Quenching a conference-best thirst, Surrey's Holy Cross Crusaders completed a last-to-first rise in the AA Western Conference with a win over the Windsor Dukes Friday, on the final weekend of the regular season. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca)
Feature High School Football

FINAL EDITION: 11.02.18 Friday Night Lights B.C. High School Football Report, regular-season finale edition

LANGLEY — The Friday Night Lights shine for the final time in this 2018 B.C. high school football regular season. 

Subway Bowl’s one-month run beckons, but before we get there, it time to put the cap on a tremendous conference campaign.





NEW WESTMINSTER — He’s baaack!

That might have sounded a little more ominous earlier this week on Halloween Wednesday, but there was really no hiding from the fact that as the second season is set to dawn, the Mt. Douglas Rams have their best version of quarterback Gideone Kremler back in the fore.

“We sure got the A1 version of Gideone Kremler tonight,” said New Westminster head coach Farhan Lalji after the senior pivot’s fourth-quarter magic led to back-to-back unanswered touchdowns, the second a 16-yard strike to Eddy Shala with under one minute remaining that pulled the Rams back in front 32-28. 

Kremler’s two-point convert pass to brother Zairech Kremler brought the evening’s late firework show to an end.

“After the bye he looks 100 per cent as a runner as well as a passer,” added Lalji. “He took the game over with his legs on the final drive.”

Added Rams’ head coach Mark Townsend: “Gideone Kremler had his best game of the season.”

Yet it wasn’t a one-man show for Mt Douglas.

After New Westminster’s Michael Kingsley scored a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, the Hyacks were leading 28-19.

That’s when Sebastian Hansen returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards to pull the Rams to within a pair at 28-26.

New Westminster got down to the Rams’ 18-yard line and had one shot at the end zone which fell short with no time left on the clock.

“I thought our players showed a lot of perseverance, resilience and fortitude in the fourth quarter to come away with the win,” said Townsend. “We faced some adversity in the contest but demonstrated good mental toughness.  We were especially proud of the effort displayed by our Grade 12’s in their final regular season game.”

On the defensive side of the ball, Oshan Thomas led the Rams with seven tackles. Aidan Wold continued his outstanding play with six tackles and a sack. Gideone Kremler was a big contributor on defense as well, registering six tackles. Joe Lucas played an excellent game in both run and pass defence and had six tackles. Zairech Kremler had five tackles, Ivan Xu five tackles plus a fumble recovery and Aiden Bertuzzi had four tackles and a fumble recovery.

“There are still areas to clean-up as we start the playoffs, and this was an extremely close game as expected with the tough New West team,” said Townsend, whose team will finish third in the West. “But there also many positives to build upon going forward.”

Broxx Comia rushed 11 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns in the loss for the Hyacks who will finish fourth, while Kingsley carried 13 times for 87 yards and one score.

“For us this felt a lot like the Notre Dame game,” referenced Lalji of the team’s 38-35 loss to the Jugglers on Oct. 6. “We did a lot of good things but in the end we couldn’t make ‘that’ play when we needed it most. We had fourth quarter breakdowns in all three phases. But we’re confident we can make the necessary adjustments when the playoffs start next week against a much-improved Abbotsford team.”


NORTH VANCOUVER — If you can only win one, then maybe the best one to win is the last one.

North Delta’s Seaquam Seahawks (1-7, 1-6) lost three of their six conference games by a grand total of 10 points, and those teams — Carson Graham, Notre Dame and South Delta — are all playoff bound.

On Friday, the Seahawks leaned on their main man Antonio Pamintuan, and the senior closed out his high school career in grand fashion, his 27 carries going for 151 yards and a score in a win over the Royals (0-7, 0-6).

Pamintuan also returned a kick-off 90 yards for a TD and finished with 252 all-purpose yards.

“We’re glad to finish the season with a victory,” said a happy head coach Navin Chand. “It’s been a tough year with all the close losses and missing the playoffs definitely hurts. Today was a total team effort with a balanced offensive attack. The defence shut out Handsworth in the second half after starting the game a bit flat. We are looking forward to next season with a strong core of returning players.”

