Panthers fall to Grizzlies

Abbotsford drops first game of the season, Bateman stays alive with win

Abbotsford's Chase Claypool shakes off Grizzlies defenders on Friday.

The mistakes made the difference in the Abbotsford Panthers 23-22 loss to the G.W. Graham Grizzlies on Friday.

A botched snap on the opening drive that led to a safety, a rushing touchdown by Richard Tshimpaka called back by a penalty, and the Grizzlies scoring on a fake punt all led to the loss.

But, in the game’s final moments, the Panthers had the chance to win the game off the foot of kicker James Parker but he booted it left.

“I thought we played hard and put ourselves in a position to win and we just missed,” said Panthers head coach Jay Fujimura. “Graham is a very good team and you cannot expect to beat them without playing mistake free football and we didn’t do that today.”

The Panthers played most of the game without star player Chase Claypool, who suffered a charley horse in the second quarter, and was used sparingly after the injury. He didn’t play a series on defence and played a limited role on offence for the remainder of the game.

Fujimura said he expects Claypool to fully recover by the team’s next game.

Claypool threw the team’s first touchdown pass to Maasin Thompson to put the Panthers up 7-2 in the first quarter and then caught a touchdown pass in the second quarter to give Abbotsford a 13-9 lead. Tanner Marquardt added another first half major, to put the Panthers up 20-16 after the first half.

The teams traded field position for most of the second half, and the only touchdown came when the Grizzlies scored on a fake punt of over 50 yards. Graham conceded a safety late in the fourth quarter rather than punt to Claypool and Parker couldn’t put the ball through the uprights.

Abbotsford falls to three wins and one loss and next play the Rick Hansen Hurricanes on Nov. 7.

Earlier on Friday, the Robert Bateman Timberwolves beat the Hurricanes 54-0. The win keeps the Timberwolves playoff hopes alive and they improve to a record of one win and three losses. Bateman travels to Pitt Meadows on Nov. 6 to fight for their playoff lives.

In AAA action on Friday, the W.J. Mouat Hawks lost 37-28 to Lord Tweedsmuir. The Hawks fall to two wins and four losses with the setback. Mouat’s regular season is over and they have to watch and see what happens in the final week of the season to see if they move on.

For more details on all the games, read Wednesday’s print edition of The Abbotsford News.

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