It was a tight, toughly fought, scoring game in the first half; but ultimately, the Hurricanes lost their momentum. There were a couple of crucial turnovers and late in the fourth quarter, the Hurricanes just couldn’t stop the running game.
Although the outcome wasn’t exactly what the coaching staff and team would like, head coach Ross Young says he saw a lot of positive things in the way his team played.
“Cole Brydges and each and every one of our receivers made some big catches,’’ Young said. “The team had some big runs from Andre Goulbourne. They were sure-handed on their punt returns with Andray Brady and Brydges back there. Our offensive line was holding and containing well. They had some nice defensive plays with some sacks, nice tackles and a nice interception by Duncan Hill late in the game. They just have to find a way to get that extra man out there to make the off-tackle play. We just have to pick it up, fix their mistakes and move on.”
In the first quarter, the game started with tough defence and special teams play by both squads. The Hurricanes started to get into penalty trouble early and the Red Bombers responded with some long passing plays. But, with less than 10 minutes left, the score was 0-0. About a minute and a half later, the Red Bombers went up 7-0. With a little over three minutes left in the quarter, the Hurricanes answered with a three-yard touchdown run by Goulbourne. On the Hurricanes next possession, they had an explosive 55-yard TD catch and run by Brydges, putting them up 14-7 with 1:30 left; but the Red Bombers got another touchdown, tying the score 14-14 by the end of the quarter.
The second quarter started with a nice return by Brydges and a twisting and turning 12-yard run by Goulbourne. On a Hurricane 1st and 20, Andray Brady made a 26-yard catch. On a 3rd and 10, the Hurricanes went for it, but the pass was incomplete and with 9:03 left, it was 14-14. The Red Bombers later made a field goal and went up 17-14. With less than three minutes left, the Hurricanes faked a punt and got a first down with time ticking down in the half but were unsuccessful in moving the ball after another 3rd and long. The Red Bombers moved the ball down the field, but an interception on the one-yard line by Duncan Hill stopped the drive. The score was 17-14 UNB at the half.
In the third quarter, Goulbourne had another strong 13-yard run up the middle of the field and a 26-yard catch by Brydges. The Red Bomber’s defence started putting on pressure by sacking QB, Brady Crowe twice, causing a fumble that was recovered by the Hurricanes. On a Red Bombers’ possession, their punt was blocked by an outstretched Adam Shambemiradam for the Hurricanes, but the ensuing drive stalled and the score remained 17-14 at the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter started off with Soloman Sarfo-Boateng for the Hurricanes blocking a Red Bombers pass at the line. But when the Hurricanes got the ball, their offence just couldn’t get any thing going. The Red Bombers started running the ball relentlessly and it seemed to tire the defence out, even though they hung in and kept the score close. The Red Bombers scored another TD, putting them up 24-14, with 2:37 left in the 4th. The Hurricanes 25-yard punt return was called back for a hit after the whistle and eventually turned the ball over on downs with 1:20 remaining. The Red Bombers got another rushing touchdown with less than 50 seconds left, putting the game out of reach for the Hurricanes.
After the game, coach Young said it was a tough game, but also a learning opportunity.
“Quite frankly, the first three games of any season are learning games for each team. In the second half of the season they find a way to beat that team. We just pick it up, fix our mistakes and move on.”
The Hurricanes are on the road for their next three games, returning to their home field Oct. 14 at 1 p.m. to play against the UNB-Saint John Seawolves.