High school football: Rams stun top-ranked Hawks in AAA semis
It was a result no one would have predicted.
The W.J. Mouat Hawks and Mount Douglas Rams had combined to author a trilogy of hard-fought, nail-biting games over the past two high school football seasons, but Saturday's B.C. AAA semifinal was hardly a classic.
The No. 3-ranked Rams dominated from the outset, racing out to a 41-0 lead en route to a stunning 41-15 upset win over the No. 1-ranked Hawks.
"On the night, we weren't up to the challenge," Mouat head coach Denis Kelly analyzed. "You've got to give credit to them. They came out with a lot more energy and a lot more intensity at the start.
"We couldn't really establish our game, and moreover, we had real trouble stopping them."
After the Hawks came up empty on their first drive, the Rams took a 7-0 lead on a long touchdown run from Marcus Davis. But it was what happened next that really altered the complexion of the game.
Mount Douglas attempted – and recovered – two consecutive onside kicks. They turned both of those plays into TDs, and suddenly Mouat was down 21-0.
The Rams kept the pedal to the metal, stretching the lead to 41-0 before Mouat finally got on the board late in the third quarter on a 53-yard pass from Mario Narte to Keenan Godden.
Maleek Irons, Mouat's star tailback who had set a new provincial single-season rushing record last week, rounded out the scoring with a TD run late in the fourth quarter. He finished with 120 yards on 18 carries.
The Hawks' defensive leaders were Taylor Hinton (12 tackles), Crysthian Rivas (eight tackles) and Nick Westad (seven tackles).
The Rams advance to the AAA Subway Bowl next week against the Vancouver College Fighting Irish after adding a lopsided chapter to a rivalry with Mouat which had previously been defined by close games.
Mouat edged the Rams 52-49 back on Oct. 13, but just like last season, Mount Douglas got the win when it really mattered.
"After they recovered the kicks, we really showed no ability to stop them," Kelly noted. "It was an uphill battle from the get-go, and we were never able to get into our system of ball control that was so successful during the year.
"But we still managed to have a very good year. Making it to the semifinals was a good accomplishment for our team."
Mouat's Crysthian Rivas (2) tries to get a handle on Mount Douglas running back Mason Swift. (Rod Wiens photo)