G.W. Graham Grizzlies' running back Jaiden Claassen shone under Friday Night Lights yesterday evening in Chilliwack. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2019. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Football

A SATURDAY FOOTBALL BRUNCH: Rutland’s Blake, GWG’s Claassen, Saunders come up huge! Trio of AAA reports to follow!

Welcome to the early edition of Varsity Letters’ B.C. High School Football Reports.

Unforseen difficulties prevented us from getting you a pair of Friday games, so we’ve got them for you here.

We have created a new posting with the full results from all four of today’s games including three key AAA contests: New Westminster at Vancouver College, St. Thomas More at Seaquam and Terry Fox at Abbotsford. The lone AA game has Robert Bateman at Frank Hurt.

As well, click here to catch up on the rest of Friday’s game reports!

Rutland’s Jhavoun Blake did it all Friday in a win over Sardis. (Photo property of Rutland Secondary athletics)





KELOWNA — The Rutland VooDoos have a galaxy of stars, but Jhavoun Blake has a habit of coming up so big, he seems to block out the sun.

The VooDoos’ senior running back was a stat-sheet stuffer of the highest magnitude Friday afternoon at the Apple Bowl as Rutland (4-0) claimed a convincing win over Chilliwack’s visiting Sardis Falcons (2-2).

As a running back, Blake rushed nine times for 205 yards, including TD runs of 75 and 87 yards.

At free safety, he made two picks and returned them for a combined 83 yards, including one for 73 yards and a score. He finished with 10 tackles.

On special teams, he returned a pair of kick-offs for 67 yards.

“Jhavoun was a game-changer in every facet of the game,” said Rutland head coach Peter McCall of a player who finished with 353 all-purpose yards.

Quarterback Liam Attwood was pretty darn good himself, rushing for a pair of scores, while going 13-of-19 for 289 yards and three touchdowns (Coltin Peterson, Brad Koebel, Ryan Dovedoff) through the air.

On defence, linebackers Kai Brydon, Dan Tran and Shale Meadows combined to make 33 tackles, while end Tyson Sherriff had 11.



No. 2 LANGLEY 19 at No. 4 G.W. GRAHAM 20

CHILLIWACK — Trailing by five points in the late stages against the undefeated and No. 2-ranked Langley Saints is far from an ideal situation to be in.

Especially when you drive the field for the winning score but then end up turning over the ball on downs inside the red zone.

Fortunately for the No. 4-ranked G.W. Graham Grizzlies, Jackson Saunders and Jaiden Claassen did their very best work when it mattered most.

Trailing 19-14 after their fourth-down flounder, Saunders came through with a huge interception to put the Grizz right back in business, setting up running back Claassen’s 11-yard touchdown which capped the game’s scoring and gave the hosts from Chilliwack a 20-19 come-from-behind victory.

Yet it wasn’t quite over.

The Saints moved into position to kick a game-winning 23-yard field goal with 14 seconds remaining, and if not for Saunders’ huge special teams surge up the middle to get some fingertips on the ball, it may have been the Saints (2-1) and not the Grizzlies (3-0) sitting with a perfect Eastern Conference record heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.

“In my pre-game message. I really challenged the defence to play the Grizzly way and rise to the challenge of shutting down Langley’s dominant rushing offence,” said GWG head coach Luke Acheson. “I could not be more proud of how our young men responded. We definitely did not shut down their run game but the defence made several big plays when we needed them most and gave us a chance to win.

“Offensively, we really showed our heart tonight and it all started up front with the O-line grinding play after play to open big holes in the defence, allowing Jaiden (19 carries, 186 yards) to do what he does best… lead our team.”

The teams traded first-half touchdowns.

G.W. Graham opened the scoring at 7-0 with Mason Murphy’s short touchdown run. Langley answered on a one-yard Harshaad Jouhal run to tie it 7-7.

Jouhal added his second major with another one-yard scoring run, this one capping a 10-play, run-exclusive drive to open the second half. However the convert by Josh Goesen ricocheted off the right upright, giving Langley a 13-7 lead.

G.W. Graham’s response was perhaps its most impressive drive of the night, highlighted by a 20-yard Claassen run in which he broke seven tackles.

Langley’s defence stiffened but just as the drive was stalling,  Langley was flagged for roughing the passer which gave the Grizzlies a new set of downs on the five-yard line. Two plays later Claassen punched it in off the left side for a two-yard touchdown. Colton Holt added the extra point for a 14-13 Grizzlies’ lead.

Langley QB Goesen’s 21-yard option run for the score made it 19-14, but the Saints were unable to convert on a two-point attempt, setting the stage for GWG’s late interception and game-winning score.

“This game lived up to everything,” said Saints’ head coach Ryk Piche. “To be honest, I’m glad we had this loss happen now and not later in the season. We will learn from this and be a better team because of it.”

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