No. 3 Vancouver College 27 No. 2 W.J. Mouat 3
VANCOUVER — Last season, it was last second heartbreak for the Vancouver College Fighting Irish in the Subway Bowl Triple A semifinals.
On Saturday, at the exact same stage of the month-long march to crown a B.C. champion, the No. 3-ranked purple and gold left nothing to chance.
Adam Konar returned an interception 15 yards in the second quarter, then in the third carried the ball in from 14 yards out, helping lead a multi-pronged attack to a convincing 27-3 victory over the No. 2 W.J. Mouat Hawks, the same team that beat them 15-14 at the exact same stage of the 2009 playoffs.
That game came to a controversial ending when since-graduated Irish running back Garret Sanvido was gang-tackled and stripped of the ball while driving for the winning score.
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.
On Saturday, however, the Hawks could just never get untracked against a Van College defence that nullified its run game and put an aggressive shadow on all of quarterback Cam Bedore’s prime pass-catching threats.
“It feels absolutely awesome to get redemption against a team like that,” admitted Irish standout defensive back Sean Mayzes who spent an entire offseason remembering last season’s loss to Mouat. “It was killer. Every day in the weight room it’s in the back of your mind. We knew at some point we’d get Mouat again and we had to beat them and our defence played shutdown defence tonight.”
Clearly, there was one play in Saturday’s contest that really resonated with Vancouver College head coach Todd Bernett.
In the first half of the 2009 game, Mayzes intercepted Bedore and seemed well on his way to scoring a sure touchdown. But the Hawks’ standout chased him down from what seemed like a near-impossible distance and tackled him at the one-yard line.
“I’ll say this about tonight,” said Bernett after the win, “when Konar returned that interception for a touchdown, I felt that was a special deal becasue if you’ll remember last year, Mayzes had a pick that he was returning and Bedore got him at the one and that might have been the game for us.
So I felt like that was almost symbolic. It hit me immediately because I will remember that Mayzes deal last year forever.”
The Irish opened the scoring on a 12-yard run by Charlie Thorpe, but the Hawks had a quick answer when receiver Desmond Bassi made an acrobatic one-hand grab of a Bedore pass to put the Hawks first-and-goal at the nine-yard line. The possession ended with a 28-yard Tanner Strauss field goal to tighten the score 7-3.
However the Hawks didn’t seem to get another quality sniff the rest of the way.
And the deep backfield of the Irish kept it’s legs fresh all evening as Thorpe finished the scoring off with six minutes remaining when he rushed for a four-yard score.
“We came up against a prety good team,” said Mouat head coach Denis Kelly. “They’ve did a very good job of preparing for our stuff. We tried to switch things around but they had an answer for everything. They should give Fox a good run next week.”
Afterwards, Kelly, who has guided Mouat to two B.C. titles, five championship game appearances and eight Final Fours over the past 11 seasons, remained both thankful and philosophical.
“We’ve just got a first-class group of kids and we’re proud of them,” he said. “And this program, we just carry on year after year.”