Holy Cross quarterback TJ Fujimura (11) threw a pair of touchdown passes as his Crusaders upset host John Barsby in an opening-round Subway Bowl playoff game played Friday in Nanaimo. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2019. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Football

FINAL EDITION: Varsity Letters’ 11.08.19 Friday Night Lights B.C. High School Football Report

Welcome to the post season!

Varsity Letters’ B.C. High School Football Report reports from Week 1 of the Subway Bowl playoffs.

As usual, you can check back on the posting throughout the evening with updates from games being played throughout the province.

We’ll also be back Saturday with the remainder of the first round of playoffs, all in advance of the quarterfinals next week.



NEW WESTMINSTER — When adversity hits, most teams call on the cavalry.

On Friday, as its Subway Bowl playoff season opened at home with top rusher Greyson Planinsic unable to go, the host Hyacks called on the committee.

Seven different New Westminster players carried for double-digit yardage out of the offensive backfield at Mercer Stadium, and that, coupled with a stout defence which didn’t allow a point until the final play of the game, lifted the Hyacks to a 45-6 opening-round playoff win over Port Coquitlam’s Terry Fox Ravens.

Dating back to the Hyacks’ win over the Ravens in the 2017 Subway Bowl final, it’s the team’s third straight playoff win over Terry Fox, coming on the heels of last season’s 33-0 semifinal victory.

“I am very proud of our team tonight,” said Hyacks’ head coach Farhan Lalji. “We needed a re-set button after last week (a regular season-ending loss to South Delta) and decide on the team we wanted to be. I like the group I saw tonight. We executed at a high level in all three phases, kept the penalties and turnovers to a minimum and most importantly we played for each other.”

Deakon Young stepped into Planinsic’s cleats and carried eight times for a team-high 59 yards, including a 14-yard first-quarter scamper which opened the scoring.

“Deakon played his tail off tonight in Greyson’s absence. He ran hard and stayed composed. That kid has a ton of potential over the next two seasons,” said Lalji.

“Andros (Dancey) was also very poised his first start at quarterback and gave the offence a spark,” added the coach as Dancey rushed for a two-yard score, finished with 26 yards on the ground, and later made it 21-0 with a 22-yard pick-six.

Michael Udoh rushed for 46 yards, Mahtab Garcha for 38 yards, including a two-yard touchdown, Tyson Black for 20 yards, Tristan Comia for 17 yards and Jayden Kastelein for 13 yards.

“And possibly the most encouraging part was Owen (Stark) and Pavan (Kainth) played like they did in September,” said Lalji of his two defensive ends. “Both were dominant.”

Next up? The Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers in a re-match of the Surrey squad’s season-opening victory. 

“As the playoffs progress the challenges only get bigger and we’ll need to be better against a very good Tweedsmuir team,” said Lalji. “They beat us in Week 1 and they are even better now with some dynamic athletes.”

Interestingly enough, it’s a quarterfinal battle between two teams that were ranked No. 1 at one stage or another over the course of the conference campaign.


VICTORIA — You’ve no doubt heard the age-old axiom of what it takes to win in the playoffs?

The host Rams staked an early claim to the proceedings at Goudy Field on Friday, opening the scoring with back-to-back pick-six majors en route to a decisive victory over North Delta’s visiting Seaquam Seahawks.

“Our defense set the tone early and that was key because Seaquam is a very tough team,” said Rams’ head coach Mark Townsend, whose team led 35-0 at halftime. “They showed great resilience and fought hard right to end of the game.”

Branden Turnbull opened with a 50-yard pick-six, and Joe Lucas followed with another from 40 yards out.

On offence, Peter Primeau rushed 17 times for 117 yards and three touchdowns, while Hunter Swift, who threw an 11-yard TD strike to Lucas, also rushed for 53 yards.

Cole Bunting once again led the charge for the Rams’ defense with 14 tackles. Kai Harris had eight tackles and a sack, while Lucas had five tackles.

“Now we must turn our attention to an extremely-talented St. Thomas More Knights’ team,” said Townsend of the Eastern Conference regular-season champs who will be coming in off a first-round bye. “We are in for a huge challenge.”


SURREY — Back-up quarterback Key’Shaun Dorsey threw three touchdown passes, including a pair to starting quarterback Terrel Jones as host Lord Tweedsmuir, a former No. 1-ranked team, looked every bit the part in its first-round win over the Pacific Division’s W.J. Mouat Hawks.

