Argyle's long-striding Ryan Holden snared a pair of 30-yard touchdown passes Friday in the Pipers' win over Windsor. (Photo by Blair Shier property of Blair.photo 2021. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Football

Varsity Letters’ 10.01.21 ‘A day late, but not a dollar short’ edition of the Friday Night Lights’ B.C. High School Football Report!

Welcome to the one-day-later version of the B.C. High School Football Report’s Friday Nights Lights edition.

Thanks to all for understanding my previously-scheduled engagement with UBC football. We are back to our normal schedule for the remainder of the season.

And thanks this week to Varsity Letters’ kind photographic contributors: Blair Shier, Joanne Hewitt, Rick Macdonald and Becky Severy. These and all photographs and photo-graphics appearing in Varsity Letters are protected images. Respect their craft!

FRIDAY

AAA WEST

No. 3 NOTRE DAME 15 at ST. THOMAS MORE 0

BURNABY — Notre Dame wins by default as injuries prevented St. Thomas More from fielding a full team.

No. 1 VANCOUVER COLLEGE 35 at NEW WESTMINSTER 0

NEW WESTMINSTER — On Friday night, defence and special teams reminded the offence that there are two other phases capable of making a point or more.

Callum Hansen took the game’s opening kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown and Lachlan Scardina returned a fumble recovery 36 yards for another, as No. 1 Vancouver College built a 14-0 lead before it’s offence even had a chance to take to the field at Mercer Stadium en route to a shutout win over the host New Westminster Hyacks.

After that?

As well as the Hyacks were able to steady themselves, it was a tough hole to climb out against an Irish team whose streak of wins does more than suggest it has picked up where it left off after its dominant 2019 season.

“We played a clean game without many penalties but a couple of early mistakes allowed VC to get a jump that we weren’t able to recover from,” said Hyacks’ head coach Clint Uttley.

“Both our offence and defence played well at times tonight and made VC work,” continued Uttley “We just weren’t able to put the whole thing together and play a complete game. Our offence was able to make some plays and did find some running rhythm early in the first half but never able to capitalize.”

Vancouver College, as part of a night in which it outgained New West 347 yards to 157, scored twice in the second quarter to lead 28-0 at halftime.

Tommy Carvalho struck on a 57-yard run, while Isaac Antilla carried from a yard out into the end zone.

Antilla carried nine times for 91 yards and Carvalho four times for 67.

Michael Jospeh’s 37-yard TD catch in the third quarter from Alex Zychlinski rounded out the scoring, converted by kicker Matthias Eastman, who made good on all five of his PAT attempts.

“Our defence faced a challenge tonight because the Hyacks really committed to the run,” said Irish head coach Todd Bernett of New Westminster’s Jairus Pagtakhan, Lucas Steele and quarterback Harj Grewal who combined on 25 carries for 76 yards.

“(Defensive coordinator) Ron Turner got things figured out and we tightened up and kept them off the scoreboard. But it was by no means a shutdown performance by us.”

Alex Kahwaji led the Irish with six tackles, while Chris Joseph, Scardina, Tristan Burrell and Arjan Bhullar all added five apiece.

“Offensively our execution is inconsistent, and this might be due to these young men working back into football rhythm after not having played last year,” added Bernett of his team. “We are all trying to be patient with ourselves and focus on our positives, which includes having multiple weapons to rely on for playmaking.”

AAA PACIFIC

HANDSWORTH 13 at EARL MARRIOTT 26

SURREY — The Mariners enjoyed some signature moments Friday, gaining not only their first win in two seasons, and scoring their first points of their season, but notching their first win for head coach Todd Fenwick.

The Mariners endured a tough first half, trailing 7-6 at the break after a pair of critical drops and stout defence by the Royals.

“It was a tremendous show of resilience from our team,” said Mariners’ assistant JC Abbott. “The kids never lost hope and took it upon themselves to create their own crowd noise, chanting incessantly to cheer on the defence and keeping the energy high on the sideline.”

When things finally got around to clicking for the offence, the points came quickly and the momentum was entirely one-sided, save for a insane catch in the end zone by Handsworth on a twice deflected Hail, Mary with 20 seconds left.

“I’m very pleased we did not give up and kept the foot on the gas all game, with our Grade 9’s stepping up for us,” said Fenwick. “We really are coming together as a family right now.”

