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Subway Bowl 2010: Breaking down the Final Four

The Hawks celebrate a short TD goal-line rush. Photo: T. Plett

By Howard Tsumura Thu, Nov 25 2010 Howie’s High School Hamper

NO. 2 W.J. MOUAT VS. NO. 3 VANCOUVER COLLEGE

(Saturday, 8:30 p.m., UBC-Thunderbird Stadium)

VANCOUVER — If the No. 2-ranked W.J. Mouat Hawks and the No. 3-ranked Vancouver College Fighting Irish manage to uncork a game on Saturday with more drama than the one they combined to produce exactly 52 weeks ago, the winner might not have enough left to win the Subway Bowl championship game the following weekend.

Set to clash Saturday (8:30 p.m.) at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium in the B.C. Triple A semifinals, the same stage of the2009 post season in which Mouat won a 15-14 thriller highlighted by one of the most heartstopping scoreless fourth quarters you’re ever apt to see, it’s anyone’s guess as to which team and which players will write the heroic headlines.

All that seems certain is that there are plenty of candidates on both sides of the ball, especially with so many of the key combatants from last season’s thriller hell-bent to find their way to the Dec. 4 title tilt at Empire Field.

First, a quick refresher of that fourth quarter is in order:

*Mouat’s Luke Friesen blocked a 22-yard field goal attempt by Reiner Theil. Both players are back Saturday.

*Mouat quarterback Cam Bedore was picked off and had the interception returned to his own team’s 20-yard line. On the next play from scrimmage, Vancouver College quaretrback Jeff Tichelman was picked off to give Mouat the ball back at its own five with eight minutes left. Both quarterbacks will start on Saturday.

*The game came to a controversial ending when since-graduated Irish running back Garret Sanvido was gang-tackled and stripped of the ball. Sanvido’s forward progress appeared to have been stopped, yet after an extended period of time, no whistle sounded. Officials ruled that Mouat had recovered the ball as the game clock expired. The Irish coaching staff said it was trying to call a time out, and that one of its own players had later recovered the ball.

All of that may be buried a year deep in the history books, but for the nearly 40 seniors who will suit up Saturday, it remains a fresh memory.

So how does the next chapter in the rivalry shape up?

The Irish’s Tichelman, who led Triple A with 21 touchdown passes (1,717 yards), has thrown 20 of those strikes to the trio of Theil, Sean Mayzes and Justin Sanvido. However Vancouver College has gone away from its usual reliance on one running back, a staple the past eight seasons with workhorses Brad Robles, Oscar Tapia, Jamal Allen and Garret Sanvido.

“Literally, the hot back is the one who gets the carries,” says Irish head coach Todd Bernett, who this season has used five backs (Matt Alviz, Adam Konar, Lendl Magsipoc, Charlie Thorpe, Jesse Cervas) with regularity. “They are all strong is some areas, and with Thorpe and Konar being starters on defense, we need all of them to make our ground game go.”

The Hawks are led by Bedore who has thrown for 1,677 yards and 20 touchdowns. Last week, in its 39-12 quarterfinal win over Carson Graham, an injury to starting wide receiver Desmond Bassi forced positional changes throughout the lineup. Tight end Luke Friesen moved to fullback and rushed for a 31-yard score, and with Bassi expected back this week, Mouat is showing itself to be as versatile as ever.

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