Welcome to Varsity Letters’ Saturday edition of the B.C. High School Football Report. We’ve got reports from Saturday’s four games, as well as additional information from Friday’s Vancouver College-St. Thomas More game.
12 p.m. — SOUTH DELTA 27 at SEAQUAM 0
NORTH DELTA — Ben McDonald has been every bit the maestro in leading the Sun Devils to a 2-0 start to their season.
On Saturday, in the Battle of Delta, South Delta’s quarterback extraordinaire didn’t put up the kinds of gaudy numbers he has throughout his career.
Instead, he did just what he needed to do, keeping defences at bay with his running ability and funneling passes to the right receiver at the right time.
McDonald went 8-of-17 for 107 yards and three touchdowns against a hard-nosed Seaquam defence and also rushed six times for 52 yards.
McDonald opened the scoring in the first quarter with a 19-yard TD strike to Jackson Bailie.
In the second quarter, Evan Patterson scored off a 60-yard run then caught a 30-yard scoring pass from McDonald.
In the third quarter, McDonald’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Ethan Troniak wrapped up the scoring.
Hunter Norman went 6-of-12 for 59 yards passing while Patterson caught five passes for 87 yards in addition to his 60-yard rushing major.
The Sun Devils’ defence was led by Bennet Stoilen who had nine tackles and two sacks. Rhys Porteous, Troniak, and Evan Davies, the latter with an interception, each made six tackles.
“The Seahawks were a tough, well-coached team and gave our offence a good test,” said South Delta coach Mark McDonald. “There wasn’t a lot of flow to the game due to all the penalties taken by both teams. We still have a lot to work to do to improve and clean up as the season goes.”
McDonald also tipped his hat to a defence which smothered the Seahawks, and also had two pick-six touchdowns of their own called back due to illegal blocks.
Quarterback Jay Mather was bright spot for the Seahawks on offence, going 16-of-24 for 137 yards. Dylan Davidson led the receiving core with five catches for 55 yards.
“We were in red zone a couple of times in the first half and unfortunately did not score,” lamented Seaquam head coach Navin Chand. “South Delta on the other hand capitalized on their opportunities. We definitely know that we can play better.”
On defence, Justin Eng and Taaj Jhooty led the team with tackles with six apiece. Luke Siemens and Shaggy Hendrickson contributed a sack each.
NOTRE DAME 16 at ABBOTSFORD 20
ABBOTSFORD — In a battle of wills, the Abbotsford Panthers’ run game was finally able to outlast the Notre Dame Jugglers’ defence.
“We knew going into this game that it was going to be tough and hard-hitting for four quarters,” said Notre Dame head coach Denis Kelly, who accurately dubbed Saturday’s contest — which doubled as a 35th anniversary celebration of Abby’s 1984 B.C. title — as a “distinct tale of two halves.”
Said Abbotsford head coach Jay Fujimura: “Our offensive line really stepped up in the second half and we wanted to control the ball and wind the clock down. Notre Dame is a very good team and their front seven on defence is exceptional. On offence, they grind the ball with that wing T and if you’re not disciplined, it can catch you.”
The Jugglers defence was huge in the first half.
So much so that the Panthers were held without a first down as they headed into the break.
The Jugglers parlayed their defensive intensity on the offensive side of the ball as well, taking a 10-0 halftime lead off a 20-yard Joey Cannova field goal and an 11-yard touchdown run Vincenzo Nardulli.
Jugglers wide receiver Matt Battad hauled in a 38-yard pass from quarterback Carmelo Renzullo to set up the Nardulli touchdown, however Renzullo was injured right before halftime and did not return to the game, leaving the duties to 10th grade JV call-up Aiden Domino.
The Jugglers rallied to stop Abbotsford star running back Jalem Catlin, who had to work for everything he got, carrying 21 times for 101 yards with three fumbles.
However the constant threat he posed paid dividends on a 45-yard touchdown off a misdirection play by fullback Silvestro Aging. Catlin ran in the two-point convert to make it 10-8 Notre Dame.
Abby’s defence, which enjoyed a second-half renaissance, sacked Domino four times.
On one series, they forced a Notre Dame punt which Connor Meher returned 65 yards, giving the home team its first lead of the game at 14-10.