Unveiling its new audible-centered offence, Grade 11 quarterback Bud Beliveau seized the reins and passed for 203 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but also smartly leaned on the run-game when needed.

The result?

Six different Marriott ball carriers combining for 211 yards on the ground, including 45 from Beliveau himself. Grade 10 Kelsey Munro also got under centre late, tossing the final 10-yard touchdown late in the fourth.

Two players in particular separated themselves with exceptional performances.

Grade 11 LB/RB CJ Augustine announced his presence in a big way, making two catches for 64 yards and a score, carrying seven times for 53 yards and a touchdown, and adding three tackles and a sack on defence.

Augustine’s 45-yard touchdown catch rallied the emotions of the entire team, as he high-pointed the football for an impressive grab.

Defensively, Grade 12 outside linebacker Jaden Ackerman was a force to be reckoned with, leading the team with nine tackles, several for big losses, and an interception, as well as adding a 35-yard catch. 

Other stat lines of note included Armaan Gill with six catches for 61 yards and a touchdown, plus an interception, Aiden McInnes with another pick and a 23-yard run, and Carter Fenwick with five carries for 53 yards. Jakob Doucetter and Rylan Bennett had sacks and Lucas Biondic sealed the deal in the fourth quarter with a juggling 35-yard touchdown catch down the left sideline.

SULLIVAN HEIGHTS 37 at NANAIMO DISTRICT 0

NANAIMO — It took the Stars 22 games to get their first-ever victory.

Game 23 on Friday in the Hub City, however, saw them put together their first-ever win streak.

“Nanaimo has a young squad this year, but they have given us significant trouble in our first couple of years, and with the long trip you never really know how ready to play you’ll be,” said head coach Gord Randall after his team put it together in all phases for a decisive shutout win over the Islanders. “Fortunately we skipped the Triple O’s on the way over and took care of business early.”

Sullivan Heights came out strong, taking the ball on the opening kickoff and driving down the field in four plays for the major, capped by a 36-yard touchdown reception by Josh Boyd

Bryzen Tamani then added touchdown runs of 33 and six yards on the next two possessions, and converted two-of-three two-pointers for a 23-0 lead after one.

In the second quarter, Sullivan Heights scored on a 31-yard touchdown pass to Josh Boyd from Sahil Shah. The latter later called his own number on a two-yard touchdown run.

“Sullivan showed up to play hard,” said Nanaimo District coach Nate Stevenson.

Defensively, the Stars were led by a strong performance up front by Avery Boyd and Vrix De Pano, and Josh Swart added an interception.

“Our week of defensive practice, despite the score, showed on the field,” maintained Stevenson who got seven tackles from middle linebacker Brady Doyle, and a combined nine from defensive ends Hugh Macconnachie and Parker Windsor. “Alignments and assignments were looking good but we do need to solidify our tackling. Offensively, we are trying our darndest to find ourselves, even this late in the season. A positive is the underclassmen are getting a ton of full-speed game reps and that can only pay off in the future years.”

With two-game win streak, the Stars look ahead to a new challenge this coming week.

“I’m very happy with the confidence, focus and energy we’re playing with right now,” added Randall, whose team gets a huge challenge next week from the Sardis Falcons.

Sullivan Heights and Sardis began play as varsity teams together in the 2018 season.

AAA EAST

LORD TWEESDSMUIR 27 at MISSION 8

MISSION — McCord Leeson brought efficiency to the fore Friday as the Lord Tweedsmuir quarterback helmed its offence from the quarterback position.

Leeson went 8-of-11 for 126 yards, including a touchdown pass to Jace Atkinson, and also rushed for a pair of scores in leading Surrey’s Panthers to a win over the host Roadrunners.

“We were happy with our effort against a feisty Mission team,” said LT head coach Nick Kawaza after the game. “As we move forward we need to improve our focus and eliminate mental mistakes.”

Reggie Elie, stellar on defence for the winners, helped set the table on offence with 10 carries for 108 yards. Atkinson’s effort included five catches for 65 yards while Nate Swing caught two passes for 36 yards.

Defensively, Jaxon Allen with two sacks, Ede Amiose with eight tackles and Dallas Weismiller with two interceptions and a 27-yard return for a score led the way. Kicker Jacob King was good on three of his four PAT’s.