Quarterback Jay Mather was 8-of-16 for 138 and two touchdowns, both to Corbin Grant, who made five catches for 128 yards.

The Royals, like the Seahawks, had a win stricken from their record after Victoria’s Belmont Bulldogs folded midseason.

On Friday, Handsworth closed out its season without being able to use UBC-bound receiver Keelan White on defence for yet another week with an injury.

However White still went out and caught nine passes for 225 yards, including one for a 70-yard touchdown.

“Keelan seemed to catch the ball at will,” said his dad, Handsworth head coach Richard White.

The Royals’ latest addition, Eric Dika, had a fantastic game rushing for 51 yards on six carries. Dika also caught a 20-yard pass, and returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown.

For the Seahawks, Brody Clark led the defence with nine tackles and an interception. Chase Malenstyn, Corbin Grant and Justin Eng had a sack each.

For Handsworth, James Mooney and Steele Young 10 and 11 tackles respectively.



BURNABY — Ricky Parsons helped the St. Thomas More Knights make a comeback when it appeared they had dug themselves too deep a hole to climb back out of.

Gutsy Mission (4-5, 4-3) took leads of 16-0 at the end of the first quarter and 22-8 at halftime, but on the road, against B.C.’s No. 2-ranked Knights (8-1, 6-1), they weren’t able to hold the fort.

On the opening drive of the second half, Knights’ quarterback Dario Ciccone hit receiver Michael Simone with a 38-yard completion to help set up the pivot’s 10-yard TD run. After the convert, STM trailed 22-15.

Mission, however, moved the ball down to the Knights’ five-yard line. On fourth-and-goal, however, Parsons picked off a pass on the goal line and returned it 100 yards for the score , as STM eventually knotted the game at 22-22.

Then, in the fourth quarter, with Mission again driving deep, Parsons stripped the ball loose for teammate Colin Dalla-Vecchia to recover. 

Just a few plays later, Ciccone hooked up once again with Simone, this time for a 20-yard TD. Ciccone ran in the convert to close out the game’s scoring.

“Mission still made things difficult for us,” admitted STM head coach Steve De Lazzari of the Danny Jakobs-coached ‘Runners, who drove the field again, but were finally slowed when Della-Vecchia caused a fumble which led to a recovery by Vasco Repole. “Full credit goes to coach Jakobs and the Mission team. The execution of their offence was a handful, and we really struggled in stopping their run game. We were fortunate to have caused some turnovers which ultimately ended up being the difference in the game.”

Ciccone went 10-of-12 for 130 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 30 yards and another. Simone caught five passes for 90 yards. 

Marc Abboud’s lone carry went for 75 yards while Julian Valerio rushed seven times for 70 yards.

On the defensive side, Parsons had six tackles to go along with his 100-yard interception return touchdown. Jack Wagner and Daniel Auld also made six tackles each.


ABBOTSFORD — The Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers are Eastern Conference AAA champions with a perfect league mark (7-0) and a bye heading into the opening round of Subway Bowl playoffs.

And while its offence made the kinds of big plays which have defined its season, a defence which wracked up four shutouts including its in last two games, was omnipresent Friday on the road.

The visiting Panthers opened up a 4-0 lead via a pair of safeties from a defence led by the respective eight-tackle performances of Bachouch Michael, Nathan Gernon and Kyle Dodd.

Colton Cameron got the first safety and the second was the result of forcing a grounding call in the end zone. 

“Our defence was stellar today,” said Tweedsmuir head coach Kurt Thornton, “now we’re looking forward to the bye.”

Noah Anderson has 13 carries for 113 yards and rushed for three touchdowns. He also caught a pair of passes for 23 yards, including an 11-yard scoring grab.

Trey Jones and Kaiden Lilley each called their own numbers from the quarterback spot to sneak home for a touchdown apiece.

Jumeiz Omerkodi had a 63-yard punt return and a 43-yard kick-off return as part of the victory.




LANGLEY — They play in a conference that lost two of member teams over the course of the season to low numbers, but the Robert Bateman Timberwolves never let the adversity of multiple bye weeks slow their momentum.