The Jugglers, however, on the ensuing kickoff, got six points right back when Matthew Battad scored off his own 65-yard return for a 16-14 lead.
Catlin’s efforts were huge. He and the Abby O-line continued to string together one workmanlike play after another, and as a result, the Panthers got the ball to the Notre Dame four-yard line where Aging punched it over on a fullback dive.
“Jalem was running the ball very hard all game and Notre Dame did a great job getting hats on Jalem and reducing angles,” said Fujimura. “This game was a real test and I was extremely proud of how the boys stepped up and continued with the game plan. As far as where and who we want to be down the stretch, this was a big step in the right direction.”
Aging finished with 51 yards and two TDs on just three carries, and also supplied four tackles and a sack.
Jordan Hogg led the way with six tackles and three sacks, while Luke Pearson had five tackles and two sacks, and Blake Neufeld six tackles and a sack.
For Notre Dame, Nardulli had 67 yards and a TD on nine carries. Renzullo was 7-of-9 passing in the first half for 77 yards. Defensively the Jugglers got nine tackles from linebacker Ian Marin, eight from Caleb Hoey and six more from Nardulli.
“We had a very rough afternoon, losing several key players to injury and dropping the game to an opportunistic Abbotsford team,” said Kelly. “Abby’s run game wore us down as the game went on.”
ERIC HAMBER 24 at FRANK HURT 0
SURREY — From expansionists to B.C.Tier 2 champs to senior varsity.
Vancouver’s Eric Hamber Griffins opened their 10th season of play Saturday with a shutout win over the host Hornets.
Grade 11 quarterback Ben Woodland went 5-of-10 for 110 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing 10 times for 63 yards and two more scores.
Tomas Delgado, another Grade 11, caught one of those TD strikes for 60 yards, while senior Ryan Vijayaretnam caught another for 30 yards.
On defence, rookie defensive end Simon Hurn had a sack and a tackle for loss.
Senior Luke Lee had eight tackles and a pick.
“Injuries have plagued us early this season, so we had to have other players step in and they did a great job today,” said head coach Bobby Gibson, whose team led by the final score at halftime.
MT. BOUCHERIE 15 at EARL MARRIOTT 21
SURREY — Sam La Rue threw a pair of touchdown passes to Isaiah Edwards and also weaved his way for a 41-yard major of his own, carrying Surrey’s Mariners to a victory over Kelowna’s Mt. Boucherie Bears.
La Rue passed for 130 yards and rushed for 122 more, the combined 252 yards an indication of both his varied skill set and the way he was able to keep an opposition defence on its heels.
Jakob Davies passed for an additional 72 yards, including a 42-yard gainer to Cole Parker, the latter kicking all three converts on Saturday.
“Boucherie was tough and physical and gave us everything you would want in a non-conference match,” said Mariners coach Michael MacKay-Dunn. “We were banged up a bit, but our young guys stepped up and gained some valuable experience. I thought that Dean Meurrens, our captain, was once again a standout on both sides of the ball.”
VANCOUVER COLLEGE 27 at ST. THOMAS MORE 0
(adds Vancouver College quotes and stats)
BURNABY — A non-conference affair at Burnaby Lakes was called at the half after the host Knights forfeited the second-half due to injuries.
“Unfortunately, entering into tonight’s game we had been devastated by injury and illness, and we were short 10 starters, four of whom go both ways,” said STM head coach Steve De Lazzari. “I could not be prouder of the way our boys played. In fact, shortly before the end of the first quarter, there was no score in the game. However, Vancouver College had a long rushing touchdown to end the first quarter, and they started to roll thereafter.
STM lost a further five players to injury before the half.
“Vancouver College is an outstanding team, and you can truly see why they are they number one-ranked team in the province,” added the Knights’ coach.
All four of Vancouver College’s touchdowns were scored on long runs.
Daesaun Johnson scored two of them, while Jayden Cheong and Jason Soriano scored the others.
“STM did their entire community proud tonight, both with their first half effort and with the courage to make the decision to call the game at half,” said VC head coach Todd Bernett. “I respect our rivalry, I understand why the game had to end at halftime, and I hope they get healthy…there is a damn good football team at that school, and with a few breaks and injuries healing they are gonna be a tough team to deal with.”
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