Maleek Irons looked more rested than rusty coming off a one-week midseason break, challenging his own provincial single-game rushing record on Friday as the W.J. Mouat Hawks blasted the Centennial Centaurs 63-38 in AAA high school football action.
Irons, who missed last week's game against Rutland while on a family vacation, racked up 466 yards and six touchdowns on just 15 carries vs. Centennial, and added two interceptions on defence for good measure.
It marked the senior tailback's second-best career rushing performance – he registered 491 rush yards on 48 carries in a 52-49 win over Mount Douglas on Oct. 13 of last year.
He might have surpassed that record, too, if Hawks coach Denis Kelly hadn't taken him out of the game in the third quarter with the game well in hand.
"He was just able to break into the secondary immediately, and then he's got such great speed and elusiveness," Kelly said. "The line did a nice job for him, and he broke some tackles."
It was the Hawks' final regular season game at Mouat Field, and Irons said he wanted to make it a memorable one.
"It was real special," he said, lauding the play of the Hawks' offensive line. "We were coming off a couple of tough losses a couple weeks ago to Terry Fox and Tweedsmuir, so we really had to step it up as a team."
The Hawks also got a big game from Jake Firlotte, who caught a pair of TD passes from quarterback Hunter Struthers, while Levi Hua (11 tackles, two sacks) and Clovis Lumeka (11 tackles) were outstanding on defence.
BATEMAN 41, PITT MEADOWS 25
Senior running back Ben Cummings had another big game statistically on Friday, carving up the Pitt Meadows Marauders to the tune of 372 yards and five TDs on 23 carries.
But according to Rick MacDonald, who co-ordinates the Bateman senior and junior football teams, Cummings's inspirational leadership was just as crucial as his production in a game that was closer for most of the night than the final score might have indicated.
"The whole team just didn't quit – it's like they're feeding off Ben," MacDonald said. "I talked to a couple of the guys on the sidelines and asked, 'Does he ever quit?' He's just hard-charging all the time. He leads by example."
Austen Zacher (one TD) and Gavin Rowell (five converts) rounded out the scoring for the T-Wolves, while QB Tanner Friesen completed six of eight passes for 83 yards.
Defensively, Talus Swanberg and Zacher tied for team-high honours with six tackles apiece, while Arthur Beckerleg, Daniel Mills and Sam Kuyek each had interceptions.
HANSEN 49, SAMUEL ROBERTSON TECHNICAL 6
Brad Atkinson and Alex Ho spearheaded the Rick Hansen Hurricanes' blowout win over the first-year varsity program from Samuel Robertson Technical on Saturday afternoon.
Atkinson caught five passes from quarterback Ho for 114 yards, including a trio of TDs, and added an interception on defence. Ho added two rushing TDs of his own as the Hurricanes built a 35-0 lead at halftime.
"It was a good effort offensively and defensively," Hansen coach Paul Gill said. "They couldn't move the ball on us in the first half, and we were able to get some kids into the game off the bench in the second half, which was nice."
Zach Toews also eclipsed the century mark in receiving yardage, hauling in five passes for 132 yards, while Devin DaCosta and Brandon Ho both rushed for majors.
Atkinson's pick was one of four on the day for the Hurricanes – Toews, Vishal Toor and Hamza Shah also had interceptions, while lineman Shaiheem Charles-Brown racked up five tackles and two sacks.
LANGLEY 21, ABBY SENIOR 20
Extra points might seem like a foregone conclusion in football, but they proved pivotal in the Abbotsford Senior Panthers' loss to the Langley Saints on Friday.
The Panthers had two extra-point kicks blocked, and while they got one of those back later on thanks to a two-point convert, the blocks were the difference in the end.
"I thought we played extremely well defensively," Abby Senior coach Jay Fujimura offered. "Offensively, we moved the ball up and down the field, but it came down to turnovers."
The Panthers led 20-14 in the fourth quarter, with Jordan Fox throwing a trio of TD passes to Jordan Goheen (2) and Madaraka Kuol.
But the Saints found the end zone with four minutes remaining, and took the lead with the convert.
The Panthers drove the ball down the field, but a red-zone fumble – their fourth turnover of the game – snuffed the comeback attempt.
Terrance Towes (two sacks) and Thomas Sharpe led a solid defensive effort for Abby Senior.
HANSEN, MISSION CLASH WITH FIRST PLACE ON THE LINE
The Rick Hansen Hurricanes visit the Mission Roadrunners this Saturday (1:30 p.m., Mission Secondary) in a game with major implications in the AA Eastern Conference.
Both teams are undefeated in conference play, and Saturday's game could determine the division champ.
"We need to play a full 48 minutes against them," Gill said. "We need to play a smart football game in terms of not taking stupid penalties, and we have to come up with a solid team effort in all phases of the game."
In other action, Bateman hosts Langley (Friday, 3 p.m.), Mouat visits the Kelowna Owls (Friday, 6:30 p.m.) and Abby Senior heads to Maple Ridge to take on Samuel Robertson Tech (Friday, 7 p.m.).