By Cam Tucker, The Times November 26, 2010
Given the recent history of the W.J. Mouat Hawks, it can be easy to overlook a semifinal game and focus on making amends after two straight losses in the championship game.
But that’s not the mentality the Hawks will be taking into Saturday’s tilt against the Vancouver College Fighting Irish at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium. The winner will go on to the Subway Bowl on Dec. 4 from the nostalgic Empire Field.
A rematch of last year’s semifinal, which Mouat won en route to a second straight championship appearance, Saturday’s decisive game will feature the No. 2 ranked Hawks going up against the No. 3 ranked Fighting Irish.
In fact, the Fighting Irish are coming off a momentous 49-2 win over St. Thomas More Collegiate in the quarter-final.
So the Hawks can ill afford to look past their opponents this weekend.
“They’re always a strong team,” said Hawks quarterback Cam Bedore following Mouat’s 39-12 quarter-final victory over Carson Graham.
“We just have to prepare hard all week like we have been and just take nothing for granted and make sure we’re prepared.”
With both teams coming off blowout wins a week ago in the Triple-A quarter-finals on the snow-covered turf of UBC’s T-Bird Stadium, this weekends contest could turn into an offensive slugfest.
Bedore ran for three touchdowns last week and threw for two more majors. He was named Triple-A Player of the Week as a result.
His night also included 11 completions in 16 passing attempts, totalling 173 yards.
Bedore credited his offensive line for giving him such good protection, and he’ll need that continue if he is to have the same success this weekend.
“You can’t do anything without those guys,” said Bedore. “They’ve been working hard all year just like the rest of us.”
His counterpart for Vancouver College, Jeff Tichelman, also had one of his best games of the season last week, spreading the ball around as six different players scored touchdowns for the Fighting Irish.
He also threw for over 200 yards, and completed 77 per cent of his 13 passes.
The deciding factor in this game might turn out to be the return of Hawks receiver Desmond Bassi, who missed the last two games with an injury.
Bassi, the Hawks leading receiver in the regular season, will rejoin a receiving corps that demonstrated a lethal combination of size, speed and skill against Carson Graham.
“With [Bassi] back, we get three or four receiving threats,” said Hawks head coach Denis Kelly.
Saturday’s game between the Hawks and Fighting Irish goes at 8 p.m. from UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium.
The weather forecast is calling for rain, not snow, and temperatures of 5 C.