BURNABY — If you happened to peek your head into the various huddles of coaches gathered around the field Friday, watching the Subway Bowl AAA quarterfinal playoff game at the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex, they were all talking about the same thing.
To paraphrase the masses: “Gideone Kremler is back.”
For the better part of two seasons, the Mt. Douglas Rams’ quarterback has battled injuries in an attempt to return to his former self as B.C. high school football’s own version of Russell Wilson.
On Friday, as the underdog Rams played the game of their season to upend the No. 2-ranked St. Thomas More Knights 43-21 and punch their ticket to the Subway Bowl Final Four, the wise-and-weathered senior was moving like Gid the Kid circa 2016.
The Rams now advance to face a conference foe in the semifinals at B.C. Place. But they must await the winner of Saturday’s 2:30 p.m.quarterfinal between Vancouver College and South Delta.
“We were able to capitalize on some bounces that went our way tonight, and what can you say about the play of Gideone Kremler in this contest except ‘sensational,’” said Rams’ head coach Mark Townsend after his leader rushed for 188 yards and three touchdowns.
With his decisiveness finally able to work in concert with his foot speed, Kremler was unstoppable.
He mounted a game-opening drive which was capped by brother Zairech Kremler’s two-yard run, scored himself on a three-yard run he capped with a two-point convert pass to his brother, then did more of the same with a scoring drive that finished with a six-yard Sam Mosky scoring run.
Early in the second quarter it was 22-7 for the visitors.
“Unfortunately for us, we came across an outstanding opponent,” said classy STM head coach Steve De Lazzari. “Mt. Douglas is notorious for peaking and dialling it up to another level come playoff time and that was certainly how they performed this evening. We had a difficult time stopping their offence and we also had a difficult time gaining some traction on offence.”
Zairech Kremler and Mosky combined to rush for another 153 yards.
“Any time a team rushes for 395 yards on the ground, credit has to go to the offensive line,” added Townsend on a night when Ivan Xu shone. “Collectively, the big boys up front did a terrific job.”
The Rams’ defence scored a momentum-turning touchdown when Joe Lucas returned a 25-yard fumble recovery to the end zone to make it 28-14 and were not threatened the rest of the way.
And that’s because Gideone Kremler closed the book with additional touchdown runs of four and 51 yards in the third and fourth quarters respectively.
St. Thomas More’s touchdowns came on a one-yard run by quarterback Dario Ciccone, and Ciccone touchdown passes to both Michael Simone and Vasco Repole.
Ciccone went 11-of-25 for 140 yards through the air and also rushed 15 times for 40 yards.
Cole Bunting led the defensive charge for the Rams with 12 tackles, followed by Aiden Bertuzzi with seven tackles plus two sacks and Aidan Wold with six tackles and a sack.
Colin Dalla Vecchia finished the game with 12 tackles for STM, while Rickey Parsons had five tackles. With the Rams driving deep in STM territory right before the half, Aaron Laguerta made a key interception of Kremler and started his team on a long drive capped by a Simone touchdown just before the half.
“It was a difficult loss and my heart goes out to all of our Grade 12s because they’ve been an amazing group and gave their all this evening,” said De Lazzari as the Knights came into the game with just one loss on the season, that a narrow loss earlier this season at No. 1 Lord Tweedsmuir. “Their character and level of compete throughout the season was outstanding.”
Mt. Douglas’ next foe?
The Rams beat South Delta to open their season 40-14 back on Sept. 7. Three weeks later they lost 55-26 to Vancouver College.
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