“LT is always a physical, well-coached team and I’m proud how our young team responded today,” said Mission head coach Danny Jakobs. “It certainly is a rebuilding year but our young players are getting better every game.”

Ethan Gailey led the Roadrunners in tackles (seven) and rushing (62 yards).

“He’s been a fantastic two-player for us,” said Jakobs.

Hayden Royal called his own number from two yards out for the team’s lone major score.

Nathan McMahon sacked Leeson in the end zone for a safety. Wes Latour rushed for 42 yards on 10 carries and added two receptions for 16 yards.

W.J. MOUAT 22 at ABBOTSFORD 8

ABBOTSFORD — A Trey magnificent performance early, and a second-half show of shutout defence carried the visiting Hawks to a win over its crosstown rivals, the Panthers.

Grade 10 standout Trey Luesley, who would go on to carry nine times for 90 yards and finish with 102 all-purpose, rushed for touchdowns of 20 and five yards on the Hawks’ first two possessions, building all the cushion they’d need to get past a young-and-improving Panthers’ squad.

Mouat’s offence would then stall and not score for the rest of the half as penalties, missed blocking assignments and poor protection became the norm in both the second and third quarters.

Caden Martens, who rushed 19 times for 96 yards, added a touchdown for the winners in the third quarter.

Nixon Unger with six tackles and a sack, along with Logan Kang-Vinnish with five tackles, paced the Mouat defence.

Terry Fox’s Cameron Neal was a big-play receiver again Friday at Kelowna’s Apple Bowl as PoCo’s visiting Ravens were victorious over the Owls at the Apple Bowl. (Photo by Becky Severy property of Terry Fox athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)

No. 4 TERRY FOX 45 at KELOWNA 8

KELOWNA — The visiting Ravens unleashed an aerial attack Friday at the Apple Bowl, engineered by quarterback Owen Sieben and his sure-handed receivers.

Seiben went 15-of-21 for 298 yards and four touchdowns, including one to receiver Mathieu Gale, whose seven catches and one touchdown were among the game’s many offensive bright spots.

“Some of his catches have been spectacular and he is making tough catches with blanket coverages,” said Terry Fox head coach Tom Kudaba of Gale who finished with 118 yards in receptions.

Cameron Neal also was a force with two catches and 98 yards, setting the table nicely by taking his team inside the five-yard line on both occasions.

Sieben was later replaced by grade 10 pivot Renzel Arinaza who threw a scoring strike to Xyon Fleary and ran the ball himself for 37 yards.

Running back Gavin Whittingham had 11 carries for 68 yards and two scores.

Devon Crenshaw pitched in from the defensive side, recovering a fumble and taking it 20 yards to the end zone.

“This was a tough loss,” admitted Owls’ head coach Chris Cartwright. “Some mental mistakes took over and we had a tough time getting a consistent drive on offence.”

Joey Howroko was 7-of-14 for 99 yards and threw a 51-yard strike to Jaeke Schlachter for the Owls’ only touchdown. Jack Nyrose ran in the ensuing two-point convert.

Ethan Irvine and Austin Wright led the Owls defence with six tackles each.

Defensive for the Ravens, linebacker Alex Gagnon had six tackles and a sack, and defensive End Axel Statton four tackles and a sack. Isaiah Cooper chipped in with six tackles and a forced fumble. Tackle Juan Valle had two pass knockdowns as he proved a disrupting force, getting into the offensive backfield to pressure Howroko.

“This was another learning opportunity for our players to take into next week,” said Cartwright. “Reflecting on how we do things is something we will continue to do and move forward. I feel that we have the players and ability reach our goals.”

Under the hold of Theo Smith (7), Tyson Kelly boots the field goal that carried G.W. Graham to victory over Centennial with three seconds remaining Friday in a AAA East clash at Chilliwack’s Exhibition Stadium. (Photo by Joanne Hewitt property of G.W. Graham athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)

CENTENNIAL 13 at No. 5 G.W. GRAHAM 16

CHILLIWACK — It’s becoming more and more apparent how much Coquitlam’s Centaurs have come into their own this season.

Yet so too have Chilliwack’s undefeated Grizzlies, and on Friday at Exhibition Stadium, the ranked hosts took care of business with a last-second victory from Tyson Kelly.

