|Andrew Hubbard of the UNB Red Bombers scores his teamís only touchdown during the first half Sunday at Shamrock Park. The Bombers dropped a 10-6 decision to the UNBSJ Seawolves in Atlantic Football League action.||Tim Jackson of the University of New Brunswick Saint John Seawolves fights for extra yardage as Alden Pezerovic of the UNB Red Bombers takes him down during the first half Sunday at Shamrock Park. The Seawolves captured first place in the Atlantic Football League with a 10-6 win over their capital campus rivals.|
Seawolves snare first place with soggy win over Bombers
Football: UNBSJ improves to 3-0 with victory in its first-ever home game
By Jon MacNeill
Published in the Telegraph-Journal on Monday October 26, 2009
Appeared on Page B5
SAINT JOHN - The University of New Brunswick Saint John Seawolves secured a spot in the Atlantic Football League final after dropping the University of New Brunswick Fredericton Red Bombers 10-6 Sunday night.
The win improved the Seawolves club team to 3-0 in their inaugural home game and guaranteed them a slot in the championship game slated for Nov. 21 in Saint John.
Saint John got on the board early in the second quarter when John Phillips sent the pigskin through the uprights for a 15-yard field goal. Running back Justin Cavan made a leaping reception for a substantial gain and Charlie Harroun made a 35-yard run to put the Seawolves within striking distance.
The Bombers replied just a few minutes later after tight end Andrew Guest made a 20-yard pass-and-run play to give them field position at their 50 yard line. Star receiver Andrew Hubbard completed the drive in the next play, reeling in a pass from quarterback Brendan Cornford and breaking loose from two Seawolves defenders for a 50-yard touchdown run.
The point after attempt failed but the Bombers found themselves threatening to score once again after recovering a Saint John fumble.
As the Bombers pressed to increase their lead, the cheering section began its own spirited battle with the estimated crowd of 700 people at Shamrock Park divided into two camps chanting for their squad.
The Bombers were unable to complete the drive and the first half ended with a 6-3 Fredericton advantage.
"We couldn't finish anything off offensively; there were a lot of plays available to us and we dropped the ball a couple of times and just broke down," Red Bombers head coach Mike Dollimore said after the game.
To make matters worse, Hubbard left the field at halftime with a pulled hamstring and didn't return for the final session.
"He's an impact player, no question. And when Andrew goes down it limits our offence significantly," said Dollimore, who expects Hubbard will return to action for the Bombers final regular season game against Moncton on Friday.
An already soggy field was reduced to the equivalent of a grease pit by the second half as both teams struggled to get the ball downfield. Heavy rain in the Port City Saturday night left Shamrock Park in rough condition for Sunday's tilt.
"It was tough sledding out there, but we just tried to gain positive yardage however we could," Seawolves head coach Dave Grandy said.
Harroun was a major player in that respect, driving hard and giving his squad solid field position on several carries throughout the game. The Seawolves offence also struggled to finish their drives, however.
"We could have minimized our mistakes and we were putting ourselves in bad situations (as a result of penalties). But at this point, I'll take the win any way we can get it," Grandy said.
The winning touchdown came from a thrilling 45-yard pass-and-run play executed by Cavan, who snagged the pigskin and shook off two red sweaters while driving it to the house. Phillips kicked the extra point for a 10-6 lead mid-way through the fourth quarter.
Fredericton had an opportunity to land a major in the closing minutes of the game, taking advantage of a couple Saint John penalties and setting up near the Seawolves 20-yard line.
"You need to play smart football and we played some undisciplined ball there (in the closing minutes) and it could have cost us," Grandy said.
The Seawolves defensive-line stood tall, though, shutting the Bombers down and regaining possession as the clock ran out.
En route to the loss, the Bombers missed three field goal attempts.
"Execution just really wasn't there today. We couldn't pull it together, but next time we meet them, hopefully in the final, we'll take them down," Cornford said.
Now 1-2, Fredericton will battle Moncton (0-2) for second place and home-field advantage in the league semifinal slated for Nov. 14.