Playing through sheets of driving rain on Friday evening in North Vancouver, the W.J. Mouat Hawks' vaunted rushing attack was waterproof.
With running back Maleek Irons leading the charge as usual, the Hawks routed the host Handsworth Royals 50-22 in the B.C. AAA high school football quarter-finals.
The game wasn't necessarily as close as the final score might suggest – Mouat led 43-0 in the third quarter before putting in their backups. Irons had racked up 243 rushing yards and four touchdowns on just 17 carries, highlighted by a 98-yard run to open the scoring in the first quarter.
"He's powerful enough to run anyway, and they were slipping and sliding trying to get him," Hawks coach Denis Kelly noted.
"It was just terrible rainfall . . . hours and hours of rain. It was probably worse for them than us, because they have a strong passing game and they were having trouble executing. They just couldn't stop us – we were running basically at will on them."
Slater McRae and Jacob Dodd also notched rushing majors for Mouat, while quarterback Hunter Struthers went 5-for-5 for 106 yards with a 50-yard scoring pass to tight end Jake Firlotte. Struthers also ran for a two-point convert.
The Hawks' defence came up with three interceptions, courtesy Providence Ndizeye, Clovis Lumeka and Manpreet Chhina, and Adam Coates booted six converts.
No. 3-ranked Mouat moves on to face No. 2 Terry Fox of Port Coquitlam in the semifinals on Saturday at UBC (7:30 p.m. kickoff). The Ravens won the last meeting between the two teams, 17-7 back on Oct. 4, but Kelly noted both squads have evolved since then. The Hawks, for their part, were missing standout linebacker/receiver Lumeka in the earlier meeting, and will benefit from having him back for the rematch.
"I think we've improved quite a bit, and so have they," Kelly said. "It'll be an interesting game."
SUN DEVILS BURN HURRICANES
Abbotsford's other senior high school football team still in the playoffs, the Rick Hansen Hurricanes, saw their season come to an end with a road loss to the South Delta Sun Devils in the AA quarter-finals.
The Hurricanes got off to a slow start as the Sun Devils built a 25-0 lead at halftime, but scored a pair of quick TDs to open the third quarter and give rise to comeback hopes.
On the ensuing South Delta drive, Hansen forced the Sun Devils into a third and long situation, but Jack MacDonald shook loose for a back-breaking 70-yard major.
The 'Canes went on to lose 46-20, despite a trio of TD passes from Alex Ho to Brad Atkinson (2) and Zach Toews.
"Fundamentally, we just didn't do the things we needed to do," Hansen coach Paul Gill said. "We just failed to deliver in critical moments – catching the ball, tackling, blocking."