Since resurrecting the senior football program in 2008 following a six-year hiatus, the Abbotsford Collegiate Panthers had never defeated their crosstown rival Rick Hansen Hurricanes.
That all changed on Friday, as the Panthers’ offence exploded in a 42-20 victory at Hansen in the AA regular season opener for both teams.
“I was pretty happy for the guys,” Abby Collegiate head coach Jay Fujimura said. “It was a big thing for us, stepping up to AA, to try to get a win over an established program. There was a lot of pressure on the guys to do that.
“All the work they’ve put in over the past four years is starting to show, and I think it’s pretty important for them to see that happening.”
The Panthers showed great balance on offence, with 23 passing plays and 22 rushing plays, and that diversity served them well. Quarterback Carter Williams had a big day, throwing for 240 yards, with a pair of touchdowns to tight end Jesse Neufeld and one to slotback Dillon McGuire.
Neufeld added a third major on a 64-yard run, while Michael Nguyen scored on an eight-yard scamper.
Running back Jordon Gmur led the Hansen offence, going for 128 yards and a pair of TDs on 18 carries. Sanjot Brar scored the third Hansen major on a 17-yard pass from Harpreet Dhaliwal.
“They (Abby Collegiate) threw the ball well – they’ve got good receivers, and their QB played well,” said Hansen coach Paul Gill, whose banged-up squad was missing six starters. “It’s just frustrating when you’re not playing with a healthy team.”
KNIGHTS STUN HAWKS WITH LATE TD
In AAA action, the No. 2-ranked W.J. Mouat Hawks dropped a 25-20 decision to No. 1-ranked St. Thomas More in a marquee match-up in Burnaby on Friday evening.
Trailing 19-14 late in the fourth quarter, Hawks QB Daniel Markin hit Deion Bain in the end zone for the go-ahead major. Mouat’s two-point convert attempt failed, giving them a 20-19 lead with less than three minutes remaining.
But the Knights marched down the field, and QB Mike Carney found Giovani Trasolini for a seven-yard TD to reclaim the lead.
The Hawks had one last chance, but the Knights intercepted Markin to clinch the victory.
“We let them make a couple big pass plays,” Mouat head coach Denis Kelly said, reflecting on STM’s game-winning drive. “We were just a little bit off our game.
“But St. Thomas More did a nice job scouting us, and certainly they were ready for a lot of the stuff we did against Vancouver College (a 42-14 Mouat win) the week before.”
Bain had a huge game for Mouat, hauling in six passes for 109 yards and two TDs, while Markin completed 16 of 45 passes for 234 yards. Running back Devin Logan also found the end zone, but the Knights limited him to 38 rushing yards on 15 carries. Jake Heathcote led the Mouat defence with nine tackles.
The Hawks are the lone local squad at home this week, as they host the Terry Fox Ravens at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
All three AA teams play on the road Friday. Abby Collegiate faces Langley Secondary (7:30 p.m., McLeod Athletic Park), Hansen takes on Mission (1 p.m., Mission Secondary), and the Robert Bateman Timberwolves, coming off a bye, visit Pitt Meadows (7:30 p.m., Pitt Meadows Secondary).