For the first time in series history, the road team won the annual Kushnir Boot. On Saturday, that all added up to a New Westminster triumph over the host South Delta Sun Devils. (Photo by Mark Booth property of the Delta Optimist)
Feature High School Football

09.29.18 Varsity Letters’ Saturday night B.C. High School Football Report: Kushnir Boot, Buchanan Bowl edition

Saturday night is here and so is Varsity Letter’s B.C.High School Football report. 

Keep checking back through the day for updates from around the province.





Carson Graham’s Darius Andrade finds his time and space threatened by Handsworth’s blue-chip linebacker James Mooney on Saturday at the Buchanan Bowl in North Vancouver. (photo by Blair Shier property of

NORTH VANCOUVER — The old adage about it being how you finish, not how you start wound up carrying the day Saturday afternoon in the crosstown derby known as the Buchanan Bowl.

First, the Carson Graham Eagles gave up a tipped pass on third down that wound up being grabbed and taken 95 yards to the house by the Handsworth Royals’ Richard Steele.

That was followed in quick succession by Robert Lutman’s pick-six Handsworth major.

Somehow, the Eagles managed to not only come away with a 33-18 win over the Royals, they also moved into a tie at 1-3 with Handsworth in the Western Conference standings.

“I’m really proud with how the boys were able to put in a complete game,” said Carson head coach Brian Brady, who got his starting quarterback Charlie McMillan back from illness in time to take his team’s opening snap and run the team’s Air Raid offence. “We got great pursuit on defence and we rallied to the ball each play. On offence, it was nice to be able to play fast. I was impressed with our receivers who were able to find space, and in Charlie who was able to get the ball to them.”

McMillan tossed a 25-yard scoring strike to Austin James, and that was followed by an eight-yard Mahyar Hosseini score.

Additionally, McMillan scored on a one-yard run, then threw a 39-yard TD strike to Ethan Smith. Jade Duque took a kick return 100 yards for a score.

McMillan, who had missed the last two games, went 19-of-34 for 286 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions, and then rushed 16 times for 91 yards and a score.

“We lost a tough game, one that was riddled with mistakes and turnovers,” said Royals’ head coach Richard White, whose son Keelan White scored Handsworth’s third touchdown off a 65-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Jensen in which he beat triple coverage to find the end zone.

“We made far too many mistakes on the field,” the coach continued of a Royals’ team that gave up three onside kicks, and allowed touchdowns off both their kick-off and punt teams.

Carson Graham fans celebrate with their own heroes of the gridiron Saturday in North Vancouver in a scene that tells you what high school sports is truly all about! (Photo by Blair Shier property of

Carson Graham’s Brady was happy with the way added defensive pressure limited the electric Keelan White, and he singled out the play of Kwame Mensah and Kinny Balucos for their fine play.

“It seems that teams have decided that if they can keep Keelan White to less than 150 yards receiving, that they have a chance of winning the game,” said Richard White, “and Keelan again had a tough time playing against triple coverage. But Steele Young stole the show for Handsworth. He played hard and served notice that Handsworth has more weapons than just Keelan.”

White finished with 140 yards receiving and 40 yards rushing, adding three tackles and a pick on defence. Young had 137 yards in receiving yards.

Hosseini had nine tackles, a forced fumble and a sack, while Parker Henderson blocked a kick and registered two sacks.

Handsworth heads into a bye week while the Eagles gear up to play at a Seaquam team coming off a bye this weekend.


TSAWWASSEN — Kinsale Philip and Ben McDonald were far from being at their respective physical peaks.

Yet just considering the fact that the two starting quarterbacks in the 2018 Kushnir Boot classic did the best they could just to hang around their respective huddles told you a lot about the level of collective grit on the field Saturday afternoon.

McDonald, the starting pivot for the host South Delta Sun Devils, got banged up in the first half, left the proceedings, then retuned in the second half to throw a 29-yard TD strike to Ethan Troniak.

Philip, meanwhile, aggravated something in the pre-game warm-up, and it was enough to not only limit his abilities in the pivot, it also kept him off the field in his usual key defensive role at linebacker.

Nontheless, the defending Subway Bowl AAA champions found a way to win their 15th straight game, including playoffs, against B.C. competition.

Philip threw touchdown passes of 29- and 16-yards in the second quarter, both to receiver Ajay Chol, and Austin Galbraith intercepted McDonald with 31-yard pick-six in the third quarter as No. 3 New Westminster (4-1, 3-0) joined Notre Dame (3-0) and No. 5 Vancouver College (4-0) as the only unbeatens in the West.

South Delta (1-2, 1-2) plays at Vancouver College this coming Saturday. New West play at Notre Dame.

South Delta running back Andrew Kraft feels the presence of New Westminster tacklers during the Kushnir Boot clash Saturday in Tsawwassen. (Photo by Mark Booth property of the Delta Optimist)

“There is clearly a rivalry here and I’m sure the first half was frustrating for both coaching staffs,” said New Westminster head coach Farhan Lalji. “Both team’s offences revolve around their QBs so not having Kinsale and Ben available to do everything that what was needed obviously effected the game as well.

“Ajay Chol made some big time plays at receiver with some exceptional contested catches, “ Lalji continued. “Defensively, Austin Galbraith was also very good with two very important interceptions including the pick six that gave us some breathing room. It was one of those games that we just needed to grind out and get through.”

Added South Delta head coach Ray Moon: “It was a hard fought battle between two teams that let’s say… don’t have a love for each other.”

While trying shake off his injury, McDonald managed to go 12-of-19 for 97 yards, and Troniak led the receiving core with 50 yards in catches. Running back Andrew Kraft rushed eight times for 42 yards.

Broxx Comia, who left the game with an injury, led the Hyacks on the ground with nine carries for 47 yards. Chol had four catches for 86 yards and the two scores.

The Kushnir Boot is played in honour of the late Bill Kushnir, a longtime teacher administrator who played a key role in the helping to originally establish football programs at each of the two schools.




PRINCE GEORGE — Quin Williamson’s two touchdowns, and a 14-tackle, two-sack performance from Dayton Ingenhaag carried Vernon’s Maroons to a convincing win over the host Roadrunners.

Carson Harrower led a solid outing from the offensive line as Clarence Fulton got the reward its players had been working for after three character defining losses to open the year against Bateman, Langley and Omak (Wash.).

“This was a good win for our kids,” said longtime head coach Mike Scheller as the Maroons now open Interior Conference play Friday against the visiting Titans of South Kamloops. “This was the best we’ve played all season. We made some changes to our offence and defense and it really ended up helping us.

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