Welcome to another edition of the B.C. High School Football Report for Oct. 22.
Please continue to check back on this posting throughout the evening for updates from games around our province.
NEW WESTMINSTER 9 at NO. 2 NOTRE DAME 40
VANCOUVER — It took what seems like forever, yet for the crowd on hand to christen the new turf football field at Notre Dame Regional Secondary, it was well worth the wait.
After some early jitters on a field still slick from the heavy rains which had fallen, the host Jugglers (5-0) re-assumed their identity as one of the top teams in B.C. AAA football, building up a big halftime lead en route to a convincing victory over the New Westminster Hyacks (3-2).
Longtime program icon and dynastic former head coach George Oswald celebrated his 75th birthday in conjunction with the christening, and past Juggler alums like Lui Passaglia were on hand for the occasion.
What they saw was a Jugglers offence, more tied to the ground than the air this season, lean heavily on its passing game as engineered by quarterback Aiden Domino.
“There was quite a build up to the game and we started off jittery,” said Jugglers’ head coach Denis Kelly. “The rain was just letting up and the field was slick. There were nerves a little bit, but once we settled down and saw what we could do, we were fine. And the defence played very well.”
Domino passed for a pair of scores and rushed for another in leading his team to the victory.
The Hyacks, however, scored the first-ever points on the new field after the Jugglers flubbed a punt, allowing New Westminster to gain possession of the ball and eventually kick a field goal for a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
The Hyacks would later return the favour, turning the ball over at their own 25-yard line and paving the way for Domino to score on a three-yard keeper. Domino added a two-point covert for an 8-3 lead.
Notre Dame’s prized pivot was then forced to leave the game for one play on offence after having his hand stepped on.
And on that one play, receiver Massimo Ryan took control of the huddle and threw a 90-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Amenta. Kicker Noah Banco’s PAT made it 15-3 at the end of the quarter.
Domino returned no worse for wear, throwing a 62-yard scoring pass to Antonio Conte, and then a long completion to Ryan to set up Pedro Cabanas’ four-yard scoring run and a 30-3 halftime lead.
On the first play of the second half, Domino went deep on a 61-yard touchdown to Ryan for a 37-3 lead before the Hyacks scored their first major of the game to make it 37-9.
Banco’s 25-yard field goal to made the score complete.
“They were stacking up against the run so we were throwing way more than usual,” admitted Kelly as Domino put his arm to the test as part of a day in which Notre Dame put up over 300 yards of passing.
NO. 1 VANCOUVER COLLEGE 17 at NO. 3 MT. DOUGLAS 14
VICTORIA — The football rivalry between the Fighting Irish and the Rams is threatening to become one of the best in all of B.C. high school sports.
On Friday, at Royal Athletic Park in the provincial capital, Mt. Douglas senior quarterback Hunter Swift’s fourth-quarter touchdown plunge did not decide the outcome in his team’s favour, yet it gave top-ranked, undefeated and No. 1-ranked Vancouver College the tightest game it has since embarking on what is now a 16-game win streak that began back on Sept. 28 of 2019.
On that day, in fact, at VC’s O’Hagan Field, the Irish beat the Rams 35-14, and ever since, no one had come within three touchdowns of the champs until Friday.
“It was a slugfest,” admitted Irish head coach Todd Bernett after his team improves to 5-0 in Western Conference play. “Both teams played to their strength. It was a battle of identities. Multiple plays that came down to tough calls for referees and situations that could have gone either way.”
And while the Irish have spread the wealth throughout their roster, giving multiple players the opportunity to develop in those situations where ground had been gained early in games, Friday was a time for its running back Tommy Carvahlo to set a tone and be the workhorse.
Carvahlo carried 20 times for 116 yards on the day as a stout running game and a defence which finished the day with five sacks against a blue-chip foe were clearly high points for the Irish effort.
Quarterback Alex Zychlinski, who opened the scoring for Vancouver College in the first quarter on a two-yard run, finished his day going 7-of-16 for 90 yards, including a three-yard scoring strike in the third quarter to Thomas Roberts for the winning points.
