Mitch Hinton had an outstanding game on both sides of the ball last Sunday as the Cowichan Timbermen picked up their first victory of the Vancouver Mainland Football League season, beating the Comox Raiders 21-20.
Hinton led the Cowichan defence with six tackles and two assists, and added a touchdown and 65 rushing yards on offence, including a 25-yard run that was the longest of the afternoon, pacing the T-Men in a thriller at McAdam Park.
He even had his jersey torn right off his body in the heat of the action and had to don a spare for the rest of the contest.
“It was a very hard-fought battle,” head coach Opie Williams said. “A very exciting game for the fans.”
The T-Men got off to an excellent start, marching the ball down the field on their second possession, which Hinton capped off with a three-yard touchdown. The team stalled out in the second and third quarters, however, and the Raiders were able to come back and hold a 13-7 lead at halftime.
“Comox was able to move the ball as we struggled with all their motion,” Williams said.
The Raiders added another major in the fourth to take a 20-7 lead, but the Cowichan defence barred the door after that. Tyler Hudson had a huge second-down tackle for a loss of yards, forcing the Raiders to punt, and Kain Melchior ran the ball back 95 yards to score. Even though they missed the extra point, Melchior’s touchdown gave the T-Men some spark.
With seven minutes left, Cowichan kicked the ball deep in the Comox zone and counted on the defence for a stop. Hudson came up with another tackle for a loss, and the Raiders had to punt. With the ball on the 50-yard line and less than three minutes to go, quarterback Braemon Conville threw to Mitchell Gudgeon, who made a leaping catch for a 20-yard gain. A short run and an incomplete pass later, the T-Men were on third and long, but Melchior ran 28 yards untouched to score. Because his team had struggled with kicking, Williams opted for the two-point convert attempt.
“We moved Kain to the tailback position and ran a sweep, letting him use his speed to get the edge and dive for the line for two points and the lead,” Williams said.
Gudgeon sealed up the win with his second interception of the game. Other big performances in the win came from Garion Ferguson, who had three tackles, an interception and one batted ball, and Jake Borserio, who had 108 yards rushing.
The T-Men are at home again this weekend, kicking off at 3 p.m. against Cloverdale.