G.W. Graham’s Kelly booted a 21-yard field goal with three seconds remaining as the Grizz staved off a furious rally from 13 down by the Centaurs.

“We made some mistakes tonight but when the defence had to make a play late in the game, when the Centaurs were inside our 10-yard line, the boys gave our offence one last chance to win the game” remarked GWG defensive coordinator Ian Parks, who spoke as the crowd of almost 1,000 fans filed out of the stadium.

“The home crowd was electric tonight – and there is nothing quite like the crowd rushing on the field after a win the way they did tonight,” he said.

The Grizzlies offence was once again led by running back Sam Mannes with 15 carries for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Mannes added three receptions for 81 yards.

Centennial’s Ziad Sabry led the Centennial rally, carrying 20 carries for 203 yards, including touchdowns from 73 and seven yards which eventually knotted the game at 13-13.

“Both teams had drives stall before Sam Mannes broke off a huge 65-yard screen run and put the Grizzlies deep in Centaurs territory with less than a minute to play, setting the stage for Kelly’s heroic kick.

“The defence came up so big when we were deep in our zone, and Sam did what he does and found enough space to make a huge play,” noted Grizzlies’ head coach Luke Acheson. “We had to fight hard to come away with a win against a well-coached and talented team.”

Grizzlies’ quarterback Lucas Feaver was 17-of-25 for 208 yards and two interceptions. Kelly, in addition to kicking the winning field goal, had five receptions for 71 yards.

“After falling behind in the first half 13-0 we showed a ton of character to come back and have opportunities to win,” said Centennial head coach Dino Geremia. “It was a battle all night and a tribute to both teams.”

Cam Keeskotogan had another strong game on defence for Centennial with five tackles while Nathan Chalmers had four tackles and an interception. Sabry added nine tackles and returned two kick-offs for 48 yards.

Defensively the Grizzlies were led by safety Josh Caverly and linebacker Logan Tocher with seven tackles each. Caverly also had an interception. Corner Nick Beck returned from injury and led the secondary with five tackles and three passes defenced. Defensive end Vinny Branauer had five tackles and two tackles for loss.

Taking a hand-off from quarterback Nolan Watrin, Robert Bateman running back Micah Barker digs in as part of a day in which rushed for three scores in the Wolves victory in Nanaimo against the John Barsby Bulldogs. (Photo by Rick MacDonald property of Robert Bateman athletics 2021. All Rights Reserved)

AA COASTAL

No. 2 ROBERT BATEMAN 35 at JOHN BARSBY 16

NANAIMO — When Robert Bateman head coach David Mills tells you that you need to throw everything at the John Barsby Bulldogs to come up with a win, he means it.

“Kudos to our drum-line who made the trip on the ferry to come and support our team because we could feel their energy,” Mills said after the No. 2-ranked Timberwolves got a similarly-metronomic effect from its run game en route to a 19-point win over its Hub City hosts.

“I am so proud of our team,” continued Mills, whose team scored all five of its touchdowns along the ground, including three by Micah Barker.

“Whenever you play Barsby it is going to be a tough, physical, dog-fight of a game, and this lived up to that billing,” the coach added. “Our offensive line did an outstanding job of paving the way for our backs and our defensive front-eight did a good job staying disciplined and matching the physicality of the Barsby offence.”

Quarterback Nolan Watrin, as well as Taejshon Catlin also rumbled for majors in a game the Wolves led 28-8 after Catlin’s third major of the day opened the second half-scoring.

“Bateman dominated the clock with a lopsided amount of long possessions,” admitted Barsby head coach Rob Stevenson. “They ran the ball very well against us and were opportunistic with the play action pass and with RPO’s to their outside receivers. We were able to throw the ball pretty consistently versus them, but they did a number on our run game today.”

And it’s an age—old truism that nothing is more deflating to a defence than a consistent rushing attack, especially when set against a ticking fourth-quarter clock.

“It’s a hard game to watch when your opponent is gutting you with the run,” said Stevenson, never one to mince words. “We will get better and look forward to our big rivalry game with Ballenas next week.”

Barsby touchdowns came from a 15-yard pass from Tyler Moscrip to Kai Rednour-Bruckman, and a two-yard run  on a 15-yard slant from QB Parker Moscrip and a two-yard run by wingback JD Mazur.