Zychlinski also rushed 13 times for 72 yards.
Matthias Eastman, the durable Irish kicker, was spot-on Friday, kicking both PATs and adding what proved to be a crucial 30-yard field goal in the second quarter.
“Vancouver College played a great game on both sides of the ball and earned the victory,” said Rams head coach Mark Townsend, whose team scored its other major on special teams with a spectacular 55-yard punt return touchdown by running back Malik Gagne-Smith.
“Our players battled hard to the end,” added Townsend, whose Rams (3-2), lost a rare second-consecutive game after falling last week to then-No. 3 Notre Dame. “But too many mistakes during the course of the game was our downfall. Having said that, our kids showed a lot of grit, and we will strive to get better.”
Chris Joseph caught two passes for 60 yards and Michael Joseph four for 27 yards in the win. On defence for the winners, Lachlan Scardina and Tristan Burrell each made five tackles, while Arjan Bhullar and Iain St. Arnault each made interceptions, Bhullar returning his for 44 yards and St. Arnault for 15 yards.
“Ultimately our defense won that for us with so many consecutive stops,” said Bernett. “Not surrendering an offensive touchdown until the fourth quarter was huge in the outcome, of course.
“However, we put the game away with the run game because of our offensive line and Tommy Carvalho.”
Miltiadis Koulelis was the leading rusher for the Rams with 33 yards. Swift passed for 71 yards and rushed for a further 31 yards.
On defense for the Rams, Giovanni Linuzzi led the way with a game-high nine tackles, followed by Jacob Green and Gagne-Smith with five each, and Liam Warde, Cyrus Surerus, Sebastian Sibbald and Morgan Steves with four each.
No. 5 G.W. GRAHAM 0 at No. 4 TERRY FOX 34
COQUITLAM — In a battle of undefeated, the host Ravens leaned on a talented offensive line, a special running back and a defence led by a determined senior linebacker.
Gavin Whittingham rushed for 298 yards and four touchdowns as Terry Fox (5-0) moved into sole possession of first place in the East, blanking G.W. Graham at Percy Perry Stadium.
“That the rust from not playing last week showed with a slow start but we started coming on after the break,” commented offensive coordinator Eric Taylor, as the Ravens rushed for 351 yards on the night as a team.
Winning at the point of attack in the trenches was a Fox offensive line consisting of Axel Statton, Juan Valle, Kaiden Exner, Diego Goncalves and Maxx Hanson.
Quarterback Owen Sieben was 8-of-20 for 46 yards.
On defence, the Ravens were led by senior linebacker Alex Gagnon, who had seven tackles, nine assists, one fumble recovery, one interception, and a forced fumble.
“Terry Fox earned every yard out there” noted GWG defensive coordinator Ian Parks. “They are a very disciplined and well-coached group and No. 1 (Whittingham) is an excellent ball carrier”
GWG defensive end Vinny Branauer had 12 tackles and a sack. Corner Nick Beck defended four passes and had an interception. Tackle Kade Kelly and linebacker Braeden MacDonald each had six tackles.
CENTENNIAL 33 at W.J. MOUAT 23
ABBOTSFORD — The Centaurs (3-2) and host Hawks (1-3) were each a study in tenacity Friday, but in the end the visitors secured a vital road win to gain separation on fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
“We had to dig deep to come away with this win,” said Centaurs’ head coach Dino Geremia. “Mouat just kept coming back… every time we got a play they responded. But we had some different players making plays tonight and we needed them.”
Quarterback Malcolm Cameron went 10-for-14 for 191 passing, throwing touchdown strikes to Marcus Rafnson (17 yards) and Jeseo Kim (35 yards).
Running back Tamani Duncan carried 11 times for 113 yards, and touchdowns of 66 and 34 yards
ST. THOMAS MORE 14 at BELMONT 12
VICTORIA — Huge special teams play and the big interceptions courtesy of a hungry defence carried the Knights (1-4) past the host Bulldogs (1-4) to their first win of the season.
