Mouat Field proved to be the recipe for success for the W.J. Mouat Hawks football club.
The Hawks hosted the Kelowna Owls for the club’s season opener on Friday, and controlled the game throughout to earn the 20-0 shutout win.
Hawks head coach Travis Bell said it was a big win for the team, which had lost the first two games of the BC high school football season.
“We needed it,” he said. “It’s been a tough start to the season. We’re down some players [with injuries] like Nelson Lokombo and Cam’ron Lobban. They didn’t play for us today but we still got the job done. I’m super proud of the guys.”
In Lokombo’s absence, running back Dylan Manocha came up big for the Hawks against Kelowna. He put the Hawks up 13-0 with a rushing touchdown in the third quarter, and had over 150 yards rushing on the game.
“He really stepped up for us tonight,” Bell said.
Receiver Tyrone Baker broke the scoreless game open late in the second quarter with a touchdown catch from quarterback Shawn Lal. Chavis Spenser then caught a 30-plus-yard touchdown from Lal in the third quarter for the Hawks. Spenser also had a big game defensively, with a pair of interceptions.
The defence were effective all night for the Hawks, preventing the Owls from scoring and making life difficult for the Kelowna quarterback. Hawks linebacker Ezra Garcia led the way with three sacks.
“We were really swarming the ball,” Bell said. “We brought a lot of pressure to them today.”
Bell said he thinks the win could be the catalyst to get the Hawks on the right track.
“We’ve had lots of injuries to start the season,” he said. “I don’t remember a season like it really. We’ve just been unable to get things going and our offence has had some issues getting some flow without those key guys. We want to build some momentum, and I think all the games we have left are winnable. But today gives us some confidence.”
Mouat improves to one win and two losses with the victory, and takes on the St. Thomas More College Knights at Mouat Field on Friday at 7 p.m.
In other local AAA action, the Abbotsford Panthers made a seamless jump to AAA competition with a 55-0 win over West Vancouver on Friday.
Panthers running back Samwell Uko scored four touchdowns in the win. Panthers quarterback Ethan Anderson threw three majors, with Tanner Marquardt grabbing two touchdowns.
The Panthers were up 47-0 at half, and the lone score in the second half came from a rushing touchdown by Brandon Sankar.
Panthers defenders Taylor Mante and Johnny Stevenson had a team-high five tackles each, and Maasin Thompson blocked a pair of punts on special teams.
The Panthers, who are now 1-0 in AAA regular season competition, host Earl Marriott on Friday at 3:30 p.m.
Over in Chilliwack, the Robert Bateman Timberwolves opened their AA season with a 32-0 loss to the G.W. Graham Grizzlies. Penalties and turnovers cost Bateman, as the team threw a pair of interceptions.
Bateman hosts Argyle Friday at 3:30 p.m.