Samwel Uko and the Abbotsford Middle School Huskies were unstoppable on Tuesday evening, racing past the Notre Dame Jugglers 31-14 in Burnaby to claim the AA Grade 8 provincial football title.
Uko, the Huskies’ outstanding running back, rushed for all five of his team’s touchdowns as Abby Middle became the first Abbotsford squad to win a Grade 8 B.C. football championship since 1993.
“The kids had a little swagger in their step this morning – they’re really excited,” Huskies athletic director Shawn Mani told The News on Wednesday.
Among the leaders for the Huskies on Tuesday were the Kelly twins – linebacker Darius and fullback Dion, who excelled on opposite sides of the ball. Quarterback Luke Szmutko, filling in for injured starter Jordan Townrow, had a terrific game, and Ranvir Sandhu booted an extra point.
But Uko, undoubtedly, was the star of the show.
“The kid put the team on his back,” Mani marveled. “Some of his runs were 90 yards from scrimmage, 65 yards from scrimmage, 50 yards from scrimmage.
“The kids were joking on the sideline that when we’re in third down, we’re going to call ‘Third and Samwel’ – pitch the ball to him and see what happens.”
The Grade 8 squad’s success, combined with the fact Abby Senior’s Grade 10 team went undefeated during the regular season, indicates that the high school football program in central Abbotsford is on the rise.
Many of the Huskies players are also on the Abbotsford Falcons junior bantam Black squad, which plays for the B.C. community football title on Sunday.
“The future looks bright,” Mani said. “They players are so dedicated. This is the most number of kids we’ve had in a long time. We’ve had 30-plus kids coming out to every single practice, rain or shine.”