“I am so proud of our group to pull off this win,” said STM head coach Jared Power. “This has been a tumultuous season for this group at times and they have faced adversity. But, every time they are challenged, they step up to face the challenge head on. It just hadn’t shown up in the win column yet. It finally did tonight and I couldn’t be happier for our group. We have some resilient kids and they should be proud of themselves.”
And talking about special teams, after Belmont opened the scoring late in the first quarter, Knights’ senior linebacker Jeffrey Pacholko blocked the extra point.
A quick response in the form of a nine-yard TD run by Josh Faria early in the second quarter was converted by Luca Lanci-Roberts for a 7-6 lead.
A tight defensive battle ensued with both teams exchanging turnovers for the remainder of the half including an interception by STM’s Jack Sutherland deep in the Knights’ defensive zone.
The second half followed a similar pattern of gritty defensive football.
Belmont once again went up early in the fourth quarter, but had their two-point convert attempt stopped.
As time started to tick by Belmont was threatening to score insurance points but were stopped by an interception by Colby Coletta.
St. Thomas More took the ball down down the field, propelled by a 40-yard play-action pass by Faria down the sideline to Denayden Lee-Daniels all the way down to the Belmont three-yard line.
Faria, who would carry 14 times for 84 yards, punched in his second major with under three minutes left to go. He was also 5-of-9 for 87 yards through the air. Marco Giovanazzo rushed for 40 yards on the game.
On the defence, Quinn Walters had seven tackles and a sack, while Pacholko notched eight tackles, the blocked PAT and a fumble recovery. Brandon Johal had five tackles and two sacks.
Afterwards Power thanked coaches John Freire, Joe Adams, Ange Carteri and Steve Delazzari for everything they did to lead the team to victory.
LORD TWEEDSMUIR 21 at ABBOTSFORD 0
ABBOTSFORD — McCord Leeson threw touchdown passes of 43 yards to Nate Swing ands 57 yards to Jayden Martin as Tweedsmuir won the battle of the Panthers by shutout Friday at wet Abby Senior.
“It was a good effort in inclement weather for both teams,” said Tweedsmuir head coach Nick Kawaza, whose team improved to 4-1 in the East.
Manav Sangar accounted for Tweedy’s other touchdown when he recovered a fumble in the end zone.
Special teams play helped buoy Lord Tweedsmuir on the day.
Punter Luca Cherry was on point and Jacob King not only hit all three of his PATs, he averaged 50 yards per kickoff.
KELOWNA 30 at MISSION 10 (adds Mission quotes, stats)
MISSION — Jaeke Schlachter’s plug-and-play attitude helped the visiting Owls (2-3) pull to within a game of .500 in the East on Friday, as Kelowna kept the host Roadrunners (0-5) winless with now two more weekends of regular-season play remaining.
Schlachter, the senior receiver filling in following an injury to starter Joey Howorko, went 8-of-10 for 77 yards and two touchdowns, including a 30-yard scoring strike to Ethan Irvine which helped solidify the victory.
“I’m so proud of Jaeke Schlachter who stepped in again at quarterback,” said Owls’ boss Chris Cartwright, after his crew was blanked 24-0 by Centennial last week. “Lots of learning from last week and he came out with more confidence and led our offence.”
Jack Nyrose rushed for 102 yards and pair of scores while making 41 yards in receptions. He also added seven tackles on defence. Everett Schmuland led the defense with 11 tackles.
“This was a much needed win for us,” said Cartwright, whose charges finish the regular season with a tough two-game homestand against Lord Tweedsmuir and W.J. Mouat. “Very proud of our boys for toughing it out in the rain, again. We really saw them grind it out to get this win. That is something we are continuing to talk to our boys about as we continue to learn through this process. We know we will be facing a well-coached Lord Tweedsmuir team next week where we need to be disciplined against them.”
The story of Mission’s season is an inspiring one.
After the first week of practice, the Roadrunners were ready to fold for the season for a lack of players, but then eight international players who had never played football joined the program to keep the team a float.
“We were ready to pack it in,” says Mission head coach Danny Jakobs, “but then four Germans, one Swiss, one Japanese and one Korean player stepped up to play ‘American football’ to keep the team going.
