) calls mounted to six in the second half, resulting in continued drives for UNBF TDs. Dal’s usually positive sideline turned into disarray which added to the lack of team poise. Of course, boisterous Tiger fans, and there were a lot, complained of homerism by the referees, with some justification. But the demeanour of the team was more responsible for the loss. Being behind in the most important game of the season might have been a cause in the change of attitude from positive to negative.
I am sure coaches Haggett, Kelly and Ben Rossong along with the assistants will turn the observed negative energy into positive energy for the upcoming Holland College season opener this Saturday at 1:00pm at Wickwire Field.
This game was lost in the fourth Q and in two weeks time a more disciplined team will look for revenge versus the Red Bombers. This second game of a two-point total series is for the Alumni Cup and most likely first place in the AFL standings. With first place your team is home for the playoffs and that is most important! The Tigers will need to overcome the eleven-point deficit and that has been done in the past.
So, PRIDE and home field advantage will be on the line starting Saturday. No four plus hour road trip this weekend. Wear your black and gold and bring your positive cheers to start a home field winning streak. This streak could end with the presentation of the championship trophy on Wickwire Field in November.
COVID-19 PROTOCOL: Fans must provide proof of full vaccination and photo ID for entrance into Wickwire Field. Masks must be worn inside buildings but are not mandatory outside.