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Abbotsford’s Bateman Timberwolves lose championship game in overtime heartbreaker

Timberwolves lose 40-38 in overtime to North Vancouver’s Carson Graham Eagles at BC Place
Bateman’s A.J. Nguyen tries to punch the ball loose during the AA Coastal Division final against Carson Graham on Saturday (Dec. 4). (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

It’s a stinging feeling that has become, unfortunately, one all too familiar feeling for head coach David Mills and the Robert Bateman Timberwolves senior varsity football team.

Another excellent regular season saw the Wolves qualify for the championship game at BC Place for the second time since 2018, but similar to that season the club ultimately came up short - losing a heartbreaker 40-38 in overtime.

The team had a sloppy first half, committing three turnovers and trailing 26-14 after two quarters. Carson Graham managed to slice through Bateman’s defence with its passing led by quarterback Logan Mellish - who was named the game’s most valuable player.

The second half was a more focused offensive effort, as they got running back Micah Barker going. His rushing yards eventually led two touchdowns - one for Barker himself and one for wide receiver Braden Tuchscherer.

They led 29-26 early into the fourth, but Carson Graham replied with a touchdown to go up 32-29. A final minute drive for Bateman saw the team march all the way down to the goal line, but ultimately they could not punch in a touchdown. With five seconds left on the clock and facing a fourth and goal situation, Bateman elected to kick a field goal and send the game to overtime after a 32-32 tie at regulation time.

B.C. high school football uses a Kansas City shootout format, allowing to begin drives at the oppositions 10-yard line and they get four down to score. After every score the ball is moved back 10 yards. Carson Graham scored a touchdown and a successful two point convert on their first possession to go up 40-32.

Bateman had to match that offensive output or the game was over. Quarterback Nolan Watrin rushed in a touchdown, but the two-point convert was no good and that ended the game.

RELATED: Bateman falls to Vernon in provincial final

Mills said he had no regrets about the call to go for the field goal. He stated he has full confidence in his kicker and wanted to give his team the chance to win in overtime.

“If we didn’t go for the field goal or not we would have been doing the same thing,” he said, alluding to the fact that the game ended in a similar fashion to how it would have ended had they opted to go for it on fourth down.

He said his team didn’t play well enough in the first half and that ultimately cost them the game.

“It’s a four quarter game and you can’t just play the last two quarters,” he said. “The first half was a bit of a whirlwind for us. We got a couple of bad breaks - fumbles and some onside kicks and a trick play for them that we practiced against that they connected with.”

Despite the loss, Mills said he’s got nothing but good things to say about the team’s play this year. They finished with an impressive overall record of 7-2 and also have a number of Grade 11 and 10 players that will likely be back.

“I’m very proud of my guys but right now it really hurts to lose,” he said.

Bateman got touchdowns from Barker (two), Watrin (two) and Tuchscherer. Watrin also grabbed an interception. Bateman lineman Logan Thiessen was recognized after the game as the most outstanding lineman for the day.

Bateman’s Micah Barker finds open space. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Bateman’s Braden Tuchscherer fights for yardage. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Bateman’s Brandon Groening tries to find space offensively against the Eagles. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Bateman’s A.J. Nguyen avoids a Graham defender. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Bateman’s Taejshon Catlin rushes for yards against the Eagles. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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