FCC2019: Alberta kicks off tournament with strong offensive and defensive showing against New Brunswick
By Ameeta Vohra
(Kingston, ON) July 7, 2019 – Bouncing back from the heartache of losing last year’s final in the dying minutes to Saskatchewan in their home province, Alberta set the tone early at the 2019 Football Canada Cup as they rattled New Brunswick’s offence with their defensive dominance.
Adding offensive output, Alberta defeated New Brunswick 39-6 in game 1 of the tournament at Queen’s University’s Richardson Stadium in Kingston, Ontario.
With the victory, Alberta, who is seeded second in the tournament will battle against the winner of the Quebec/Manitoba game which will go later on Sunday.
New Brunswick’s Matthew Morton conceded a safety with 10:27 left in the first quarter to give Alberta an early 2-0 lead.
On Alberta’ first possession, quarterback Eli Hetlinger tried to get some rhythm going on offense. Not wanting to take a chance on third down, Luc Nolin makes good on a 20 yard field goal attempt to increase Alberta’s lead 5-0 with 6:29 remaining in the quarter.
Towards the end of the quarter, Alberta botched a snap and Owen O’Neal was at the right time and place to recover the fumble.
O’Neal would pick up his second fumble recovery of the game deep in Alberta territory to keep New Brunswick at bay with Alberta in the second quarter.
Halfway through the quarter, Alberta linebacker Michael Peloso intercepts New Brunswick pivot Samuel Tremblay’s pass to give the team the ball back.
With 6:15 left before the half, Alberta capitalized on 1st and 10 when, Hetlinger does a fake handoff and connects with Jayden Casten who sprints into the end zone for a 13 yard run for the first major of the game.
Alberta would continue to put up points on the board before the end of the first half. After receiver Sony Bermudez-Chavez puts Alberta in great field position, Matthew Morin rushes into the end zone for a 30 yard major. That was Alberta’s second rushing major of the game.
New Brunswick got some momentum heading into the locker room as linebacker Xavier Malone forced a fumble on the one yard line to round out the play in the first half.
A major statistic of the first half was that there were five turnovers in total between the two teams – 3 for Alberta, 2 for New Brunswick.
At halftime, Alberta enjoyed a 19-0 lead over New Brunswick.
With their confidence boosted, New Brunswick came out swinging out of the gates in the third quarter with a crafty trick play. Feeling pressure from the Alberta defenders, quarter Samuel Tremblay tossed the ball to Logan McNamee, who then connected with Ryan LeBlanc. The flea flicker resulted in New Brunswick’s first major of the game. However, Morton’s PAT was blocked.
The confidence was short lived as Alberta bounced back in control. With Morin putting the team in good field position with two phenomenal rushes coupled with a penalty to New Brunswick netting an extra five yards, Hetlinger ran into the end zone. However, it was recalled because of a holding penalty to Evan Beck. On their second attempt, Hetlinger scrambled and was eventually brought down but New Brunswick took a penalty as Reid McKay grabbed Hetlinger’s helmet after the whistle.
Third time is the charm as Hetlinger found Hayle Leuders for an 11 yard touchdown.
Alberta continued to pile on points as Luc Nolin added a 36 yard field goal with 11:37 left in the game. Close to three minutes later, Hetlinger connected with Sony Bermudez-Chavez for a 44 yard major.
Meanwhile New Brunswick ran into trouble getting out of their end zone. Morton ran all the way back to the end of the zone to fend off Alberta defenders to concede the second safety of the game to Alberta. Then, Gabriel Gagne equally had trouble and it resulted in a rouge for Alberta to round out the scoring.
Offensive Players of the Game were running back Matthew Morin (Alberta) and receiver Ryan LeBlanc (New Brunswick). Defensive Players of the Game were defensive back Charlie Deland (Alberta) and linebacker Xavier Malone (New Brunswick).