In the aftermath of the 39-6 thumping his team absorbed at the hands of the Mission Roadrunners on Friday, Abbotsford Collegiate head coach Jay Fujimura termed it a “disappointing” defeat.
But at the same time, the Panthers bench boss acknowledged the fact that his team was in position to play for first place on the last day of the regular season was a big deal for a still-developing program in just its fourth year of AA high school football.
“We knew going in we were going to have to play mistake-free ball, and unfortunately we didn’t,” Fujimura said. “But it was great playing for the conference championship in our fourth year. We’re pretty pumped about that.”
Both teams came in with perfect 3-0 records in Eastern Conference play, but the Roadrunners, ranked No. 2 provincially, have been considered a bona fide contender for the B.C. title since the first day of the season.
They proved to be full value for that ranking, rolling up an eye-popping 382 rushing yards behind a dominant performance from the offensive line. Running backs Jesse Forcier and Brenden Atkinson rushed for two TDs apiece to pace the offence.
Dallas Yassinsky’s TD reception from Carter Williams accounted for all the Panthers’ points.
BATEMAN 28, HANSEN 6
The Robert Bateman Timberwolves were a healthier bunch last week, and subsequently racked up some healthy rushing totals against their crosstown rivals from Rick Hansen Secondary.
Running backs Freddy Lyhne and John Beckerleg returned from injury to ignite the Bateman ground attack – Lyhne, in particular, had a big game, rushing for 101 yards and two TDs on 12 carries. QB Ryan Kaethler and Harley Loewen also ran for majors for the T-Wolves (2-2), who locked up third place in the AA East.
“We re-established our ground game,” T-Wolves coach Rick MacDonald said. “We executed fairly well, and the score could have been bigger, but we fumbled the ball a couple times in the red zone.”
The lone TD for the Hurricanes (1-3) came on a 60-yard pass from Jeevin Uppal to Sukh Dhaliwal, who finished with 150 receiving yards.
“We needed to play better on defence, and that’s been an issue for us all year,” Hansen coach Paul Gill noted. “We’re losing those battles in the trenches we need to win.”
MOUAT 15, EARL MARRIOTT 0
The Hawks (4-1) won by forfeit, as Marriott’s football program folded a couple weeks ago due to lack of players.
PRIMED FOR PLAYOFFS
All four of Abbotsford’s high school football teams are advancing to the playoffs at B.C. Place this weekend. For a schedule of those games, plus brief previews, click here.