Privateers maul Gladiators 29-0 in MFL opener

If there were any questions regarding the ability of the P.E.I. Privateers, the answer came quickly in their season opener on the road against the Capital Region (Fredericton) Gladiators. On the second play from scrimmage quarterback Chris “Tex” Mutch hooked up with Jeff Hillier on a 70-yard pass and run play to score the first points of the game.

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The P.E.I. senior football team never looked back as they rolled to a 28-O lead after the first half and a convincing 29-0 win in the Maritime Football League match Saturday night.
The game was played in Moncton as part of a three-game celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Maritime Football League.

In other opening weekend action defending league champions Moncton Mustangs beat Dartmouth 13-6 while the Saint John Wanderers defeated Halifax 24-3.

Veteran Mitch Murphy lead the Privateer scoring with two touchdowns in the first half. All-star running back Dave Clark added an eight-yard running touchdown and carried the ball for over 100 yards on the night. Rookie Cory Mugridge converted all four singles and punter Mike Miller scored a single when he punted the ball into the Gladiators’ end zone then tackled the ball carrier before he crossed his own goal line.

In the second half defence was the name of the game for the Privateers. Questions about who would fill in key spots were answered when veteran Donnie Mitchell moved from linebacker to defensive tackle and dominated the center of the field. Former cornerback Richard Lush moved to safety and deflected passes all evening.

Defensive captain Keegan Scott made tackles all over the field and capped it off with an interception in the fourth quarter that quelled any Gladiators’ thoughts of scoring.
Rookie Paul MacDonald converted his rugby expertise to football and made a number of key tackles on the day.

Defensive coach Jamie Gosbee, patrolling the sidelines after a long Privateer playing career, was pleased with how quickly the defence came together for the shutout.

“Our veterans stepped up and the rookies filled in the gaps. The play of our defence as a single unit, not individuals, was the difference,” said Gosbee.

Mutch was awarded the MVP of the total three-game event because of his pin-point passing and his ability to run out of trouble when pursued. The Privateers were also picked as “Team of the Day” because of their dominant play.

The Privateers stay on the road for the second week of league action as they travel to Dartmouth this Saturday. They open their 2010 home season on June 19 when they host Halifax Shockers at 5 p.m. at UPEI in Charlottetown.

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