“We got a lot of contributions from lots of different kids today,” said Lord Tweedsmuir head coach Kurt Thornton.

In the opening quarter, running back Noah Anderson ran for a 12-yard score, while Rhys Huston took an interception 40 yards to the end zone.

In the second, a fumble by Anderson was recovered for a touchdown by Lucas Debruyn. Before the half, Jones caught a 60-yard touchdown from Dorsey. 

A 25-yard TD run by Anderson and a seven-yard scoring strike from Dorsey to Jones accounted for the Panthers’ third-quarter scoring.

In the fourth, Jaxon Stebbings hauled in a 40-yard touchdown pass from Dorsey, before Jake Taylor scooped and scored from 70 yards on a fumble forced by Taylor Briscoe.

Tremel States-Jones had seven tackles and two forced fumbles. Nathan Gernon had eight tackles.

The Panthers are set to meet New Westminster in next week’s quarterfinal round.



KAMLOOPS — Turnovers, drops, and the chance to wonder what might have been?

Abbotsford’s visiting Robert Bateman Timberwolves came perilously close to letting their season slip away Friday as their Subway Bowl playoff journey opened on the road.

Instead, after fumbling on their first two drives, one of which led to a host touchdown, and then dropping three balls behind the South Kamloops’ defensive coverage, the Wolves put their paws in the ground and made a stand.

“I am very grateful to get out of Kamloops with a win,” said Bateman head coach David Mills, whose team scored all of its eight points in unanswered fashion. “South Kam has some really good players who were playing inspired football and made life very difficult for us.”

Trailing 7-0 at the half after South Kam’s Mike MacDonald scored on a five-yard run, the Wolves made it 7-2 late in the third quarter when Grade 10 defensive end Quan Michaels blocked a South Kamloops punt for a safety.

On the following drive, they added a score off a run by quarterback Ty Martens, the latter able to seal the game late with an interception.

“That was a true playoff battle tonight,” said Titans head coach JP Lancaster. “It’s a tough pill for us to swallow right now.  Once we get past the disappointment of this one, we will see that the season was a success and that the program is moving in the right direction.”

The emotion was impossible to miss on both sides.

“I am so proud of our guys to come on the road, and to play against a very good team,” said Mills, whose Wolves next face undefeated, No. 2-ranked Ballenas in the quarterfinals. “It wasn’t the cleanest game, but we still found a way to get a gutsy win.”  

Martens rushed 15 times for 115 yards and a score, with four tackles and a pick on defence. Linebacker Phoenix Moller had nine tackles.


NANAIMO — Winless on the field for the entire month of October and playing the unenviable role of road playoff underdog Friday in the Hub City, Surrey’s Holy Cross Crusaders came up with their best performance of the season just when they needed it most.

For the first time in almost a decade, the Crusaders went into Nanaimo and beat the John Barsby Bulldogs, the victory setting up a quarterfinal clash this coming week against Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham Grizzlies.

Holy Cross quarterback T.J. Fujimura threw a 72-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter to Uyi Ologhola.

In the second quarter, Fujimura went 44 yards for the major score to Kaleb Dizon.

“That was a huge win for our boys,” said Holy Cross head coach Conrad Deugau, whose charges dropped a 16-2 decision to the Bulldogs earlier this season, also in Nanaimo. “It’s been a long time since we’ve won in Nanaimo.”

Deugau watched as the Crusaders clicked with tremendous execution in all three phases of play.

“It was a really well-played game and it was a total win for us,” said Deugau. “We executed well on offence, we were dominant on defence and our special teams were very good despite our insistence on wanting to kick-off behind our 40-yard line.”

The Bulldogs simply couldn’t gain yardage in their most familiar way.

“Holy Cross came in with a great defensive game plan and executed it to perfection,” said Barsby head coach Rob Stevenson. “We couldn’t run the ball and that has been our bread-and-butter all year. Kudos to them.  Defensively, we played tough but couldn’t catch a break on fumble recoveries and punt returns.”

The reps gained through the week of practice paid off for the winners.

“We had a game plan and practiced it all week and it showed today,” said Deugau whose seniors Landon Sommers, Silas Marchan, Ologhola, Dizon and Fujimura all shone. “The boys played within themselves and showed what we can do when we’re focused. It was the most complete game we’ve had this season from so many of our seniors.”

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