LANGLEY — We’re cleaning up Friday results in anticipation of a big Saturday that includes AAA Western Conference games of note.
While you await final results from Buchanan Bowl 2018, and New Westminster at South Delta, Here’s three intriguing match-ups your author was unable to complete as Friday evening gave way to Saturday morning, due to the lateness of the hour as well as his age!
MISSION 42 at MT. BOUCHERIE 8
KELOWNA — Two 100-plus ground gainers and now, back-to-back season-opening conference victories for the first time in its AAA history.
The Mission Roadrunners (2-2, 2-0) likely had an enjoyable bus ride home from Kelowna on Friday night following its convincing win over the host Bears (0-4, 0-2).
Senior running back Keegan Royal rushed 11 times for 117 yards and a touchdown, while Grade 11 Matt Roadhouse toted seven times for 113 yards, including a 38-yard scoring scamper.
“Keegan is the workhorse of our team, he is shifty, strong and deceptively fast,” said Mission head coach Danny Jakobs, who added that the more youthful members of his roster have also stepped up when asked to fill bigger roles.
“We were a little banged up coming into this game so some of the Grade 11’s had a chance to play more and Matt Roadhouse really took advantage of his opportunity,” continued Jacobs, whose team opened in the East last week with a 29-7 home-field win against Abbotsford. “It’s great to see kids really excited to play and step in and contribute.”
Senior quarterback Jackson Trask rushed for a pair of scores, and also threw a 40-yard scoring strike to receiver Tyson Bongo. Trask combined to rush and pass for 138 yards on the game.
Defensively, Cody McMahon once again lead the way with seven tackles and two sacks. Bongo and Royal also each had an interception as Mission equaled last season’s conference win total over seven games (2-5) with five more games remaining.
The road, however, gets very tough next week as the ‘Runners travel to meet No. 2-ranked Terry Fox this Friday.
ERIC HAMBER 8 at RUTLAND 48
KELOWNA — Whether he’s running it, throwing it, or doing it on the defensive end, Rutland quarterback Jhavoun Blake has been the toast of the Pacific over the first month of the 2018 season.
The Voodoos’ quarterback, fresh off a 209-yard rushing performance which earned him VarsityLetters.ca Player of the Week honours, was once again wreaking havoc.
Blake carried eight times for 70 yards, but he also passed for two more scores, and capped his evening with a 100-yard rip-and-return score as Rutland (4-0, 4-0) remained the conference’s only unbeaten with a resounding win over Vancouver’s visiting Eric Hamber Griffins on the occasion of Voodoos’ Homecoming at the Apple Bowl.
Blake also had three tackles and two interceptions.
While it’s pretty tough to trump anything Blake has done as the team’s pulse, senior running back/linebacker Chase Schumacher was splendid, rushing 13 times for 123 yards and three touchdowns, including nine- and three-yard forays which accounted for the game’s first two majors.
“We only had 19 players dressed for this one, but we were still able to execute our game plan of feeding Chase the ball,” said Rutland head coach Peter McCall. “The big men up front dominated the trenches and created the seams.”
Schumacher and Coltin Peterson also caught a touchdown pass apiece while Prince Manongdo had seven tackles.
We struggled straight out of the gate,” admitted Hamber head coach Bobby Gibson, whose team got its lone score on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Tom Shen to Ryan Vijaratenam. “We weren’t ready to play, and Rutland is a good team. You can’t get behind a good team.”
No. 1 VERNON 27 at FOOTHILLS COMPOSITE (Okotoks, Alta) 0
OKOTOKS (Alta.) — The Vernon Panthers (3-1, 0-0) got a crash course in adversity preparation, something its entire roster can lean on should it do as expected and enter the Subway Bowl playoffs with a chance to make a healthy post-season run.
Scheduling the three-time Alberta champion Falcons on their soil smack dad in the middle of its Interior Conference schedule was one thing.
And then cramming to play the three-down Canadian game?
And how about that eight-hour bus ride over the Rockies?
Vernon came out firing, scoring on its first two drives — quarterback Thomas Hyett hit Zack Smith with a 37-yard bomb, tailback Charles Lemay ran it in from 18 yards — and from there, the Cats never looked back en route to the lopsided victory, one which serves as a fresh dressing over the wound of its 57-7 loss at AAA Terry Fox two weekends ago.
“This was a great experience for our boys,” touted Vernon head coach Sean Smith. “While it took a lot of preparation and time to put in our game plan, I think it will prove valuable down the road if we have to install a lot of new concepts in a short time frame for playoff games. I was worried that we’d come out slow after the long trip, but we were on fire to start the game. We were able to have a balanced attack all game long and were able to run the ball on first down which is huge when you only get three.”
Lemay led the ground game with 139 yards on 18 carries to go along with his touchdown run. Hyett took advantage of the extra player on the field and hit four different receivers, finishing 13-of-23 for 183 yards and one touchdown.
Five of the receptions went to slotback Caden Danbrook who followed up his outstanding performance from a week ago with 64 receiving yards.
Quarterback–turned-receiver Zack Smith put on an MVP performance with a great two-way game, hauling in six receptions for 100 yards.
On the other side of the ball, Smith had five tackles and two interceptions, including a game-sealing 50-yard pick-six late in the third quarter to put the game out of reach. Defensively, the Panthers weren’t fazed by the bigger field or multiple motions that the Canadian game brings, holding the Falcons off the scoreboard.
“Our defense was outstanding and Coach Wladichuk was our CFL rules guru,” said Smith of Ray Wladichuk, the former Simon Fraser and Hamilton alum. “He did a great job prepping our boys for what they were going to see. We were able to hold them to a couple of short completions in the passing game all day which was key. I thought Drew Mackenzie was outstanding and made a couple of highlight reel tackles. Zack was able to get a couple of picks which made their quarterback a bit nervous in the pocket.”
Liam Alder led all Panthers with seven tackles.
Prince George’s Kelly Road Roadrunners are unable to field a team next week, meaning the Panthers will hit the practice field hard and cool their game-day heels until making its Interior Conference debut Oct. 12 with a visit from Kamloops Valleyview Vikes.
WESTSYDE 0 at G.W. GRAHAM 3
CHILLIWACK — Westsyde forfeited.
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