“The Replacements” was the title of a football comedy starring Keanu Reeves, but it could also double as the theme of the weekend for two of Abbotsford’s senior high school football teams.
On Friday evening, the Robert Bateman Timberwolves lost star running back Ben Cummings to injury in the second quarter of their crosstown rivalry clash with the Abby Senior Panthers. But in his absence, Talus Swanberg stepped up in a big way, racking up 130 rush yards to spark the T-Wolves to a 20-6 triumph.
“He had some big shoes to fill, and I think he did an excellent job,” said Bateman coach Alfred Brathwaite, whose squad also got touchdowns from Tanner Friesen (2) and Daniel Mills to overcome a determined Panthers team.
“And our defence played an excellent game.”
It was similar story across town at W.J. Mouat Secondary, where the AAA No. 5-ranked Hawks were missing their own elite rusher on Saturday vs. the Rutland Voodoo – Maleek Irons was away on a family vacation.
But Jacob Dodd picked up the slack, rushing for 60 yards and four TDs on just eight carries. He added a fifth major on a pass from QB Hunter Struthers.
“He’s been a very good outside linebacker for us all season long, but he got the opportunity to play both ways vs. Rutland, and he did an outstanding job,” said Mouat coach Denis Kelly, whose team also got big games from Manpreet Chhina (120 rush yards and one TD) and Jake Firlotte (55-yard interception return for a TD).
In other action, the AA No. 5-ranked Rick Hansen Hurricanes ran their winning streak to five games, beating Pitt Meadows 23-7.
Devin DaCosta had a huge outing, rushing for 149 yards and a TD on 20 carries, while Alex Ho threw a scoring pass to Ricky Bhadesh and ran for a score himself. Brad Atkinson caught five passes for 110 yards and paced the defence with seven tackles.
The Hurricanes scored on their first three possessions en route to 450 yards of net offence, but coach Paul Gill noted that penalties slowed them down in the second half.
“Offensively we started strong, but we need to finish strong,” he said.
• This week, Mouat is at home vs. the Centennial Centaurs (Friday, 7:30 p.m.), while Hansen hosts Samuel Robertson Technical (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.).
Bateman and Abby Senior are both on the road – the T-Wolves visit Pitt Meadows (Friday, 7:30 p.m.) while the Panthers take on the Langley Saints (Friday, 3 p.m., McLeod Athletic Park).