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Hurricanes Football club triumphs in inaugural game
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Charlottetown, PE - As a warm, late summer afternoon turned into a cool September evening, over 2,000 expectant football fans witnessed the rebirth of college-level football on Prince Edward Island. In the first college game played here in 31 years, the Holland College Hurricanes defeated the Moncton Jr. Mustangs in a 44-33 shootout played at the UPEI Turf field.
The pre-game coin-toss involving former UPEI all-time greats, Mike Lyriotokis and Socky MacDonald, signaled the start of the new era; and on the opening kickoff, Demetrius Ferguson electrified the crowd with a 90-yard return for a touchdown.
The Hurricanes opened up a 9-0 lead midway through the first quarter on a field goal by Phil Lanthier, before Moncton caught its breath and started firing back. Three touchdowns and a field goal later, the Jr. Mustangs held a 24-9 lead. Two scores late in the second quarter, by Ferguson on a 20-yard run and by Jeff Hillier on a pass from quarterback Nick Hunsley, brought the Hurricanes roaring back. The first half ended at 24-23 in favour of the visitors.
In the second half, the Hurricanes’ defense tightened, with Moncton scoring just once in the third quarter, on a kickoff return following a Holland College TD reception by high-flying Jason Mitchell.
In the final quarter, the Hurricanes took the lead again when Hunsley scored on a keeper from the nine-yard line setting up a dramatic finish. With just three minutes left to play, with his troops trapped deep in their own zone, Holland’s field marshall Tex MacDonald conceded a safety in favour of field position.
The strategic manoeuvre paid off on the next series when Demetrius Ferguson, playing at cornerback, picked off a long pass and raced all the way down to Moncton's one-yard line before going out of bounds. Two plays later, Hunsley connected with Hillier for his second TD of the day with just 1:06 left on the clock. Lanthier’s extra point secured the 44-33 victory for the Hurricanes and completed a sensational debut for the team.
Quarterback Nick Hunsley was impressive in throwing for three touchdowns with one interception. Wide receiver Jeff Hillier caught six passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Dave Clark was the leading rusher for the ‘Canes, surpassing the 100-yard mark on just six carries.
Next game for the Hurricanes is Saturday, September 25, also at the UPEI Turf field at 6 p.m. The game will include a half-time ceremony recognizing former varsity players from St. Dunstan’s, Prince of Wales and UPEI. All former players are invited to a pre-game tailgating reception at the field, beginning at 4 p.m.