True to their name, the Holland College Hurricanes blew through the University of New Brunswick’s defence on Saturday afternoon, defeating the Red Bombers by a score of 50-24 in front of a small but dedicated crowd at BMO Centre.
The Red Bombers started off the game strong in the first quarter, and were first on the board with a field goal in the eighth minute of play.
Unfortunately for the Bombers, the early lead did not last long with the Hurricanes striking back less than two minutes later thanks to a touchdown from standout Jaylen McRae. They also ran in the ball for a conversion worth two points.
The quarter ended with a score of 15-3 for Holland College following a touchdown by Quentin Mitchell, which was successfully converted.
Nevertheless, the Red Bombers came out ready to play in the second quarter, with big plays early on from both Cody Stewart and Zac Chambers.
Mitch McCoy scored UNB’s first touchdown four minutes in, which was converted by Zac Cann.
The excitement didn’t last long, however, as the Hurricanes capitalized almost immediately on UNB’s sloppy defensive play. Jeff Hillier, who was left unguarded in the end zone, brought the score to 22-10 for Holland College.
The Hurricanes gained momentum with an interception by Steve Knapton, which led to another touchdown at the five minute mark of the second quarter.
Red Bomber Cody Stewart scored the final touchdown of the half with 14 seconds remaining, narrowing the Hurricanes’ lead to 12.
The third quarter was rocky for both teams, with plenty of missed opportunities and fumbled passes. The sole scoring of the third came from Holland College’s Eugene McMinns to bring the lead up to 36-17.
Entering the fourth quarter down by 19, McCoy had the play of the game with some fancy footwork that earned the Red Bombers an early touchdown.
The highlight reel play gave the home team new life, with Reece Clowater landing a huge tackle and Cody Stewart coming up with a diving catch to put the Red Bombers deep in enemy territory. UNB couldn’t capitalize though, and a series of sloppy plays led to a touchdown for Hurricanes player Layton Aitken. This brought the score to 42-24 Holland College.
Although McCoy and Stewart both looked to have promising chances late in the game, the Hurricanes earned the final points of the afternoon, with an end-to-end rush from McMinns. That made the final score 50-24 for the Hurricanes.
The loss dropped UNB’s record to 1-3 this Atlantic Football League season.
McCoy believed Saturday’s game was a disappointing setback following the team’s exciting homecoming win against UNBSJ the previous weekend.
“On one hand, our offence really succeeded in driving the ball this game,” said McCoy. “We gave our quarterback Brendan Cornford time and space to make plays, and even when we couldn’t he still scrambled well and found targets on the field.”
The team’s main issues were primarily on the defensive end, with too many missed tackles and opponents left unmanned.
“When it comes down to it, we just can’t give up 50 points in a game. 24 points wasn’t too bad on the offensive end, but we lost the game on the defensive side.”
The two teams had faced each other once already this season, with the Hurricanes taking a 37-20 win at home on Sept. 21.
“Our offence has definitely improved since that game, but our defence suffered today and our special teams didn’t play to our full potential,” stated McCoy.
The Bombers will return to the BMO Centre on Saturday with a 1 p.m. matchup against Dalhousie University. The teams previously met in their season opener, with the Tigers edging the Reds Bombers 31-25 in a close game.