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Abbotsford’s Robert Bateman Timberwolves advance to final

Bateman defeats John Barsby Bulldogs 41-19 to advance to regional championship
Bateman’s Nolan Watrin avoids a Barsby defender during semifinal action at BC Place on Saturday (Nov. 27). (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Not even atmospheric rivers or highway closures can stop the momentum of the Robert Bateman Timberwolves.

Bateman advanced to the AA Coastal Division finals after a 41-19 win over the John Barsby Bulldogs at BC Place on Saturday (Nov. 27).

The Timberwolves started the game hot, with two rushing touchdowns by quarterback Nolan Watrin to set the pace. But it was Watrin’s arm and the passing game that shined for Bateman as the game carried on.

When the Bulldogs replied with a touchdown from Cesare Rednour-Bruckman early in the second, Watrin connected with Braden Tuchscherer to make it 20-7 at halftime.

A series of turnovers both ways opened the third quarter, but AJ Nguyen grabbed an interception to stop the chain of errors and Taejshon Catlin added a rushing touchdown to make it 28-7 after three. Watrin then scored with a big touchdown pass to Nguyen and Austin Harter also scored a major on the ground.

Micah Barker also had a solid game on the ground, breaking free for a 60-yard run in the first quarter. Bateman collected over 100 yards rushing on the afternoon.

Bateman head coach David Mills said it was a great effort from his team, especially offensively.

“We passed for over 300 yards for the first time this year,” he said, praising the passing game led by Watrin. “Defensively this is a tough offence to play against and I thought we did pretty well there too.”

Mills said the recent flooding has hit everyone in Abbotsford hard and both the Bateman community and his team were not unaffected.

“I think everyone in our community saw everything that’s been happening firsthand,” he said. “Some people in other communities might not feel or be aware of how bad it was, but we knew. I know some of our guys went down and helped out with some of the harder hit areas. For us as a team, we just have to roll with the punches - first it was COVID now this.”

The flooding and destruction across the province meant that this year B.C. high school football will be unable to have a provincial champion, and instead have regional champions.

Watrin said the coaching and preparation made a big difference in the team’s confidence heading into the semifinal game.

“We prepared really well for this over the last two weeks and through some of the coaches decisions I think I was able to pick apart their defence pretty good,” he said.

He explained that Barsby uses a cover three defence, which allowed Bateman to design plays around trying to find holes and take advantage.

“Guys were getting open almost every play so I was just doing my best to try to find them,” he said.

Watrin pointed out that the flooding moved school to virtual learning for several days and allowed the team to still practice and focus more on the game. The Bateman area was spared from any major flooding, but Watrin said it was shocking to see Abbotsford in such rough shape.

“I have a couple of friends who live in Clayburn Village and their basements were flooded,” he said. “It’s not good.”

Bateman now advances to the final where they will take on the Carson Graham Eagles. The two teams met in Abbotsford back on Nov. 5 with the Timberwolves winning 46-12. The Eagles upset the undefeated Langley Saints 24-22 earlier on Saturday.

RELATED: Robert Bateman Timberwolves clinch Abbotsford home playoff date

Watrin said he’s looking forward to the final, which is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 4 at BC Place.

“They beat the number one team [Langley],” Watrin said. “We have to be ready, it’s not going to be easy.”

Mills agreed it should be a challenging game.

“Their quarterback can throw and run and they have some really good receivers,” he said. “It’s going to be another tough one.”

Full schedules for championship Saturday are expected to be released in the coming days.

Andrew Hadden grabs a pass. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Watrin fights for yardage at the goal line. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Micah Barker finds open field. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Watrin celebrates a touchdown. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Bateman fans represent at the game. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Barker battles for yardage. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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