Welcome to the Friday Night Lights early edition of the B.C High School Football Report.
Playoffs open today in AAA, while AA, for the most part, closes out its regular season schedule.
Check back on this posting throughout the evening for updates from all games.
KELOWNA 38 at NEW WESTMINSTER 14
NEW WESTMINSTER — The Kelowna Owls are playing their best football at precisely the right time of the season.
Subway Bowl playoffs opened Friday, and the Owls, cast in the role of road warriors, went into Mercer Stadium and came away with a decisive win over the host Hyacks.
“I am so incredibly happy for our boys,” said Kelowna head coach Chris Cartwright. “This was a big win for them. They played solid against a big New Westminster team on offense, defense, and special teams.”
Owls running back Jack Nyrose ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Joey Howorko threw a 13-yard touchdown to Jaeke Schlachter as part of a 93-yard passing night.
Everett Schmuland played big for the Owls on defence with five tackles and two interceptions, one of which he took to the end zone.
“So excited to get another week working with these guys,” said Cartwright. “It has been such a learning journey and we are ready to get back to work to keep this going.”
Cartwright would later pay homage to Hyacks’ head coach Clint Uttley, whom he has long considered a personal inspiration.
“It was really special to coach across the field from Clint Uttley,” said Cartwright. “He is such an amazing man and he changed my life when I was at Acadia. He does amazing things with those boys at New West and they are lucky to have a great mentor like him.”
The Owls will be taking on Terry Fox next week at Percy Perry Stadium in the quarter finals.
“Terry Fox is a good team and we feel good about next week,” said Cartwright. “We need to continue to be discipline when going against a team like Terry Fox.”
SARDIS 0 at G.W. GRAHAM 18
CHILLIWACK — Even in front of a crowd of 2,500 screaming fans on one of the biggest nights in recent Chilliwack high school history, nothing could shake the emotional centre of the G.E. Graham Grizzlies football team.
And that centre, of course, is its defence.
Pitted against the crosstown rival and Pacific No. 1 Sardis Falcons, the East No. 2 Grizz nursed a 6-0 halftime lead, before later adding two second-half majors as the defence pitched a shutout as complete as its numbers would suggest.
G.W. Graham came away with four interceptions (Josh Caverly, Tyson Oregaard, Tyson Kelly and Braeden Macdonald) and six sacks. Vinny Branauer had three of the latter while Kade Kelly, Gage O’Neill and Yapo Conteh had the others.
“I am proud of how the boys played with the pressure of the big crowd and playing in such a high stakes game for the first ever (GW) Graham-Sardis game – the energy on the field and in the stands was amazing,” noted defensive coordinator Ian Parks. “We played a very good and well-coached team in the Sardis Falcons and our defense was up to the task.”
Added Sardis head coach Sukh Parmar: “We have to congratulate G.W. Graham. They made the plays when it counted. Coach Luke (Acheson) had his team ready to play. We fought hard all game.The seniors played their hearts out and I was proud of our effort. It was a great evening for football in Chilliwack, and it will only grow the game of football in town. Sardis football has served notice. We will only get better. The future is bright. The rivalry with GW has started.”
Grizzlies’ running back Sam Mannes had a 10-yard run in the first quarter to open the scoring.
Mannes would add one from eight yards out in the fourth, and that was followed by quarterback Lucas Feaver’s 21-yard TD strike to Josh Caverly.
The Grizzlies tacklers were led by Branauer and Logan Tocher with seven each while Raiden Mastin and Kade Kelly had five apiece.
On offense, Mannes carried 23 times for 140 yards and those two touchdowns.
“We struggled to find our rhythm early in the game” noted head coach Acheson, “but into the second half our linemen were making the key blocks to give Sam some running room – Tyler Bergin, Colton Mocon, Vinny Branauer, Kade Kelly and James Leblanc were outstanding for us tonight against a great front seven for Sardis.”
The Grizzlies host Mt. Douglas next Saturday night in a quarterfinal clash at Exhibition Stadium in Chilliwack.
W.J. MOUAT 13 vs. MT. DOUGLAS 42
VICTORIA — The West No. 3 Mount Douglas Rams used a takeaway defence and a steam-rolling run game to top Abbotsford’s visiting East No. 6 W.J. Mouat Hawks at Goudy Field.
Giovanni Linuzzi had two interceptions and Bryce Reuther had a pick six, all part of five first-half interceptions for the Rams. Bronson Pheiffer and Malik Gagne-Smith also had a hand in the first-half take-aways with one interception apiece.
Meanwhile, running back Miltiadis Koulelis, in the first half, rushed for 153 yards and four touchdowns.
“There were many, many good things to take away from tonight’s game after a shaky start,” said Mount Douglas head coach Mark Townsend, “but still some improvements are needed in order to be compete at the highest level in these 2021 playoffs.”
Mouat got the ball to start the game and proceed to March down the field with Zac Badke and Caden Martens running the ball. Martens punched the ball in from the two-yard line to give Mouat a quick 6-0 lead.