And if anyone could symbolize that desire to never quit, it was the team’s ace kicker/receiver Sam Davenport.

After lining up with the chance to boot his team into the lead late in the fourth quarter, Davenport put it wide left.

Undaunted, he lined up on defence and made an interception with four minutes go, and after quarterback Logan McDonald marched his team down to the Langley 10-yard line, Davenport stepped in with five seconds left and kicked the game winner which gave the Wolves (5-2, 3-0) their first conference title in school history.

“I am so proud of our team today,” said Bateman head coach David Mills. “Our defence punched above their weight class all day. They have a massive offensive line and a couple good running backs and we really held them.”

McDonald had hit Davenport with a touchdown pass to open the scoring but the Saints (4-2, 2-1) tied it at halftime 7-7.

McDonald went to Davenport again for a 14-7 lead before Langley tied it 14-14 late in the third quarter.

McDonald went 14-of-21 for 165 yards and two scores, both to Davenport who made three catches for 59 yards and also made six tackles in addition to booting his game winning field goal.

“On offence Logan and Sam put on a clinic today,” said Mills. “Logan controlled the game from start to finish and even had to step in at cornerback when we had a couple of guys go down with injuries. Sam made some outstanding catches and was dynamite on defence all day. This was a huge win for our program and our school.”


MAPLE RIDGE — Grade 10 receiver Logan Buchwitz did it all.

The Grizzlies’ young standout had three receptions for 109 yards, five carries for 49 yards, and four total touchdowns in a memorable Friday night contest.

On defense Buchwitz added an interception, fumble recovery and led all defenders with eight tackles as G.W. Graham (3-5, 1-2) beat the host Titans (2-4, 0-3).

“At the start of the season he wasn’t even sure if he would play up in our varsity games and now he is playing MVP quality football,” noted Grizzlies’ head coach Laurie Smith. “He is going places.”

The Grizzlies bounced back from a 58-7 shelling at the hands of the Langley Saints two weekends ago in dominating fashion.

The teams were tied 7-7 going into halftime, but over the final two quarters it was all Buchwitz as he scored all four Grizzlies’ touchdowns.

Running back Jaiden Claassen added 101 yards on the ground on 16 carrie. Colby Bessette and Grayson Frick shared the duties at quarterback and the Grizzlies had 175 yards total through the air.

On defence, Aiden Shardlow had five tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery and Cooper Middleton four tackles plus a sack and 29-yard fumble return.

With the win, the Grizzlies travel to Prince George to take on Kelly Road in the first round of the playoffs next Saturday.



NORTH VANCOUVER — A rocky two-game stretch in the midst of conference play aside, the Ballenas Whalers (6-2, 3-2) are hoping that their peak is coming in the upcoming Subway Bowl playoffs.

Quarterback Ben Chomolok called his own number twice on scoring sneaks and also threw a 17-yard fade for a TD strike to Scott Williams as the Whalers returned home from North Vancouver with a convincing win over the Pipers (1-5, 0-5).

“Overall we executed well in all phases of the game and it feels like we’ve been learning from our losses,” said Ballenas coach Jeremy Conn of a frustrating three game strecth in which the Whaler lost to both John Barsby and Holy Cross, then had last week’s game against Howe Sound awarded on a forfeit. “We hope to start peaking going into the playoffs”

Demar Hohnstein rushed 15 times for 107 yards and touchdown while Steve Boley rushed for a six-yard TD. Williams kicked all five PAT’s.

On defence, Hohnstein collected six tackles and a sack, as well as an interception he returned 10 yards.

Boley, Adrien Friesen and Kolby Jack each managed five tackles for the winners.

No. 2 HOLY CROSS 21 at No. 4 WINDSOR 14

NORTH VANCOUVER — Andrew Hunt threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Takeaowa and running back Jack Laurin rushed for a pair of scores as the visiting Crusaders (7-1, 6-1) won the West on the final weekend of the regular season over the defending B.C. champion Dukes (3-3, 3-2).

“Both teams played with a ton of energy and the stakes were high,” admitted Crusaders’ head coach Conrad Deugau, whose team built a 14-0 lead, then led 21-7 at half before hunkering down over the second half.

