By Howard Tsumura Thu, Nov 4 2010 Howie’s High School Hamper
The No. 1-ranked W.J. Mouat Hawks and the No. 2 Terry Fox Ravens are B.C. high school football’s birds of a feather.
They are both sporting perfect 4-0 records and they’re both undefeated on the season after eight overall games.
And when they head into battle against each other on Friday night in Coquitlam (7 p.m., Percy Perry Stadium) in the Triple A Eastern Conference regular-season finale for both teams, each will be led by quarterbacks named Cam.
“Both coaching staffs will be going with their assets and their biggest one is Cam Bedore, just like ours is Cam Canales,” says Terry Fox co-head coach Tom Kudaba of the two team’s starting Cam-pletion machines.
Beyond the two pivots are everything you need in a potential Subway Bowl B.C. high school championship team. Abbotsford’s Hawks and the Ravens of Port Coquitlam have literally no weaknesses from top to bottom.
Yet from the standpoint of intangibles, you can’t scheme to stop the best that Mouat’s Bedore and Fox’s Canales bring to the huddle.
“I think our Cam is a big-play player and he has a history of coming up with key plays for us,” says Mouat head coach Denis Kelly, who last season watched Bedore complete a near-miracle rally in the Subway Bowl final, bringing his team back from a 26-7 deficit before eventually falling just short of eventual champion Centennial 39-36.
“Canales is a fiery type that has the ability to raise the play of those around him,” continues Kelly. “He is quite an emotional player. Bedore is more understated and quiet whereas Canales is right up in your face. But in terms of football players, they are very similar.”
That’s because while they do it in different ways, they both bring an old-school mentality to the gridiron.
In Mouat’s multi-faceted offensive systems, Bedore is the perfect fit, throwing for 1,209 yards and 15 touchdowns with a 57 per cent completiton percentage.
In Fox’s power-running attack, Canales is also a reflection of his team’s strengths, his 630 yards and 10 touchdowns through the air coming within an ultra-efficient pass completion percentage of 64 per cent.
And while Bedore’s total yardage is much higher (1,715 to 1,234) they are equally important to their team’s respective successes on offence. Bedore has rushed for 506 yards and eight TDs for a total of 23 scores, while Canales has rushed for 604 yards and nine TDs for a total of 19 scores. Both, in fact, are their team’s second-leading rushers.
Bedore, working in front of an offensive line that is smaller that Fox’s but more athletic, has thrown TD passes to seven different receivers this season, including four apiece to high-arcing target Desmond Bassi and elusive speedster John Watson. Tight end Luke Friesen and leading rusher Devin Logan (627 yards, eight TDs rushing) have each caught two touchdowns.
“They have three to four guys that can really catch the ball, but we counter that with three to four guys that can really run the ball,” says Fox’s Kudaba, whose main aerial target, tight end Tannner White, has snared seven of the team’s 10 TD passes this season.
The Ravens’ ground game, which has rushed for 35 majors this season, has drawn some comparisons to the school’s 2008 backfield, which completed a perfect season with the Subway Bowl title with a 56-16 win over Mouat.
Jacob Patko has led the balanced group with 679 yards and 12 scores, followed by Canales. The widcard in the group is fullback type Jared Soll, the goal-line ace whose longest run of the season is 17 yards, but has 12 touchdowns on just 52 carries.
“They are big on the physical aspects of the game,” admits Kelly of the Ravens, who are chasing a third B.C. title in five seasons. “They are hard hitters as blockers, tacklers and runners.”
Both teams are already in the playoffs, and both teams regardless of the result, will be on opposite sides of the provincial championship draw. Perhaps the one thing to try and avoid would be a potential semifinal matchup against No. 3 Vancouver College in the semifinals, and that honour goes to Friday’s winner.
But mostly, the teams just want to win because that is their goal each and every week.
“There is a prestige factor that goes into winning the league and there is a certain amount of confidence that can be given to that team,” says Kelly whose Hawks have lost in the last two B.C. finals. “But when you come down to it, you still have to win three playoffs games to be the champ.”