On the proceeding kickoff, Mouat recovered its onside kick, but saw the drive stall on a self-inflicted penalty.
Trailing 42-6 to start the third quarter with running time in effect, Mouat recovered an onside to start the half and proceeded to March the ball and score with Martens, who rushed 21 times for 112 yards, punching in his second touchdown on the ground.
TJ Daw and Morgan Steves led the Rams’ defense with eight tackles each.
On offense for Mount Douglas, Jacob Greenway also rushed for a score.
Austin Berry led the Mouat defense with 12 tackles and two sacks.
“Proud of our boys and the effort we put forth,” said Mouat head coach Andrew Harder. “Mt. Douglas is a big, physical team that we struggled to play with when they got into their ‘heavy’ formations. We’re looking forward to the future of our Hawk program and the great group of guys we have in it.”
CENTENNIAL 39 vs. BELMONT 6
COQUITLAM — Fresh off being named the Eastern Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year, Centennial running back Ziad Sabry lived up to his freshly-minted pedigree and more Friday at Percy Perry Stadium.
The East No. 4 Centaurs’ running back, as a portent to the night he would soon have, scored on his first possession before finishing with 13 carries for 228 yards and five touchdowns, including one major from 75 yards in a Subway Bowl wildcard round win over the West No. 5 Belmont Bulldogs of Victoria.
For a Centaurs program which has long struggled to find that season-to-season consistency for much of the past decade since Lemar Durant led the team to the Subway Bowl 2009 AAA title, Friday’s win was a vindication of the vision and hard work head coach Dino Geremia has brought to the Coquitlam school.
“When we started all of this up a couple of years back, when I first got to Centennial, we had a moniker, and that was to trust in the process, “ said Geremia. “We knew that it was going to be a lot of work, and we knew that there would be lots of ups and down.
“Tonight, I am just really glad and happy and proud of the guys because we’ve battled through a lot of things,” he added. “The guys on this team, they just believed in the program.”
On Friday, Belmont played hard and responded on their first possession to pull within 7-6.
The Centennial defense, however, did a great job shutting them down after that, led by Tamani Duncan, who had six tackles and an interception.
Other strong performances on defense came from Matthew Andalis who had five tackles and a fumble recovery, and Luciano Ruggiero with six tackles.
Malcolm Cameron continued to progress at quarterback for the Centuars, going eight-of-16 for 92 yards. He also rushed four times for 38 yards.
Centennial also via special teams when Belmont failed to down the ball on a punt, enabling Diego Suarez to score the touchdown that made it 20-6.
“It was a great team win in all areas and we got contributions from so many players,” said Geremia. “We aim to improve and progress for our next opportunity against Vancouver College.”
SOUTH DELTA 14 at LORD TWEEDSMUIR 35
SURREY — The Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers found the kind of fourth-quarter finish worth its weight in gold as the Subway Bowl’s wildcard round opened Friday at Cloverdale Athletic Park.
Shutout defence combined with a pair of rushing touchdowns from running back Reggie Elie and quarterback McCord Leeson wound up carrying the day as the East. No. 3 Panthers topped the visiting West No. 6 South Delta Sun Devils 35-14.
The victory propels the Panthers into a B.C. quarterfinal clash next week against the winner of Saturday’s wildcard contest between Notre Dame and Mt. Boucherie.
Leeson, who passed for 135 yards on the game, opened the scoring when he connected with Nate Swing on a 64-yard scoring play.
Leeson called his own number from a yard out for another major, and after Reggie Elie found the end zone on a 25-yard run, it was a 21-0 lead for the home team.
Kenny Scott hit Declan Dunn on a 33-yard touchdown strike, and after Matt McPhie’s two-point convert, the score stood at 21-8 at the half.
Jesse Mitran made it 21-14 when he scored the only points of the third quarter on a five-yard run.
Yet Elie’s 14-yard TD run and Leeson’s eight-yard score rounded out the final. LT kicker Jacob King was 5-for-5 on PATs.
Tweesdsmuir was an impressive 5-of-9 on third down and out-gained the Sun Devils in total yardage 325 yards to 161.
LANGLEY 21 at WINSDOR 0
NORTH VANCOUVER — Vancouver College and Terry Fox. And last but not least, Langley.
The Thunderbirds became the third and final B.C. high school football team in 2021 to post a perfect senior varsity conference record.
Playing today without starting quarterback Jordan Williams, the ‘Birds (8-0) leaned on running back Ryan Goeson and the big-play back answered the call with 14 carries for 156 yards and three touchdowns in a regular-season finale shutout win over North Vancouver’s Windsor Dukes (0-8).
“(Goeson) delivered the kind of performance that we think makes him the best offensive player in the league,” Langley offensive coordinator Joe MacLeod said.
Defensively, Langley held Windsor off the scoreboard by attacking the backfield for a total of 10 sacks, led by defensive tackle Manny Fotiou who totalled 2.5 plunders.
