Welcome to the Friday Night Lights edition of Varsity Letters’ B.C. High School Football Report.
Please continue to check back throughout the evening as we update senior varsity action at the AA and AAA tiers from throughout the province.
AAA WESTERN CONFERENCE
No. 2 SOUTH DELTA 35 at NOTRE DAME 26
BURNABY — What senior quarterback Steven Moretto was to the Notre Dame Jugglers last season?
How about a lot like what Michael Calvert means to this season’s edition of the South Delta Sun Devils.
Stylistically they’re about as far apart as you can get, but when you boil everything down to effectiveness, they are like twins.
In just the same ways Moretto influenced so much of what the Jugglers did last season en route to leading Notre Dame to the Subway Bowl final, Calvert has done this season.
And on Friday at Burnaby Lakes, the Sun Devils’ pivot took that influence to another level.
In a battle to keep pace with No. 1 New West and ultimately set up a showdown on the final day of the regular season for the Western crown, Calvert had a hand in all five of his team’s touchdowns as the Sun Devils beat Notre Dame 35-26.
He started the scoring off with a six-yard touchdown run.
When Notre Dame responded, he first fired an 18-yard touchdown pass to Max Stalling, then a 15-yarder to Ben McDonald.
Plucky Notre Dame scored the only touchdown of the second quarter and trailed 22-12 at the half.
In the third quarter Calvert ran it in from a yard out to make it 28-12, and after the Jugglers scored again to make it 28-18, he did it again, this time with a six-yard TD run and a 35-18.
The Jugglers, who are getting closer and closer to the Hyacks and Sun Devils of the world each week, scored again to make the final score complete.
Yet Calvert, like Moretto a season ago, did what he had to.
He finished 22-of-35 for 267 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed 13 times for 82 yards and three scores.
On a night when the Sun Devils put up 267 passing yards and 180 rushing yards — far from their top total of the season — Andrew Kraft rushed 11 times for 78 yards, and Jacob Kirk led the defence with 11 tackles.
BELMONT 7 at No. 1 NEW WESTMINSTER 56
NEW WESTMINSTER — It’s a trend that hadn’t quite caught up to B.C.’s No. 1-ranked high school football team, but head coach Farhan Lalji wanted to nip it in the bud as quickly as he could.
Over a 7-1 overall start to the 2017 season, the Hyacks have had 10 touchdowns taken off the board for penalties.
And so on Friday, when Sebastien Reid, the Royal City crew’s version of lightning in a bottle, scored on three separate dynamic plays, Lalji couldn’t help but be a little reserved.
“Every time Sebastien scored I was looking for a flag,” Lalji said after the Hyacks (7-1, 5-0) turned in their cleanest performance of the campaign to top Victoria’s visiting Bulldogs (1-5, 1-4) at Mercer Stadium.
“But today there was nothing for rough play, no undisciplined stuff, and to me that is the biggest takeaway.”
Another was the fact that these Hyacks love to find something they can rally around, and on Friday against a Belmont team which stunned Vancouver College in its conference opener, the task was to shut down one of the nation’s best receivers in Eli Nelms-Horton.
“That was a big point of ours and he is as good as anyone,” said Lalji, who got stellar shutdown efforts from both Reid and talented Grade 10 Taran Birdi, the latter as clutch a takeaway artist as the team has had in recent memory, despite the fact he’s only in Grade 10.
The talented, 6-foot-4 Nelms-Horton was held to an early catch for two yards, while Reid caught 70- and 52-yard touchdown passes from Kinsale Philip, in addition to scoring another off a 54-yard punt return.
Sammy Sidhu ran for scores of three and 42 yards, the former set up by a Birdi pick, and the latter making the score 42-0 in the second quarter.
Michael Kingsley scored on a 28-yard run before the half to make it 49-0 and Lucas Sabau threw a 38-yard strike to Finn Stark to account for New Westminster’s only second-half points.
“Defensively our guys did a great job on Eli and we were also able to shut down their run game,” summed Lalji. “Offensively we were very explosive. Not many epic drives but a lot of big plays.”
CARSON GRAHAM 0 at MT. DOUGLAS 44
VICTORIA — The Mt. Douglas Rams (3-4, 2-3) have got their giddy-up back. Gideone Kremler has them back in the saddle.
The Grade 11 pivot has been gradually working himself back into the line-up following a knee injury, and on Friday, he was starting to look more and more like his former self.
