Fourth quarter surge powers Manitoba-Gold past Nova Scotia
Photo credit: Mike Lukyn
By Nolan Kowal
The 2016 Football Canada Cup ended on a positive note for Manitoba-Gold, as they defeated Nova Scotia 20-14 in the fifth place game.
After fumbling near the red zone early in the game, Manitoba got on the scoreboard later in the first quarter when returner Tyler Fedak caught a Nova Scotia punt at his own goal line and promptly returned it 110 yards for a touchdown to give the hosts a 7-0 lead.
Manitoba added to their lead when quarterback Andreas Dueck hit receiver Remis Tshiovo down the middle to drive the ball down to the Nova Scotia 24-yard-line. A few plays later, Dueck handed off to running back Brandon Urciuoli who took the ball into the end zone for another Manitoba touchdown.
Nova Scotia put together a nice drive near the end of the first quarter. Quarterback Justin Morgan completed a couple of passes and the drive was aided by a pass interference call against Manitoba. After picking up a first down on a QB sneak at the two-yard line, Morgan handed off to running back Connor Ross on a nifty end around play. Ross found the end zone, and Manitoba’s lead was cut to 14-7.
After their defence forced a two and out, Nova Scotia got the ball back in great field position and again drove it down to the red zone. This time it was running back Adam Bennett punching it in from the one-yard line, tying the game at 14-14 heading into halftime.
Nova Scotia put together another drive midway through the third quarter. It looked like they would have to settle for a field goal, but a penalty, on the field goal attempt, against Manitoba gave Nova Scotia a new set of downs. However, two plays later Morgan was intercepted in the end zone by Manitoba defensive back Zane Stawiarski. Manitoba escaped unscathed and the score remained 14-14.
Nova Scotia would attempt another field goal on their next drive. But kicker Michael Adams missed wide left and the ball was returned out to the two-yard line. The score remained deadlocked at 14-14 after three quarters.
The game turned in the fourth quarter when Morgan overthrew his intended receiver and was picked off again by Stawiarski. Manitoba then drove the ball down to the one-yard line where backup quarterback Dayton Black found the end zone on a quarterback sneak play. The convert was missed and Manitoba led 20-14 with six minutes left in the game.
Nova Scotia made an effort to tie the game late in the fourth, but Morgan was intercepted again, this time by Manitoba defensive back Jake Richardson who made a great break on the ball.
Nova Scotia had two more possessions but they were unable to score. Manitoba hung on for a 20-14 win.
“We had to make some plays to win this game,” said Manitoba head coach Donald Burrell. “I’m proud of my football team for not giving up and keeping on fighting until the end.”
Manitoba defensive back Zane Stawiarski had a monster game with two interceptions in the second half.
“I’ve been playing football for about ten years and I can honestly say I’ve never had a half like that,” said Stawiarski.
Coach Burrell also reflected on the tournament as a whole.
“This year being my first year as a head coach in this tournament, I now know what it takes and the level of competition,” he said. “I had a lot of fun and the kids had a lot of fun too.”
Manitoba finishes fifth while Nova Scotia finishes sixth.
About the author
Nolan Kowal is a second year Creative Communications student at Red River College. He is majoring in journalism. Once he graduates, he hopes to pursue a career in sports broadcasting. He currently works as a news anchor and reporter for 680 CJOB in Winnipeg, and as a board operator for Winnipeg Goldeyes radio broadcasts. Follow @NolanKowal on twitter.
This post is also available in: French