Published by Times & Transcript - May 7, 2018 -
The Moncton Mustangs opened defence of their Maritime Football League championship with a thrilling victory on Saturday.
The Mustangs scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to rally past the visiting rival Saint John Wanderers 34-33 at Rocky Stone Memorial Field.
It was the first game of the season for both clubs.
It was also a rematch of last year's MFL final that saw Moncton win 43-23 and snap Saint John's run of four straight league championships and a 36-game winning streak.
"We were super impressed with how our guys showed up and battled through adversity," said Mustangs head coach Jason Terris.
"We knew Saint John would be extremely motivated. On Facebook, they said they were going to start a revenge tour, so they were super motivated to come in and prove that they're still better than us. Our guys were ready for the challenge."
Moncton trailed 33-21, before it rallied in the fourth quarter.
Receiver Cameron Morley caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dan Comfort to bring the Mustangs within 33-28.
Later in the quarter, with just 40 seconds left on the clock, Comfort capped a Moncton drive with a quarterback sneak to pull the home team in front 34-33.
After the Mustangs' two-point conversion attempt failed, the Wanderers had one last offensive series, but didn't threaten.
"When we got down by two touchdowns, we had some great veteran leadership shown by lot of people and that helped us keep our composure and execute to come back and take the lead," Terris said.
Comfort also threw a 29-yard TD strike to Leslie Greene and finished with two rushing scores.
"We were missing our offensive coordinator (Jason Agnew), so we put the ball in Dan's hands and gave him a playbook, and I was super impressed with his ability to lead the offence," Terris said.
Running back Aubrey Ellis ran for a major for Moncton. Alec Pellerin led the Mustangs defence with 10 tackles, including three for a loss.
The Wanderers led 21-14 at halftime and 33-21 after three quarters.
Moncton hosts the Halifax Harbour Hawks on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Rocky Stone. Halifax opened the season with a 39-9 win over the Island Mariners on Saturday.