“After they scored in the third quarter, then it was back and forth,” added Deugau. “I have a so much respect for Windsor and their coaches. (Head coach) Jim Schuman changed it up on us and we had to adjust on the fly. It was a fun and emotional chess match.”

And getting those two rushing majors from Laurin wasn’t the only thing he did for the Crusaders.

“Jack was also a monster,” said Deugau. “He made play after play. It was the best I’ve seen him play.”

Defensive ends Uyi Ologhola and Kekeli Agbenu were a force off the edge and Blake Stevenson stepped up off the bench and held it down on the inside.

“Although  we had an improved effort and did a better job of competing for four quarters we still have a lot of work to do as a team in regards to limiting self-inflicted errors and enhancing our football IQ’s,” said Dukes head coach Jim Schuman.

Ryan Werbowski rushed 28 times for 113 yards and a touchdown, while Aiden Gallagher also rushed for a major.

John Barsby, idle to end the season, finishes second, while Windsor takes third and Ballenas fourth. All four teams are have spots in the latest Big 5 provincial rankings.



VERNON — On Friday night, the capacity crowd at Greater Vernon Athletics Park was treated to a virtuoso performance in the art of quarterbacking by Panthers’ pivot Thomas Hyett.

Fighting driving rain for much of the evening, the Panthers signal-caller connected on 16-of-24 passes for 278 yards and four touchdowns, leading No. 1-ranked Vernon (7-1, 4-0) past city rival Clarence Fulton (4-5, 2-2) en route to its sixth straight Interior title, each coming behind undefeated conference campaigns.

“The battle of Vernon wasn’t,” said Fulton head coach Mike Scheller. “Full credit to VSS for a great team win. They out coached us, and beat us in all three phases of the game. They have an excellent team and we were not close.”

Hyett’s favourite target was Caden Danbrook who recorded eight catches for 168 yards, the most dynamic a 55-yard catch and run.

Zack Smith tallied two majors, from 37 and 26 yards out, and Riley Macgillivray was the recipient of the game’s first touchdown, a  seven-yarder.

On the ground, Charles Lemay put up another MVP-like performance, tallying 151 yards on 14 carries, including touchdowns from one yard and 38 yards.

“Our O-line had another great game today,” said Panthers head coach Sean Smith. “They are getting better and better each week and are they’re engine of our offence right now. Our ability to eat up large chunks of real estate on the ground is making our pass game so much more effective and their blitz pick up has been outstanding.”

Defensively, Trey Defoor was in the backfield all game registering four sacks and three tackles while fellow line mates Kael Black and Liam Reid had two sacks apiece. Linebacker Drew Mackenzie led all tacklers with five. “Fulton battled hard and played us tough all night,” added Smith, whose defence countered with eight sacks.

The win gives Vernon a bye to the quarterfinals where they will host the winner of Langley vs Ballenas in two week’s time.

“The playoff bracket didn’t do us a lot of favours,” Smith continued. “Whoever comes to Vernon (Ballenas or Langley) in two weeks is going to be a well-coached, well-prepared team that is going to be riding a high after winning the opening round game. Thankfully we have two weeks to prepare for what’s going to be a very tough quarterfinal opponent.”


KAMLOOPS — Grade 11 quarterback Eric Crawford closed out the season in impressive fashion for the host Titans (5-3, 2-2) who may have missed out on a playoff berth yet have some nice hope for the future.

“Our execution on offence was terrific today,” admitted Titans’ head coach J.P. Lancaster. “Eric Crawford had a breakthrough game which is promising for next year.”

As part of that breakthrough game, Ryan Zamudio caught four passes for 138 yards and touchdowns of 19, 59, and 64 yards.

Running backs Mike MacDonald and Per Anneman ran in a score each. Kicker Cohen Freeze added a field goal.

Senior Callum Gorman went out with a big game recovering two fumbles and coming up with nine solo tackles on defence, then added nine catches for 112 yards on offence.




1:30 p.m. — Sardis at Eric Hamber, West Vancouver at W.J. Mouat

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