Saturday’s homecoming football game lived up to the hype.
Down 21-0 midway through the second quarter, the UNB Red Bombers climbed back and defeated the rival UNBSJ Seawolves 35-27 in front of a big crowd at BMO Centre.
“The guys started to execute the plays in the second half,” said Red Bombers co-head coach and offensive coordinator Jeff Taylor. “They settled down and made the plays that they had to make.”
The Seawolves opened the scoring on an Andrew Healey touchdown just a few minutes into the game. Brett Robart then scored touchdowns late in the first quarter and 6:50 into the second. Just like that it was 21-0 for the visitors.
“They were a little amped up in the first half and tried to force things and rush things too much,” said Taylor about his team’s struggles in the early goings.
UNB couldn’t get much of anything going offensively in the first half and the start of the second. But things eventually started to turn around as the team got on the board with one second remaining in the half thanks to a Derek Broad touchdown.
“They came around in the first half,” said Taylor. “Plays were there and we tried to hit them but we just had mental errors. In the second half those mental errors went away and we actually made our plays and put points on the board.”
A Mitch McCoy touchdown at 5:32 of the third cut into the Seawolves lead some more. The Red Bombers added the extra point and were down 21-14 after three.
Broad scored his second touchdown of the afternoon with 4:34 left in the fourth and the Bombers added the extra point to tie things at 21-21. Less than three minutes later, McCoy sprung free of the Seawolves’ defence and made a long sprint down the sideline to the end zone for a touchdown to give UNB their first lead of the ball game.
“Mitch McCoy is a big player,” said Taylor. “He makes big plays all the time and he’s a go-to guy.”
Brendan Cornford added a late touchdown for UNB while Robart scored one for UNBSJ. The game ended with a 35-27 score in favour of the Red Bombers.
The Red Bombers improved to 1-2 on the year with the victory while the Seawolves fell to 0-3. Taylor compared this game to the Red Bombers’ previous two matches, a 35-21 loss at Dalhousie and a 37-20 loss at Holland College. Unlike those matches though, UNB was able to turn things around and pull out a win.
“In this game we had the execution,” added Tyler.
Up next for the Red Bombers is a 1 p.m. home contest against Holland College this Saturday.
“We played them last weekend so we know what they’re doing and we know what we have to do,” said Taylor. “We were right there with them [the previous] weekend but we just couldn’t punch the ball into the end zone.
“I think we’ll turn that around this week.”
Before Saturday’s game, Red Bomber Nicholas Richardson received the Tony Proudfoot Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship goes to a Bombers player who is excelling in UNB’s kinesiology faculty.
Meanwhile, several members of the Red Bombers from the 1970s were honoured before the game as All-Canadians. The list includes Rick Kaupp, Earl Johnson, Proudfoot, Dick Flynn, John Danaher, Phil Battaglia, and Stewart Fraser.