“The learning curve was super steep because they had no clue what football was all about but those players are finally figuring it out,” Jakobs said proudly after Friday’s game. “Titus Hruby (German) had six tackles today. It’s nice to see the lightbulb turn on and see their excitement as they make plays.”
Mission running back Wes Latour took the Roadrunners’ first kick-off back for an 85-yard touchdown, but Kelowna packed the box and after quarterback Hayden Royal went down in the first quarter, they were in trouble
“Kelowna had a great game plan in stopping our run and without Hayden it was really tough sledding,” said Jakobs.
Karl Schaub (Germany) hit a 30-yard field goal to round out Mission’s scoring.
Nathan McMahon once again led the Mission defence with seven tackles, a sack and three pressures.
SULLIVAN HEIGHTS 14 at HANDSWORTH 34
NORTH VANCOUVER — It was an afternoon in which Handsworth running back Noah Brinham carried 12 times for 138 yards and three touchdowns, and the Royals (2-1) defence managed to recover turnover after turnover, including a pair deep in the red zone.
Using any predicitve football metric you care to name, such stat-stuffing exploits are surer to generate a victory and that is precisely what happened at William Griffin Park as the North Vancouverites toppled Surrey’s visiting Stars (2-2)
“I am happy that we were able to come in today and not only get our second league win of the season, but to also play a fast and physical football game,” said Handsworth head coach Darren Benning.
In addition to the steady gains of Brinham, running mate Kael Williams had three carries for 100 yards, including an explosive 94-yard scoring run.
Royals’ pivot Preston Forgie completed 9-of-14 passes for 155 yards, including a 30-yard TD pass to Connor Smith to open the scoring after the defense had recovered a fumble.
“It was a frustrating afternoon for us,” said Sullivan Heights head coach Gord Randall. “We just couldn’t get out of our own way. The offensive production was pretty comparable yardage wise, but you can’t turn the ball over as many times as we did, including twice inside their 15-yard line.
“Our inability to have any kind of an effective passing attack continues to hold us back and limit our attack,” he continued. “Despite the stacked box we still were able to run effectively in chunks and grind drives out, only to shoot ourselves in the foot instead of finishing. We challenged our guys afterwards to have a better week of practice this week, because we had attendance issues and it showed.”
The Royals played tough defense all afternoon and were led by Brennan Madill with 10 tackles and a fumble recovery while Noah Brinham had six tackles and two interceptions. Josh Durnan and Morgan Groot also played strong games and had six and four tackles respectively.
Said Randall of his team: “A standout for us on the afternoon was Josh Swart, who ran hard and made a number of key defensive stops.”
Sullivan’s Bryzen Tamani scored on a nine-yard run in the second quarter while left tackle Stephen Pineda fell on a fumble in the end zone in the fourth quarter.
No. 3 JOHN BARSBY 6 at No. 1 LANGLEY 21
LANGLEY — When you’re in the kind of undefeated groove the top-ranked ‘Birds find themselves in these days, even trickeration is executed with confident aplomb.
Langley punter Aaron Linden took a snap 25 yards on fourth down from his own six-yard line, preserving an opening-quarter drive which resulted in running back Ryan Goeson’s game-opening 31-yard touchdown run as the Thunderbirds (6-0) topped visiting Nanaimo’s visiting Bulldogs (3-3) at McLeod Stadium.
Goeson added touchdowns in each of the next two quarters for a 21-0 before Langley finally surrendered a Barsby major in the fourth.
After edging No. 2 Bateman last week, and now taking down No. 3 Barsby this week, Langley offensive coordinator Joe MacLeod admits the opposition is coming at his team hard.
“Having spent a few weeks at the top of the rankings, teams have been coming in and giving us their best shot so I am proud of our players for showing the focus and resilience we need to stay undefeated,” said MacLeod of the Langley, which was led by Goeson’s 14 carries for 138 yards and all three majors. The linebacker also added five tackles.
“That said we feel like we can still take a step forward and find another gear before we get to the playoffs,” added MacLeod. “Barsby played a physical game and our defense had a long day slowing them down. They are a tough offense to play but our defense played tenacious and got the job done and stalled out their drives.”
