Braves spoil Hurricanes season opener at Ivor Wynne

The Hamilton Hurricanes got their first game of the 2012 Ontario Football Conference season under their belts on Saturday (Aug. 11) and next Saturday (Aug. 18) they’ll be looking for their first win.

The junior division Hurricanes were hosts to their Skyway rivals, the Burlington Braves, at Ivor Wynne Stadium and dropped their opener 45-38.

During the pre-game events, the Hurricanes held a moment of silence for Zack Duguay, who passed away unexpectedly last week. Duguay, a St. Catharines native, was an offensive tackle for the Hamilton team the past two seasons. The family of the 21-year-old was in attendance for the game and after the playing of O Canada the Braves organization showed some true class when two of the Braves players came over to the stands and gave Zack’s father, Brian, a hug and shook his hand.

Duguay, who had epilepsy, never let the medical condition stop him from playing football even though on occasions he would have seizures during games.

For most of the first quarter of Saturday’s game, action was centered around mid-field with both teams’ defences shutting down each other’s offensive attacks. The Hurricanes’ defence, led by Matt Brady, Anthony Dinguana, Adam Grilj, and Tyler Corbett was able to contain any running game that the Braves had planned for the game.

However, Burlington opened the scoring with a one-yard rushing touchdown by quarterback Mack Blewett on third down with 4:50 left to play in the first quarter. The scoring continued for the Braves in the second quarter with a chip-shot field goal and touchdowns from running back Alex McFarlane and Jason Diston on a fumble recovery.

Hamilton used a 20-yard rushing touchdown by Ryan Kotar with under a minute to go in the half to get on the scoreboard.

Both teams threw caution to the wind in the second half with the objective of putting as many points on the board as possible. With the Braves leading 38-19 midway through the final quarter, Hurricanes’ quarterback Kyle Johnston connected with newcomer wide receiver Daniel Parr, for a 61-yard touchdown to make the score 38-25. The Braves responded with a 43-yard touchdown catch and run by Diston to pull ahead 45-25.

The Hurricanes added two more touchdowns through the air on an 18-yard catch by wide receiver Cory Raposo and a 60-yard bomb from Johnston to Ritchie with 29-seconds left in the game before time ran out on the hosts.

The Hurricanes will look to even their season record when they host the visiting Ottawa Sooners on Saturday. Kickoff will be at 4 p.m. at Ivor Wynne Stadium.