Kremler went 13-of-16 for 238 yards and three touchdowns, the strikes all coming concurrently and staking the Rams to a 31-0 halftime lead over North Vancouver’s visiting Eagles (3-5, 0-5).
“Our defensive play was stellar,” said Rams’ head coach Mark Townsend of a unit which forced three turnovers en route to the shutout, “and Gideone really guided our offence in the win. Carson Graham is a tough, especially at quarterback with Charlie McMillan, but we are very proud of the effort of our players today. We still have some work to do in not taking penalties, but overall a good team win.”
Sebastian Hansen and Sam Mosky got the Rams on top 13-0 with scoring runs of 24 and three yards respectively.
Then Kremler went 35 yards to Dante Carbone, 20 yards to brother Zairech and then 45 yards to Hayden Naylor.
On the day, Zairech Kremler turned in another outstanding effort, his 50-yard TD run in the second half giving him two touchdowns and 139 combined yards between the run and pass games.
Mt. Douglas’ defence was led by Jake Ounsted’s six tackles, five including a sack by Aiden Bertuzzi, and another five each from Soren Hallschmid, Hansen and Peter Primeau. Naylor finished with four tackles and an interception.
The Rams rounded out the scoring when back-up pivot Isaiah Cardilicchia sent a 61-yard TD pass to Hansen.
“We now turn our attention to the challenge of playing against a very strong Vancouver College team next week,” said Townsend.
Said Carson Graham head coach Brian Brady, whose team opened the season 3-0 out of conference but have not been able to win since and next get the No. 1-ranked Hyacks. “We’ve had a tough regular season and it will be a good test of our character in our attempt to turn it around. I’m confident in our guys and we need to rally around each other next week in a challenging game against New West.”
Parker Henderson led the Eagles with nine tackles.
AAA EASTERN CONFERENCE
CENTENNIAL 0 at LORD TWEEDSMUIR 63
SURREY — It was a nine touchdown afternoon for the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers (5-2, 4-1), who rolled to a convincing win over the Coquitlam’s visiting Centennial Centaurs (0-7, 0-4).
Running backs Derek Best and Braeden Hutchinson each scored three touchdowns in the victory, which sends the Panthers forward into a key clash with preseason No. 1 Terry Fox next week.
Best carried six times for 100 yards and rushed for scores of 57, three and 27 yards. Hutchinson caught a 30-yard TD strike from quarterback Walter Dingwal and also carried for scores of 42 and 33 yards.
Dingwal on a 10-yard run, and Yosef Drysdale on a 65-yard tote, each rushed for scores while Bachouch Michael returned an interception 65 yards for a major.
Drysdale was good on all nine of his PATs.
“The boys did what they needed to do today,” said Tweedsmuir co-coach Kurt Thornton. “We need a good week of practice in order to have a chance at beating Fox next Friday night. Next week things get a lot tougher. The game will be, most likely for second place in the East.”
Connor Desnoyer paced the Panthers’ defence with eight tackles, followed by Cole Irwin and Michael Hampton, each with seven apiece. Hampton’s total included a pair of sacks.
No. 3 ST. THOMAS MORE 49 at MT. BOUCHERIE 0
KELOWNA — Four Knights combined to evenly share a bounty of 24 tackles, and that iron-clad defence helped carry St. Thomas More (7-0, 5-0) to a shutout win over the host Bears (3-4, 2-2) on Friday.
“We had another strong defensive performance,” admitted STM head coach Steve De Lazzari, whose charges recorded their fifth shutout in seven games and their first in the last three.
“Our offense moved the ball extremely well both on the ground and through the air,” added the head coach who got three touchdowns along the ground from running back Tyler Eckert, who carried 15 times for 150 yards and TDs of 27, three and 55 yards.
Sam Steele, Luke Benedet, Mateo Carteri and Jonah Fridfinnson all had six tackles apiece in the win while Eckert had four as STM led 29-0 at the half.
Benedet, David Osho and Fridfinnson all had interception returns of 25-plus yards each while Josh Wilson recovered a fumble and ran it in for a 28-yard touchdown.
Quarterback Dario Ciccone went 11-of-13 for 140 yards, including an eight-yard TD pass to Justin McCloskey, while also rushing for a two-yard score.
Michael Simone scored an offensive touchdown from 30 yards out after he scooped up a fumble after David Osho’s after a 45-yard catch-and-run.
“All the credit to Mount Boucherie,” said De Lazzari. “They played hard all game long and their defence came out with speed and physicality.”
