RICK RIVERS REPORT – Vol 2. Sept. 17, 2022
I have been involved with the new era of the Dal Tigers since the team’s inception in 2010. In that time I have not missed a game and Saturday’s 29 to 25 victory over the UNBF Reds has to be in the top 3 games I’ve seen, and that includes championships we won. This raucous rivalry with UNBF didn’t disappoint.
For Jim Wilson and myself, the team founders, it was very reminiscent of the first AFL game at Wickwire Field in 2010, with great fan numbers and participation – and no rowdiness. Wilson estimated over 2500 in and outside of the fence viewing the game. And then there were others watching the much improved live stream of the game. “FUN and FOOTBALL” has been Wilson’s mantra since day 1, and it sure took place with this game.
Hats off to the “O” line for a fine overall performance as they opened holes for rookie running backs Javier Reyes Landry and Mitchell Page. What a great duo! QB Noah Glover was able to stand tall in the pocket and play well delivering a variety of balls to sure-handed receivers Aidan Keefe and Matt Lawton. OC, Andre Goguen also deserves praise for the balanced attack shown by the B and G.
The Tigers scored the first major on a toss from Glover to Keefe. Okyay Kepenek’s PAT was blocked and the Reds kicked a FG to make the score at the end of the first Q 10 to 3. The Tigers responded with a TD by Reyes Landry and Glover on the ground scored 6 points. Kepenek made both converts, Dal 20 and UNBF 3.
After an excellent first half led by defensive lineman Yassine Yassine, Mike MacKenzie, James Young and LB, Liam Chisari and DB, Logan Hillier, the D seem to implode. The Reds changed their strategy and ran more. The B and G lacked wrap-up and pop, which head coach Kelly says they will work on this week. The Dal poor tackling allowed the Reds to get extra yards and resulted in getting 1st downs. Hunter Sturgeon, a former all-star QB and league MVP, in the second half scored 3 touchdowns for the Reds with his excellent running, allowing his team to almost have a victory.
Meanwhile, the O dropped a notch as well, only scoring 7 points in the 2nd half, down from 20 in the first. Overall, in the post-game, Kelly talked about “cleaning up mistakes, silly penalties that cost, and then moving on. Some clutch catches were made by Dal receivers after Reyes Landry scored on a one-yard run. The catches took time off the clock and allowed Dal to end the game.
The Tigers travel to Holland College in PEI next weekend. Why don’t you join us for another good time? The next time the Dal Tigers play the Reds, the Alumni Cup (instituted by UNBF for the 2 old Bluenose-AUS teams) will be up for grabs. Right now Dal has a 4-point lead in the 2-game total point series. Of late, the winner usually hosts the AFL title. Could this be another “Year of the Tiger?”