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#25 Luke Friesen kicks an extra point enroute to the Hawks' junior AAA provincial title. Photo: T. Plett

By Joseph Ruttle 11-29-2008 Howie’s High School Hamper, The Vancouver Province

B.C. JUNIOR VARSITY TRIPLE-A FINAL

W.J. MOUAT 21 – ST. THOMAS MORE 14

Jim Mitchell had a simple message for his team at halftime of the B.C. junior varsity Triple A championship Saturday at B.C. Place. “I told them to make sure this was the best half of football they played this season because that first half was not,” said the W.J. Mouat Hawks head coach.

“That first half was probably the worst we’d played in three to four weeks. I just told them to leave it all on the field.” That’s just what the Hawks did in breaking open a 7-7 halftime deadlock en route to claiming a 21-14 victory over the St. Thomas More Knights.

The Hawks’ corner Desmond Bassi got an interception at his own one-yard line with his team leading 14-7, and the turnover was turned into what would be the game’s winning touchdown.

“That was a big play defensively, and the offense was able to move the ball and give us some breathing room,” offered Mitchell.

The Hawks took the ball to open the second half and marched straight down the field, capping a 66-yard drive in which they battled penalties, to score the go-ahead touchdown.

John Watson, on second-and-goal from the 15-yard line, took the handoff and wove his way into the end zone. Luke Friesen’s point-after had Mouat ahead 14-7.

The big play in the drive was a 43-yard run by Watson that took the ball down to the Knights’ 23-yard line. The Knights looked ready to equalize late in the quarter, putting together a patient march down-field highlighted by quarterback Mike Carney’s 23-yard rush to the seven-yard line. The play featured a beautiful block in the backfield by James Belgrave which sprung Carney down the field.

But on second-and-goal from the 15, pivot Marko Mihic, alternating under centre with Carney, had his pass to Ross Hilliam intercepted by cornerback Bassi at the one-yard line. That turnover was quickly turned into a major by W.J. Mouat.

Brady Churly, who split snaps with Cam Bedore, hooked up on a 63-yard pass-and-run play to compact receiver Tanner Hamade, who outsprinted a host of Knights tacklers to the end zone for a 21-7 lead with 11 minutes remaining in the game.

The Knights pulled to within a touchdown at 21-14 with 4:49 remaining as the team’s two quarterbacks hooked up with each other. Mihic went 31 yards to Carney, who caught the ball in full flight one step before running through the back of the end zone. STM then stripped the ball from the Hawks at mid field, taking over at their own 46 yard line with 2:23 remaining. But STM was stopped on fourth-and-nine with 54 seconds remaining.

The two teams played the first half to a standoff, trading touchdowns and setting the stage for the second half. Late in the first quarter, Knights’ linebacker Kyle Madden tipped a pass from Mouat quarterback Bedore that STM defensive end Aidan Golding was able to catch at the Hawks 31-yard line. STM quarterback Carney then hit tight end Brandon Favaro with a big gainer down to the 15 yard, then capped the drive by going 21 yards into the end zone to Favaro early in the second quarter.

The Hawks were able to answer, however on a scoring drive set up by Bedore’s big 32-yard scramble to the Mouat 31-yard line. Bedore, on first-and-goal from the four-yard line, was flushed out of the pocket, but somehow found receiver Watson, who beat man coverage and came back to the ball, making a tough catch that he took in from the one-yard line.
— Howard Tsumura

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