The high school football regular season is history, and a trio of Abbotsford teams are playoff-bound.
The W.J. Mouat Hawks, Rick Hansen Hurricanes and Robert Bateman Timberwolves will participate in the AAA and AA Subway Bowl post-season tournaments, which begin this weekend.
The Hawks, the top-ranked AAA team in the province, wrapped up conference play with a 35-14 triumph over Lord Tweedsmuir of Surrey on Friday. Quarterback Mario Narte ran for two touchdowns and passed for two more to Clovis Lumeka and Chris Brake, while tailback Maleek Irons turned in a typically outstanding performance with 221 yards and one TD on 28 carries. Levi Hua (six tackles) and Sheridan Lawley (four tackles, two sacks) led the defence.
Mouat has a bye to open the playoffs, but their lone loss of the season – 32-28 to St. Thomas More on Oct. 5 – has yielded a tougher post-season road. They’re on the same side of the draw as defending B.C. champ Mount Douglas, since STM won the Eastern Conference and Mouat finished second. The Hawks beat Mount Doug 52-49 on Oct. 13, and they could meet again in the semifinals.
“You’re going to have to beat the best at some point, anyway,” Mouat coach Denis Kelly noted. “We know what we’re dealing with in Mount Douglas, and they’re quite good. But we’ll have to focus on our first game.”
Local rivals Hansen and Abbotsford Senior clashed in their AA finale on Friday, and the Hurricanes emerged with a 52-23 win. Running backs Jasnoor Dhaliwal and Brandon Ho had monster games for the ‘Canes – Dhaliwal rushed for 273 yards and a TD, while Ho bulldozed his way to a trio of majors. Both players also caught scoring passes from QB Alex Ho, Brandon’s brother.
Zach Toews and Alex Ho also rushed for majors for the Hurricanes, who open the AA playoffs against College Heights of Prince George (Saturday, 10 a.m. at BC Place).
“I don’t know a lot about them – I’m just starting to break down their film,” Hansen coach Paul Gill said. “They seem to be a well-balanced team as far as running and passing the ball, so we’ll have to play well defensively.”
The Abby Senior Panthers, who missed the playoffs, got a pair of TD passes from Carter Williams, landing in the hands of Mitchell Follett and Devin Brar. Mansa Mandagi added a 75-yard kickoff return major.
Panthers coach Jay Fujimura has plenty of reason for optimism going forward – the school’s Grade 10 team and the Grade 8 squad at Abby Middle are both putting together terrific seasons.
“If those players keep working hard, good things will happen for them,” he said.
Bateman wrapped up its regular season with a 30-7 loss to the Mission Roadrunners, the defending B.C. AA champs. The T-Wolves’ lone TD came on a pass from Tanner Friesen to John Beckerleg.
Bateman opens the post-season on Friday against Kalamalka, the Okanagan’s top seed. The game was originally scheduled to be played at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops, but has been moved to BC Place (12 p.m. kickoff).
“Playing on the turf in BC Place is going to be a lot different than playing outdoors in the snow and the mud,” Bateman coach Alfred Brathwaite noted. “We have a lot of speed on our team, so it’ll be a definite benefit.”