“Windsor was playing with a short bench and some young players, but they put in a tremendously tough performance,” added MacLeod.
ROBERT BATEMAN 34 at WEST VANCOUVER 29
NORTH VANCOUVER — A huge third-quarter rally by the host Highlanders made things especially tight for Abbotsford’s visiting Timberwolves, but in the end the ground game made the difference.
Running back Micah Barker carried 11 times for 130 yards and two scores, while quarterback Nolan Watrin carried seven times for 54 yards and two more as Bateman (7-1) had enough to beat West Vancouver (2-6) in a game played at Windsor Secondary.
“We did a great job of establishing the run game today,” said Robert Bateman head coach David Mills, “but we will need a better effort defensively and to be more disciplined if we want to win playoff games. Big week of practice ahead.”
Two touchdown runs by Barker, and one apiece from Watrin and Taejshon Catlin had the Wolves on top 27-6 in the third quarter.
But that’s when West Vancouver went to work.
Quarterback Mathieu Thiel threw a 14-yard screen pass to running back Bruce Jones to get things going, before Tomo Hursthouse took a double-reverse 36 yards into the end zone.
Watrin’s second touchdown run of the game pushed the Bateman lead to 34-22, but with two minutes remaining, Thiel connected with Jones on another screen pass, this one a 31-yard TD strike.
West Vancouver was unable to recover its subsequent on-side kick.
Thiel had earlier thrown a 27-yard touchdown pass to Jonny Corbett.
A.J. Nguyen and Dakota Kehler paced the T-Wolves’ defence with four tackles apiece.
Bateman will open the playoffs this coming week, hosting John Barsby at Abbotsford Secondary.
“We knew Bateman was going to be a challenge,” said West Vancouver head coach David Hollinshead. “They’re extremely well-coached and have a talented squad. The second-half was a dog fight and I’m proud of my guys for coming together to fight back.”
Thiel finished with 188 yards and three touchdown passes through the air, while Jones had two scores off of 117 total yards. Defensive lineman Sam Thiel led West Van with four tackles.
JOHN BARSBY 46 at CARSON GRAHAM 22
NORTH VANCOUVER — Twenty unanswered second-half points were the story as Nanaimo’s Bulldogs (6-2) topped the host Eagles (5-3) in the regular-season finale for both teams.
“Today was a tale of two halves with both teams seemingly scoring at will,” said Barsby head coach Rob Stevenson whose team led a tight contest 26-22 at break. “Carson gave us fits through the air and we returned the favour by pounding away on the ground.
In the second half, however, the Bulldogs’ defence played much better, forcing several turnovers via interception and fumble recoveries.
“Offensively we got a couple of big plays via the air and a couple big runs to setup some short scores on the ground,” said Stevenson. “Special teams play by Barsby also kept Carson on a long field throughout the second half.”
For the Eagles (5-3), a second consecutive loss hinged largely on those aforementioned turnovers.
“Hey, another tough day,” explained Carson Graham head coach Brian Brady. “We shot ourselves in the foot again. It really limits the opportunity to build any momentum with six turnovers and four major penalties. All of that had a considerable impact on the game. We look forward to making this a learning experience.”
Quarterback Logan Mellish was 9-of-21 for 180 yards and a touchdown, and also rushed 18 times for 131 yards, a touchdown and a pair of two-point converts.
Malek Gul caught two passes for 28 yards and a score whole Aidan Nemeth caught for for 68 yards.
Running back Ashton Fink carried eight times for 49 yards and caught three passes for 63 more yards.
Defensively, Vytor Oliveira, Ryan Corda and Dylan Seiler each had seven tackles.
“This has been a rewarding season in terms of player effort and improvement,” said Stevenson of his Barsby team. “We are a bit chewed up, but looking forward to playing a Robert Bateman squad (in the opening round of playoffs) that is easily playing its best football of the year.”
BALLENAS 44 at HOLY CROSS 0
SURREY — Over water and through mountains, Parksville’s Ballenas Whalers are off to South Kamloops next weekend to open the Subway Bowl playoffs.
The Whalers (4-4) earned that ticket following a shutout win Friday in Surrey over the host Crusaders (1-7).
“It was a good team win and everyone got to play so it’s a great feeling going into the playoffs,” said Ballenas head coach Jeremy Conn. “Hats off to Holy Cross. They had several big plays even though they have a young team and were missing some guys.”
Ryker Sansbury opened the scoring, throwing touchdown passes of eight yards to Reme Conway and then 18 yards to Ayden Chambers.
Before the half, Chambers broke off a 68-yard touchdown run for a 22-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, Kooper Chambers had touchdown runs of 30 and 42 yards, while Sansbury called his own number from 37 yards out.
Chambers carried nine times for 127 yards and Kooper six times for 106 more. Sansbury’s seven carries gave him 86 yards on the day.
On defense, Brayden Harvey led the Whalers with seven tackles, while Enzo Agostini and Will Dubesky had five each.
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