WEST VANCOUVER 14 at No. 4 BALLENAS 39

PARKSVILLE — The Ballenas Whalers’ Kyle Kearns took the opening kick-off 75 yards down the sideline, setting an early tone that carried Parksville’s finest to a comfortable win over the visiting Highlanders.

Ballenas, in fact, would tack on two more scores to lead 22-0 after the first quarter as special teams and defence put quarterback Ryker Sansbury in the perfect place to work his offence.

First, Sansbury would connect on a 22-yard strike with Reme Conway, then after an interception and subsequent 22-yard return by Greg D’Lerma, Sansbury would connect on a 57-yard strike to Ayden Chambers. Sansbury added two-point coverts on the team’s first two scores.

A safety by Enzo Agostini, and a recovered onside kick which led to a three-yard Sansbury plunge and subsequent two-point covert pass to Conway made it 32-6.

Sansbury would close the scoring with a two-yard sneak, the PAT added by Carter Brett.

On the day, Sansbury went 8-of-17 passing for 130 yards in the air and two touchdown passes. Brayden Harvey and Kooper Chambers led the team in tackles with four tackles apiece. 

“We were really proud of our kids as they executed the game plan really well in all phases,” said Ballenas assistant coach Jeremy Conn. “It’s so much fun to be coaching when things going according to plans.”

Added West Vancouver head coach David Hollinshead: “We learned a lesson today. Ballenas out-played us and out-coached us. After they took that opening kickoff for a touchdown, we were fighting ourselves to get back into it.”

Matthieu Theil threw for 150 yards including a scoring strike to Tomo Hursthouse. The pivot also called his own number for a major score.

No. 5 CARSON GRAHAM 26 at HOLY CROSS 14

SURREY — Playing the No. 1-ranked AAA Vancouver College Fighting Irish and the No. 1-ranked AA Langley Thunderbirds and absorbing resounding L’s in the process have steeled the mettle of North Vancouver’s Eagles.

A tough September now in their rearview mirror, Carson Graham got a new month underway in Surrey on Friday with a victory over the Crusaders.

“We rebounded well after a slow start and were able to execute better as the game progressed,” said Carson head coach Brian Brady in a post-game quote which could well have doubled for the team’s overall start.

Quarterback Logan Mellish was at his best both through the air (16-of-22 for 301 yards and two touchdowns) and along the ground (13 carries for 73 yards and one touchdown).

And he spread the aerial karma between his two 100-yard-plus receivers. Aidan Nemeth had six catches for 136 yards and a score, while Griffin Withers snared five for 101 yards and a score.

Defensive ends Obinna Ikediashi (nine tackles) and Aleks Wallace (four tackles, two sacks, one fumble recover, one forced fumble), along with linebacker Ryan Corda (eight tackles, one sack) spearheaded a defence which met with favour from Brady.

“I’m happy with the way our defence flowed to the ball,” he said. “It was exciting to see some individual players have breakthroughs, but we also got better as a team and we’re looking forward to our game next week against West Van.”

Holding on through the contact, Argyle receiver Ryan Bergot is the picture of concentration Friday in his team’s Coastal AA win over Windsor. (Photo by Blair Shier property of Blair.photo 2021. All Rights Reserved)

WINDSOR 8 at No. 5 ARGYLE 27

NORTH VANCOUVER — Behind a defence that forced three turnovers and made two successful fourth-down stands, the host Pipers were able to walk off William Griffin Field as winners in the latest chapter of its ongoing rivalry with the crosstown Windsor Dukes.

Defensive end Dylan Woodward had a big day for the winners with a pair of sacks, one of which forced a fumble that was recovered by JV call-up Nikita Vista. As well, linebacker Chase Nadin came up with a big interception for the Pipers.

Argyle opened the scoring on a field goal by Tyson Bergot.

After that, Argyle quarterback Max Bougie got to work.

Bougie threw a pair of touchdown passes, each of 30 yards, to Ryan Holden. Bougie also rushed for one major, then capped the game by finding Bergot who made a spectacular grab just inside the end zone.

Sean Cullen played a stellar two-way game for Argyle, making a critical 25-yard catch on fourth down to keep a third-quarter drive alive, setting the stage for the Bergot touchdown.

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