By Dan Kinvig – Abbotsford News
Published: November 03, 2010 2:00 PM
Over the course of a long football season, the accepted mental approach is to take it one game at a time.
The danger, of course, is if you’re looking too far ahead, you’re liable to trip up and lose games you should win.
The W.J. Mouat Hawks, though, freely admit they’ve had Friday, Nov. 5 circled on their calendars for quite some time. That’s when they take on the Terry Fox Ravens in a hotly anticipated No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown. The Hawks have held the top ranking in AAA varsity football since the season opened. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Coquitlam’s Percy Perry Stadium.
“We’ve been looking forward to this game since the start of the season, definitely,” Hawks quarterback Cam Bedore said during a break from practice on Tuesday. “It’s the biggest game of the year so far, and we’re really excited about it.”
The Hawks and Ravens are both 4-0 in AAA Eastern Conference play heading into the regular season finale, and have secured first-round playoff byes. But there’s still plenty to play for – Friday’s winner would be the No. 1 playoff seed, thus paving a smoother road in the post-season. Specifically, the winner will likely avoid a semifinal match-up with the No. 3-ranked Vancouver College Fighting Irish, who have been coming on strong of late.
Plus, there are bragging rights to consider. Over the summer, Bedore and five of his fellow Hawks played alongside seven Ravens on the provincial under-18 team.
“Off the field, we’re friends. On the field, not so much,” Bedore said with a grin.
In many ways, the Hawks and Ravens are mirror images. Both QBs can run the ball – Fox pivot Cam Canales has scampered for 604 yards and nine touchdowns, while Bedore has 504 rushing yards and eight TDs. Fox’s stacked backfield also includes the likes of Jacob Patko, Matteo Nardone and Jared Soll, while tailback Devin Logan and fullback Brady Churly are big-play threats for Mouat.
“What they try to do – and we try to do the same thing – is set up the pass with the running game,” Mouat coach Denis Kelly analyzed. “You commit to stopping their favourite plays, but then they’ve got a few counters and play-action passes off of that.”
In terms of differences, Fox boasts more size on the line, while Mouat’s offence is a more diverse – Bedore’s 1,209 passing yards are third-most in the province, nearly double Canales’s 630.
Mouat linebacker Jake Heathcote acknowledged that the Ravens’ size advantage will present a challenge.
“We’ve got to have all our assignments down and be really solid so we don’t give them an inch,” said Heathcote, who is tied for tops in B.C. with 70 tackles. “You’ve got to work on your technique, and you’ve got to be aggressive.”