Wolves pick up ‘W’ with an ‘A’

Playoffs loom for Abbotsford high school football teams

Bateman’s Dawson Davis stiff arms a Salmon Arm defender during high school football action on Friday.

You can’t spell Bateman without the letter ‘A’ and the Timberwolves football team highlighted that during Friday’s high school football game.

Bateman picked up a 39-0 victory against Salmon Arm on Friday, and they decided to support the Abbotsford Panthers and Abbotsford Senior Secondary in the wake of last week’s tragedy.

The Timberwolves wore a special ‘A’ logo on their helmets to show some support for their cross-town rivals, and head coach David Mills said it was all the idea of his players.

“One of our players, Terry Bagri, came up to me at practice and basically asked me what I thought about wearing the ‘A’,” he said. “I thought it was an awesome idea.”

Mills got a teacher at Bateman to design and create the decals, which they will now wear for the rest of the year.

“I’m pretty proud of them for coming up with that idea,” Mills said. “We have guys on this team who are friends with guys on the Panthers, and what happened this week was something you never want to see anyone have to go through.”

On the field, Keegan Vicklund grabbed three touchdown passes from quarterback Aiden McDonald to lead Bateman to the win. Anthony Bodger and Braeden Verleur also scored majors for the Wolves.

Vicklund also led the way defensively with a pair of interceptions. Bagri also caught two picks, with Zach Kendall and Dylan Roach recording interceptions.

“We did a good job taking the ball away and running the ball today,” Mills said. “I’d like to see us clean some of our own turnovers but you can’t really complain about a 39-0 win.”

Bateman finished the season with a record of two wins and three losses in the AA’s eastern conference, and will play the number two seed in the west next weekend to open the playoffs.

Over at Mouat Field, the Hawks lost a close game in overtime to Lord Tweedsmuir.

Mouat fell 24-21, but head coach Travis Bell said he liked his team’s efforts in the gritty loss.

“It was a pretty even game and both teams were missing key guys,” he said, pointing out that the Hawks lost star running back Nelson Lokombo to injury in the first quarter. “Other guys stepped up and it was a really fun, physical football game.”

The Hawks started out red-hot, with running back Dylan Manocha running 60 yards to score a touchdown on the game’s first drive.

Tweedsmuir’s Joel Klaassen, who had a stellar game for the visitors, responded on the very next drive to tie the game.

Manocha scored again on a 30-yard touchdown run to put the Hawks up on the next drive, but Klaassen again equaled him to tie the game at 14.

The teams didn’t score again until the fourth, when fullback Austin Lal rumbled in for a major. Tweedsmuir again tied the game on the very next drive, and the teams eventually headed to overtime.

Tweedsmuir opened with a field goal on their first possession, and Mouat threw an interception on their first drive to end the game.

Manocha carried for 120 yards in total, with Lal collecting 59 yards.

Hawks quarterback Alex Howman threw for 142 yards in the loss.

Bell said the Hawks were stuck in their playoff position regardless if they won or lost, and he decided to gamble but came up short.

Despite the loss, he said he likes the way his team is playing heading into the playoffs.

“I feel like we’re playing our best football of the season,” he said.

Mouat finished the season with a record of three wins and four losses, and they await their playoff opponent next week.

The Hawks also honoured Abbotsford Senior Secondary prior to the game with a moment of silence.

“We’re a small city and we have connections on that team and within that school,” he said. “It’s tough to imagine what they’re going through and we wanted to do something to show our support for them. Our thoughts are with them and we hope they get through this.”

The Panthers were scheduled to play against Handsworth on Monday, but both teams agreed to cancel the game.

The playoffs begin on Friday, with the Panthers taking on Tweedsmuir in Cloverdale at 2 p.m. The Hawks travel to Victoria to battle Mt. Douglas on Friday at 1 p.m, and Bateman plays Seaquam in Burnaby on Friday at 4 p.m.

In other B.C. high school football news, all-conference players were named earlier this week, with several local players being honoured.

Timberwolves quarterback Aiden McDonald and offensive lineman Andrew Schultz were both named offensive all-stars.

Defensively, Keegan Vicklund, linebacker Dawson Davis and defensive lineman Greg Poirier all received nods.

Hawks players named to the all-conference team were: Nelson Lokombo, Austin Lal and Dylan Manocha.

The Panthers had a handful of players named, including: Tanner Marquardt, Reese Morrison, James Keetch, Samwel Uko, Sahil Sahota, Gino Mayes, Maasin Thompson, Anthony Phan and Taylor Mante.