VANCOUVER — The Langley Saints made about as straightforward a statement as is possible on the gridiron Saturday as the Subway Bowl 2019 Double-A quarterfinals opened under the dome at B.C. Place.
Rolling behind its powerful offensive line, Langley’s running game excelled on the fast-track indoor turf, and the end result was a 46-0 win over the gutsy Clarence Fulton Maroons of Vernon.
“I was happy with the first half, but we pulled the pedal off in the second,” said Saints head coach Ryk Piche, whose charges will face the winner of Saturday’s late game in Chilliwack between the No. 3-ranked G.W. Graham Grizzlies and Surrey’s visiting Holy Cross Crusaders.
“There were plenty of mental errors we’ll have to clean up if we want to compete the next two weeks, but I am happy with the performance of the boys and the way we moved the ball.”
The Saints began their march early, igniting fireworks on their second offensive snap of the contest when running back Kai Thomas took a handoff and turned it into a 65-yard touchdown run.
The ground-and-pound schematic never failed the Saints the rest of the way.
“It did a lot,” Piche said of the early gash courtesy of Thomas. “He had a great game, a lot of them did, but Kai makes me look right a lot of the time. It’s a pleasure coaching him.”
Harshaad Jouhal, the other half of Langley’s thunder-and-lightning backfield duo, punished the Maroons’ defence the rest of the half, the burly runner squaring up to his tacklers and rushing for three touchdowns of 12, 18 and six yards for a 26-0 halftime lead.
“Harshaad is a heck of a runner, and he’s my Old Yeller… he’s faithful. When we give him the ball we know what we’re going to get, those tough three-to-four yards we need. Even when I tell him to look for open space, he seeks out the contact. He’s relentless.”
In the second half, Langley linebacker Ciaran Davies ripped the ball away from a Maroons’ receiver for a first down at Fulton’s 20-yard line, and a few plays later, Thomas walked into the end zone on a second-and-goal inside the one-yard line.
The major put the Saints on top 32-0 with 6:22 remaining in the third quarter.
Thomas turned a counter play into a 21-yard touchdown run with 5:28 remaining as Langley pushed its lead to 39-0.
Quarterback Josh Goesen added a score off a seven-yard keeper with 1:12 remaining to make the score 46-0.
Langley’s defence was stout throughout, twice stopping the Maroons inside their own five-yard line.
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