Can anyone stop the W.J. Mouat Hawks’ offence?
After four absurdly explosive performances to open the 2012 high school football season, it’s a fair question.
The Hawks, No. 2 in the B.C. AAA rankings, have lit up the scoreboard to the tune of 56.3 points per game during non-conference play. Their latest victim was the No. 3-ranked Vancouver College Fighting Irish, who were on the receiving end of a 53-31 beat-down on Friday evening at Mouat Field.
Tailback Maleek Irons has been the Hawks’ headliner, and he was at it again against the Irish, rushing for 299 yards on 22 carries and scoring four touchdowns – three on the ground, one on a pass from QB Mario Narte. His season totals are eye-popping: 1,062 rush yards and 18 TDs.
Mouat coach Denis Kelly, now in his 26th year with the program, says the biggest difference this season is the offensive line.
“I don’t think we’ve had this strong of an offensive line as far as athletic ability,” he said, speaking of the quintet of Sheriden Lawley, Stephen Munga, Nick Westad, Levi Hua and Matt McGregor. “They’re not only very strong in all the measurements of strength, but they also run very well. We have a wide variety of ways of attacking with that versatility up front.
“Then we’ve got Maleek Irons’s running ability, and we’re starting to diversify with our passing. We’re becoming pretty multi-dimensional.”
The Hawks’ offence racked up 650 total yards. Narte rushed for two majors and also threw a scoring pass to Clovis Lumeka, and Crysthian Rivas chipped in 111 rush yards and a TD.
BATEMAN 42, HUGH BOYD 0
It seems to be the year of the Grade 11 running back on the Abbotsford high school football scene.
As Irons runs wild for the Hawks, Robert Bateman tailback Ben Cummings (pictured right) has also found consistent success. He put together a breakthrough performance on Friday, blazing through the Hugh Boyd Trojans defence for 307 rushing yards and four TDs on just 13 carries.
“It was impressive, but it’s what we expect of Ben,” Bateman assistant coach Rick MacDonald said, noting Cummings is averaging 13.6 yards per carry this season. “We’re counting on him to do big things like that for us.
“This week, there was a lot of work done during practice, particularly on the o-line in terms of blocking, and that helped.”
The success of the T-Wolves (2-1) on the ground required QB Tanner Friesen to hoist just three passes, but two of them went for touchdowns to Cole Brien.
The Bateman defence turned in their best performance of the season, with Kole Lochbaum leading the way with eight tackles. Kent Hicks and Riley Davis had sacks and Daniel Mills and Arthur Beckerleg each hauled in an interception.
SQUALICUM 63, ABBY SENIOR 7
Unfortunately, a long touchdown pass from Carter Williams to Jordan Goheen was the extent of the offensive production in a 63-7 road loss to the Squalicum Storm in Bellingham.
The deck was undoubtedly stacked against the Panthers – they took just 17 players across the border, due to injuries and the fact several players didn’t have a government-issued picture ID.
Abby Senior coach Jay Fujimura estimated that Squalicum, meanwhile, had about 70 players on their sideline.
“We’ve termed our preseason a meat grinder,” he said with a chuckle, alluding to the Panthers’ strength of schedule. “But with the mentality we’re trying to develop as a program, we’re trying to make them stronger, not break them.
“They can look at the rest of the schedule with no fear. They’re going to be tough, coming out of that.”
Grade 10 linebacker Grayson Marquardt had a big game for the Panthers (0-3), with an interception and a forced fumble.
ANOTHER WEEK OFF FOR ‘CANES
The Rick Hansen Hurricanes are having the worst luck with their schedule.
One week after Duchess Park cancelled vs. Hansen due to a plethora of injuries, Salmon Arm pulled the plug on Friday’s game, citing the same issue.
The Hurricanes (1-0) are slated to get some game action on Friday, when they host the Seaquam Seahawks (7 p.m., Rotary Stadium).
Mouat is the only other local senior team playing, and they hit the road to face the West Vancouver Highlanders (Friday, 3:45 p.m.).
Bateman and Abby Senior both have byes this week, before returning to action on Oct. 5 in their AA Eastern Conference openers. The T-Wolves will take on the Hurricanes (1 p.m. at Hansen), while the Panthers are set to face Langley (3 p.m., Rotary Stadium).