The W.J. Mouat Hawks showed the Mission Roadrunners on Friday evening that they’ve got more going for them offensively than just record-breaking running back Maleek Irons.
These Hawks can also move the ball through the air, too, and quarterback Hunter Struthers’s ability to make plays in the passing game powered the hosts to a 42-24 win under the lights at Mouat Field.
“The biggest thing was, we got the great performance from Struthers,” Hawks coach Denis Kelly said.
“They (the Roadrunners) have got some size, so they’re able to jam up our off-tackle (runs). So it really helped that we were able to come out throwing the ball and score a couple touchdowns through the air.”
The Roadrunners found themselves behind the eight ball early – on their second play from scrimmage, Irons picked off a pass by Mission QB Evan Horton. Struthers capitalized on the short field, hitting Jake Firlotte for a 14-yard touchdown.
Irons finished off Mouat’s next possession with a 10-yard TD run, and the Roadrunners suddenly found themselves in a 14-0 hole.
Mission hung tough in the first half, though, and trailed 28-17 at the break after getting a rushing TD from Jesse Walker and a kickoff return major and a field goal from Wayde Carpenter.
But Mouat would pull away in the third quarter – the defence stymied the Roadrunners on a drive deep into Hawks territory and the offence reeled off 14 consecutive points to put the game away. Mission added a third touchdown in the waning minutes when Horton found Walker for a 53-yard scoring pass.
“If we don’t spot them 14 points, it’s probably a little tighter game all the way through,” Roadrunners coach Kevin Watrin noted.
“They’ve a very good, well-polished machine there, and we needed to make all the right plays in order to defeat them. We just didn’t make enough of them tonight.”
Struthers completed 10 of 19 passes for 194 yards with three TDs – two to Firlotte and one to Clovis Lumeka. Irons was relatively quiet in the early going, but grew stronger as the game wore on and finished with 220 rush yards on 18 carries and three TDs.
Manpreet Chhina (15 tackles) and Akash Sandhu (10 tackles) paced the Mouat defence.
The Hawks (ranked No. 4 in AAA) and Roadrunners (No. 2 in AA) are both perennial powerhouses in their respective leagues, and Friday’s game marked the third straight year they’ve faced each other in non-conference action.
“I don’t think they take us for granted anymore,” Watrin said. “The kids play hard, and they’re obviously well-coached. It is a nice little rivalry. We have a lot of respect for their program and their coaching staff.”
Kelly returned the compliment.
“They’ve got a strong program . . . Kevin Watrin does a great job,” he said. “I’m very happy to have played as well as we did against a quality team.”
ABBY SENIOR 52, HOWE SOUND 6
The Abbotsford Senior Panthers were devastated after suffering a 50-0 loss to Holy Cross in their home opener last week, and they wasted little time putting that memory behind them on Friday.
On their first offensive snap vs. Howe Sound, running back Grayson Marquardt took a handoff, found some daylight down the right sideline, and sprinted 45 yards for a touchdown.
That set the stage for the blowout, as the hosts prevailed 52-6 at Panther Field.
“I think the guys needed this,” Panthers coach Jay Fujimura said. “They needed to build some confidence in themselves. (Howe Sound) is a tough team, and they played hard. I think we, at the same time, played a lot better. We didn’t have any turnovers this game, which was huge.”
Indeed, after coughing up 10 turnovers vs. Holy Cross, the Panthers did a complete 180 in the ball-security department against Howe Sound.
Marquardt finished with three TDs – two rushing, and one on an interception return – while Jordan Goheen caught three scoring passes from QB Jordan Fox. Chase Claypool hauled in two scoring passes of his own – one from Fox and one from Grade 9 backup John Madigan.
HANSEN 19, HUGH BOYD 14
The Rick Hansen Hurricanes had a Friday the 13th to remember, as everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong en route to facing the Hugh Boyd Trojans.
The bus that was slated to carry the Hansen varsity and junior varsity squads to Richmond for the scheduled doubleheader broke down on its way to pick them up, so head coach Paul Gill had to wrangle a couple of school buses at the last minute.
Their journey was further delayed when they got stuck behind an accident on the highway, and they didn’t arrive at the field until 7 p.m. – two hours after the jayvee game was supposed to kick off.
“We were sitting around for a long time,” Gill said with a wry chuckle, “and that kind of showed in how (the senior team) played in the first half.”
The Hurricanes, battling a major case of bus legs, were locked in a scoreless tie with the Trojans at halftime.
But B.C.’s No. 4-ranked AA squad found some traction in the second half, scoring two quick TDs to surge ahead 13-0 en route to victory.
Devin DaCosta had a huge game, rushing for 183 yards and two TDs, while QB Alex Ho connected with Zach Toews for the other Hansen major.
“We wanted to establish the run this week – that was our emphasis, and I think we did a good job of that,” Gill said.
Shaiheem Charles-Brown paced the defence with 15 tackles, while Ricky Bhadesh and Jashan Chauhan each had an interception.
BATEMAN 43, DUCHESS PARK 6
An electrifying performance from Ben Cummings sparked the Bateman Timberwolves to a home victory over Duchess Park of Prince George on Saturday.
Cummings ran back the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, and on Bateman’s first play from scrimmage, he shook loose for a rushing major. The senior running back finished with 158 yards on just seven carries and added a TD reception for good measure.
T-Wolves starting QB Tanner Friesen threw a pair of scoring passes to McKenzie Johnson, while backup QB Daniel Mills threw the scoring pass to Cummings and ran for a major himself.
Top defensive performers included Talus Swanberg (six tackles), San Kuyek (six tackles, one sack) and Jake Thiel (four tackles, two fumble recoveries).
“It showed us what the kids are capable of doing,” Bateman coach Alfred Brathwaite said. “The score didn’t indicate how well the game was played on both sides.”
CLASH BETWEEN HURRICANES, T-WOLVES HIGHLIGHTS THIS WEEK’S ACTION
Coming up this week, crosstown rivals Bateman and Hansen clash on Friday in the first AA Eastern Conference league game for either team. The game will be played in front of the Bateman student body, with kickoff at 12 p.m.
“We need to play our game, it’s as simple as that,” Brathwaite said.
In other action, the Panthers play at home for the third straight week, hosting Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham Grizzlies (Friday, 7 p.m.).
Mouat is also at home, taking on the Mt. Boucherie Bears of Kelowna in their regular season opener (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.).