AAA PACIFIC CONFERENCE
RUTLAND 12 at HANDSWORTH 26
NORTH VANCOUVER — Big plays and concentrated drives each took turns in putting Handsworth into the red zone on Friday in North Vancouver.
And once there, the Royals were all business, scoring all of their touchdowns from 15 yards and in as part of a victory over Kelowna’s visiting Rutland VooDoos which saw them move to 2-0 on the conference season.
Robert Lutman on a five-yard run, quarterback Evan Currie with a two-yard pass to Theo Benedt, Joey Sadain on a two-yard run and Keelan White on a 15-yard sweep accounted for the majors as Handsworth scored once in each quarter.
Currie finished the game passing for 239 yards, including 105 to White and 98 to Jake Bennett.
James Mooney, Currie, and Benedt led a defence which saw Bowen Drzymala-Bokitch and Brendan Griffiths both collect their first interceptions of the season.
AA WESTERN CONFERENCE
No. 4 JOHN BARSBY 34 at HUGH BOYD 13
RICHMOND — Dave Wicks opened and closed the proceedings with bookend three-yard touchdown runs, and Nanaimo’s John Barsby (6-0) had enough inbetween to Richmond’s host Hugh Boyd Trojans on Friday.
“On balance we were very happy with our run game today and a whole lot of credit goes to our offensive line,” said John Barsby head coach Rob Stevenson. “The blocks were outstanding. Defensively, we had a couple big fourth-down stands inside our own five and that was a big, big help. Our kick-off game was well executed throughout, preventing big plays on the returns and keeping the Trojans on a long field for much of the game.”
Steen Rasmussen with a three-yard run, Colin Nutting with a 65-yard pick-six, and quarterback Cameron Wright’s eight-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Laing accounted for the rest of the Bulldogs’ offence.
Next, the Bulldogs square off with No. 1 Windsor.
“Preparing for those guys is going to be a nightmare,” said Stevenson. “Let the insomnia begin.”
ARGYLE 21 at BALLENAS 14
PARKSVILLE — Mac Ward passed for 246 yards and one score, and also ran for two more as the Argyle Pipers (4-3, 2-1) hit the road to pick up their biggest win over the season over the host Whalers (1-6, 0-3).
Ward went 25-of-30 on the, calling his own number twice to find the end zone and throwing a touchdown strike to Declan Confortin.
Ballenas mounted an extended drive to make he score 21-14, then attempted an onside kick with about one minute remaining which the Pipers recovered to seal the victory.
“Give Ballenas credit,” said Argyle head coach Wayne Theobald. “They never gave up. The worked right to the end. Our quarterback Mac just keeps getting better every week, and our offence has been rolling. This was a gutsy win by our guys.”
Confortin finished with nine catches for 86 yards while Devin O’Hea had eight for 141 yards. O’Hea’s nine tackles and Kurt Stothers’ eight led the Argyle defence.
For Ballenas, Josh Rice caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Ben Chomolok, the latter scoring himself on a one-yard run. Damon Thompson added a two-point convert run.
“It was another disappointing close loss,” said Whalers head coach Dan Smith, “but we have faced a lot of adversity with injuries and other issues and we are proud of these guys who finished the game strong and never gave up. We can compete we almost any team in B.C., but we just haven’t found a way to pull out the close win.”
Every one of Ballenas’ six losses this season have been by 10 points or fewer.
AA EASTERN CONFERENCE
No. 3 ABBOTSFORD 54 at LANGLEY 2
LANGLEY — The opposition defence loaded up to stop Samwel Uko, yet Abbotsford’s dynamic running back still did major damage, rushing for 155 yards and five touchdowns as the Panthers topped the host Saints at McLeod Athletic Park.
“Samwel had another big game offensively,” said Abby head coach Jay Fujimura. “He was explosive and tough to bring down tonight. Langley put a lot of guys in the box to slow him down.”
Uko finished with 213 all-purpose yards, adding a sixth TD off a 52-yard kick-off return.
Panthers’ pivot Ethan Anderson, who threw the ball well against man coverage, went 8-of-13 for 150 yards and two touchdowns, including one to Karl Von Einsiedel who finished with five catches for 110 yards.
“I felt we did a good job on both sides of the ball tonight,” added Fujimura. “We need to eliminate penalties, but on offense and defense we set goals this week and accomplished them.
“Langley is a very fast team and came after us a lot. The offensive line did another great job this week and allowed the offense to really get going. The defense also played very strong giving us great field position the whole game.”
Johnny Stevenson led that defence with six tackles while Gavin Khatar had five tackles and a sack.
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