The Abbotsford Panthers are the last local team left standing after round one of the BC high school football playoffs.
The Panthers beat the Pitt Meadows Marauders 57-8, in a game that was decided very early.
Running back Richard Tshimpaka scored his first of three touchdowns to open the scoring and the Panthers had a 29-0 lead by the second quarter.
Also recording touchdowns were: Chase Claypool, Anthony Phan, Manny Jhally, Reese Morrison and Tanner Marquardt. Claypool also took some reps at quarterback, throwing two touchdowns. Regular starting quarterback John Madigan also threw for a pair of scores.
Panthers head coach Jay Fujimura said his team took care of business.
“We did what we were expected to do,” he said. “We had an all-around good start and were able to run the ball well. We wanted to work on our ground game and try out a few new packages, and everything went according to plan.”
Fujimura said it has been a great ride for the team and this year’s graduating class.
“This class has worked hard and have been together since Grade 9,” he said. “And it’s quite a group.”
He pointed out that the Panthers received several year-end AA division awards including: Claypool (most valuable player), Tshimpaka (top running back), Michael Sabourin (top linebacker), Morrison (top defensive back), Madigan (top quarterback), James Parker (top kicker), and Clifford Jesse (top offensive linesman).
The Panthers now head to Nanaimo this weekend to battle the John Barsby Bulldogs, who disposed of the Moscrop Panthers 77-0 on Saturday. Fujimura said it will be a battle.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” he said. “They’re a bigger team and they grind. It’s going to be close.”
The Bulldogs posted a 4-0 record during the regular season, and only allowed 27 points all year.
In AAA action, Friday was the end of the line for the W.J. Mouat Hawks. They fell 28-6 to the Notre Dame Jugglers at home and are done for 2015.
The Hawks defence kept the game close in the first half, as Mouat only trailed 13-0. Notre Dame had threatened to score majors on two drives, but the Hawks defence forced them to settle for field goals.
The offence came to life in the second half when Elijah Falconer caught a touchdown. but the Jugglers’ running game was too much for Mouat.
“It was a pretty frustrating game and we didn’t seem to catch any breaks,” said Mouat head coach Travis Bell. “It was a physical game and we were in it but we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities. This was our most physical game our defence has played all year, we knew they were going to run the ball, but I was happy with our physicality.”
Bell said that, despite Notre Dame’s record of one win and four losses, he knew it would be a tough game.
“They play in a different conference than us and you can’t really go by records. We were expecting to win but nothing in AAA is going to be easy. They were able to ground and pound the ball and they capitalized.”
It was Bell’s first year behind the bench for the Hawks, and he said he will always remember the graduating players.
“I’ll remember the Grade 12s that played four hard years for us,” he said. “The Dion Pellerins and the Alex Johnsons – the guys that stuck it out and did the program proud.”
Running back Pellerin and wide receiver Elijah Falconer were also named to the AAA East All-Conference team for their efforts during the regular season.
“Those guys both bought into the program and it paid dividends for them,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier for them.”
He said the potential is there for several graduating Hawks players to continue playing football next year at the post-secondary level, with some possibly earning scholarships.
Bell said the pieces are there next year to have a strong run.
“There are a lot of pieces here and we’re learning on the fly, we hope to be better next year.”
Over in Kamloops, the season also ended for the Robert Bateman Secondary Timberwolves, who lost 19-0 to the Prince George Secondary Polars on Friday.
The Timberwolves managed only 90 yards offence in the loss, and allowed 15 quarterback sacks.
Bateman staged a year-end turnaround, winning its final two games in order to qualify for the postseason.