NORTH VANCOUVER — The Carson Graham Eagles are flying high just when it matters most.
When the B.C. School Sports ruling came down mid-week regarding the creation of two separate regional Subway Bowl championships, the Eagles went from preparing for the Langley Thunderbirds to preparing for Parksville’s Ballenas Whalers.
Despite having to change everything mid-stream, the Eagles played without a hitch Friday at home, as quarterback Logan Mellish hit Malek Gul on a 70-yard touchdown strike on their first snap of the game, and the hosts carried that momentum all the way to a 36-8 victory.
The win propels Carson Graham into a Subway Coastal semifinal one week from Saturday against those same, originally-scheduled T-Birds.
“It’s been a wild week with schedule changes but the team showed good character in rolling with all of it,” said happy head coach Brian Brady.
“I am really proud today because we were resilient… we scored on our first play and we just kept on believing,” Brady continued. “And it was a belief that the system could be trusted.”
Mellish went 20-of-43 for 353 yards and four touchdowns, and also threw a pair of two-point converts while also being intercepted once. Tanner McLure also threw one touchdown pass.
Aidan Nemeth had a gigantic day with five catches for 107 yards and three scores, while Griffin Withers caught five more for 114 yards. Ashton Fink and Gul accounted for other TD catches.
Mellish also rushed 13 times for 106 yards.
“Everyone is buying in, the line is working hard and the receivers are making big plays,” added Brady.
Vytor Oliveira, the Eagles’ left tackle, not only helped Mellish with clean pockets, he shone on defence where he recorded nine tackles.
Max Millar and Dylan Seiler had six tackles each in the win Ryan Corda and Daniel Tshibang each finished with an interception.
“Our defence played tough and flowed well to the ball,” said Brady. “They really came together today and played 11 strong. We’re looking forward to continuing our playoff journey.”
Ballenas, which trailed 14-0 at half, got on the scoreboard in fourth quarter on a one-yard Ryker Sansbury run.
Ayden Chambers had 10 carries for 53 yards while Enzo Agostini had seven tackles and 2 sacks. Brayden Harvey had four tackles and an interception.
“It’s a disappointing way to end the season,” said Ballenas caoch Jeremy Conn. “We just did not play well in all phases of the game consistently enough to win. But hats off to Carson Graham. They executed their game plan very well on us, once again. That said we are proud of our kids for the effort they put in this season and the great commitment they showed as this was a very trying season and they never gave up.”
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