Reece Griffiths had 10 carries for 79 yards while adding eight tackles from his linebacking spot.
Quarterback Jordan Williams was 13-of-15 for 114 yards. Lineman Manny Fotiou 3.5 tackles and a sack.
“Very proud of our no quit mentality,” said Barsby head coach Rob Stevenson. “We spent much of the first half inside Langley’s 30 but could not kick the door down. Defensively we upped our physical game and like all tight football games it comes down to five or six plays you have to make. Langley made those plays we did not. We also have to do as better job of taking care of the football moving forward. This however will go down as the turning point in our quest to find our greatness this year. From now on we will be a team to be reckoned with.”
No. 2 ROBERT BATEMAN 7 at No. 5 BALLENAS 6
PARKSVILLE — Jagroop Bagri made the kick when it mattered most.
In a low-scoring affair and with the game on the line, Bagri made good on the point-after Micah Barker’s fourth quarter touchdown run as the visiting Timberwolves (6-1) got out of Parksville with a win after being held off the scoreboard for three-plus quarters by the host Whalers (3-4).
“I have to give a lot of credit to the Ballenas defence today, especially their defensive line,” said Bateman head coach David Mills. “We certainly had our chances offensively but just couldn’t finish on a number of drives.
“Defensively, we did a great job shutting down their bread and butter, but they made some plays in the air which gave them an early lead. But I’m proud of the resolve our team showed as the game went on. They got better, and we were able to come through when it mattered most.”
After a scoreless opening quarter, Ballenas took a 6-0 lead into the halftime on Ryker Sansbury’s 25-yard touchdown run.
The Whalers went for two, but the passing attempt on the conversion failed and the game remained scoreless until Barker’s late touchdown.
“Our defense played great and played our game plan almost to perfection, but we had too many blown assignments and missed opportunities to win the game,” admitted Ballenas assistant coach Jeremy Conn. “We have to do a better job of executing and getting on the same page. That said, Bateman is a very good team and did a great job of preparing for us.”
Indeed, stifling the Wolves’ offence was no easy task, yet Barker was held to 67 yards on 15 carries.
Jonah Anderson led the Ballenas defense with five tackles and two sacks. Enzo Agostini had five tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery. Brayden Harvey had four tackles and a sack. Kooper Chambers had seven tackles and a fumble recovery.
For Bateman’s defence, Dallas Standcumbe led the way with seven tackles a pair of picks while Nolan Watrin added another interception.
Ballenas quarterback Brayden Jupe took the reins full time and was able to complete four passes to Kyle Kearns for 97 yards and five more to Gage D’Lerma for 64 yards. Yet too many swatted or tipped passes led to the Whalers offense stalling.
No. 5 VERNON 14 at OKANAGAN MISSION 0
KELOWNA — In what is becoming a signature of their 2021 season, the Vernon Panthers prevailed in another low scoring slugfest, this one 14-0 over the Okanagan Mission Huskies.
After a scoreless half, the Panthers broke the tie when quarterback Brayden Khunkhun hit Roan Reid for a 28-yard touchdown.
Joe Murphy would put the Panthers up by two majors when he scampered in from 14 yards out.
Murphy, with 10 carries for 40 yards, and Reid with seven more for 36 yards, earned everything they got against the Huskies defence. Reid also caught seven passes for 85 yards as quarterbacks Jake Farrell and Khunkhun combined for 177 through the air on the day.
“We needed a spark in the second half and our defense gave it to us with three interceptions,” said Panthers’ head coach Sean Smith. “I was happy to see Mats Friesen get a pick that really got us going.”
Enrique Segal, Justin Ruscheinsky and Murphy also came away with interceptions. Reid and Murphy had four tackles apiece.
“We still have a lot of work to do but this was a gritty win under some tough circumstances,” said Smith. “We had three two-way starters who were not able to suit up and it tested our depth and play-making ability,
“Still, I thought Braden Khunkhun did a great job coming in cold to drive us down the field twice in the second half. Joe Murphy had some good runs with minimal practice time at the position. We weren’t pretty but we got the job done.”
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