Falling short in a provincial championship game is a result which surely stings, but finishing second in B.C. is an accomplishment worth applauding.
That’s the situation four Abbotsford football teams found themselves in last week, as they settled for runner-up results in their respective B.C. school and community finals.
• The Abbotsford Senior Panthers took on the Mission Roadrunners in the junior varsity AA final on Saturday at B.C. Place Stadium, and dropped a 22-8 decision to their local rivals.
The Panthers battled the Roadrunners to an 8-8 stalemate at the half, after quarterback Grayson Marquardt tore off a 45-yard run to the two yard line and Chase Claypool ran it into the end zone on the next play. Claypool also rushed for the two-point convert.
But early in the third quarter, Marquardt was knocked out of the game with a leg injury, and Mission pulled away with a pair of long touchdown drives.
“That was the turning point of the game,” Abby coach Rick Funk said of the Marquardt injury. “We just couldn’t get any offensive traction after that.”
The Panthers won the Bill Diett Memorial Trophy as the most sportsmanlike team in the province.
• The Eugene Reimer Ravens battled their way to the Grade 8 AA final for the first time in program history, but a slow start cost them in a 21-0 loss to the H.D. Stafford Skyhawks of Langley.
Playing at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex last Thursday, the Skyhawks returned the opening kickoff for a TD. The Ravens fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and while they stopped Stafford on that drive – and three others from inside their own 30-yard line – they simply weren’t able to get going offensively.
• On the community football scene, the Abbotsford Falcons bantam squad fell 36-0 to the South Delta Rams in the B.C. final at Langley’s McLeod Stadium on Sunday.
Head coach Khul Sanghera was seeking a second B.C. title after winning a peewee championship in 2009, but the Falcons simply ran into a buzzsaw of a Rams squad.
“They were a tough team, and they played well,” said Sanghera, whose team got solid performances from running back Slater McRae and defensive lineman Phillip Cromwell. “Our kids played as good as they could play, and we came in pretty prepared. But with some penalties and mistakes, it kind of snowballed.”
• Geroy Simon is one of the Canadian Football League’s all-time great receivers, and it turns out he can coach the game as well.
The Cloverdale Bobcats, helmed by B.C. Lions star Simon, blanked the Falcons peewees 22-0 in the provincial final.
“Geroy was classy all the way, shaking hands with all the players,” Falcons coach David Smith said. “They didn’t really let on that it was a big deal, but you could tell it was a big deal.
“We had a lot of trouble moving the ball on offence, but our defence was actually pretty stellar. The score was actually kind of deceiving.”
Abby linebacker Ebiye Akoko picked up a team MVP award, while Blake Neufeld was named most sportsmanlike player and kicker Sam Davenport also excelled.