Bateman running back Phoenix Moller dekes around a Grizzlies defender in Chilliwack on Friday. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford Friday Football

Wolves and Hawks win, Panthers fall on home field

ROBERT BATEMAN TIMBERWOLVES – 28 G.W. GRAHAM GRIZZLIES – 27

It was billed as the B.C. high school football ‘game of the week’, and Friday night in Chilliwack lived up to the hype.

A nail-biting finale and back-and-forth action throughout saw Bateman hang on for the narrow win.

The Timberwolves led 14-13 at halftime, after a Sam Davenport touchdown reception and a special teams major.

Bateman took over in the third quarter, with running back Phoenix Moller scoring a pair of touchdowns and the Wolves led 29-13 after three.

The Grizzlies roared back in the fourth quarter, with Colby Bessett scoring on a successful quarterback sneak and Graham then took advantage of a mistimed snap by Bateman to score a safety and make the score 28-21.

Later on in the fourth quarter, it was wide receiver Logan Buchwitz catching a touchdown to make it a one point game with about two minutes left.

Graham went for the two-point convert but were unsuccessful. Bateman snagged the onside kick attempt and managed to eat up the rest of the clock after a few more nice runs from Moller.

“I’m proud of our guys and the resilience they showed,” said head coach David Mills, after the game. “When they came back we stepped up when we needed to and that was the difference for us.”

Bateman’s offence moved the ball well, both in the air and on the ground and Mills liked what he saw offensively.

“We really moved the ball today and only had to put once – which was when we gave up that safety,” he said. “Our receivers were really good today at getting open and making plays, and Logan [McDonald, quarterback] was finding them.”

Mills said Moller was a big difference maker for Bateman today.

“Our running game finally got going and if he gets a crease out there he can run people over,” he said. “We got him some room out there today.”

Mills admitted that the Grizzlies were finding holes in the Bateman pass coverage, especially in the second half. Graham used short passes to shred the Wolves coverage and pick up significant yards after the catch.

“They did a great job getting what they could,” he said. “It is and isn’t a concern for us. I would rather give up a five-yard pass than a 20-yard pass but them beating us over and over on the same play is a concern. I’m hoping we can adjust quicker with what we’re doing in the coming weeks.”

Friday’s game was the regular season opener for Bateman, and Mills said to win on the road puts his club in a good spot moving forward.

The Wolves next host Frank Hurt on Oct. 19 at 3 p.m.

ST. THOMAS MORE COLLEGIATE KNIGHTS – 21 ABBOTSFORD PANTHERS – 14

Costly mistakes in the first half saw the Panthers fall on home field to the Knights in Abbotsford on Friday afternoon.

A 60-yard punt return by Michael Simone – the player Abbotsford never wanted to kick to saw them trail 7-0, and then a late major put the Knights up 14-0 at the half.

The Panthers offence began to click in the second half, with Jalem Catlin having another big day. He scored both touchdowns and collected 175 yards rushing. Catlin scored majors in both the third and fourth quarters to draw Abbotsford within one score, but a late onside kicked ended the club’s hopes of a win.

Panthers running back Jalem Catlin shakes off a Knights defender in Abbotsford on Friday. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Defensively, it was a strong showing for the Panthers, who stuffed the Knights offence three times on fourth and short situations in the red zone. Abbotsford head coach Jay Fujimura said it was an impressive showing from his defence against a strong team like the Knights.

“The D played great,” he said. “It was probably one of their best showings of the year and to do it against a quality team too. Hopefully we can build from that as we move forward.”

Luke Szmutko led all Panthers with nine tackles.

Fujimura said the first half mistakes cost the Panthers the game.

“We had some mental errors in the first half and it made us take more time to crawl of that hole,” he said. “Our goal every week is to dominate the turnover battle and eat the clock up on offence and we didn’t do that today. The offence was making mistakes, especially in the first half, and we are not designed to be a third and long team so that cost us.”

He added that kicking to Simone could have and should have been avoided.

“The whole game we didn’t want to kick to #1 [Simone],” he said. “He’s an exceptional athlete and our game plan was to never let him have the ball, so that was a mistake.”

The Panthers regular season record falls to 2-2, and the team next takes on Centennial in Coquitlam on Oct. 19.

W.J. MOUAT HAWKS – 25 RUTLAND VOODOOS – 12

The Hawks move into first place in the Pacific conference with a big win over the Voodoos in Kelowna on Friday.

Mouat improves to a record of 5-1 with the victory. The Hawks have a bye week next week, but return to action on Oct. 26 when they host Sardis.

Complete details from the game were unavailable, but read Wednesday’s print edition of this story for more.

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