By Dan Kinvig – Abbotsford News
Published: December 01, 2008 6:00 PM
To borrow from Charles Dickens, it was the best of times and the worst of times for the W.J. Mouat Secondary football program on Saturday at B.C. Place Stadium.
In the early afternoon, the Hawks Grade 10 team gave the Abbotsford school reason to celebrate when they clinched the provincial junior AAA championship with a 21-14 victory over the St. Thomas More Knights. The win capped a Cinderella playoff run for the Hawks juniors, who had entered the postseason as the Eastern Conference’s fifth seed after posting a pedestrian 4-3 record during league play.
“This group keeps surprising me,” marveled Mouat junior coach Jim Mitchell. “When we looked at our team at this time last year, I thought we were in trouble because we only had nine kids coming back. But every week they got better.”
The Mouat senior squad tried to complete a rare double in the nightcap, but the Terry Fox Ravens had other ideas. The Port Coquitlam juggernaut utterly dismantled the Hawks, scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions en route to a 57-16 victory in the AAA senior title tilt.
“You get teams like Terry Fox once every 30 years,” Mouat coach Denis Kelly said afterward. “We had a tremendous football team, but you can see they’re on a different level.
“It’s hard to feel too bad about it, because it’s just a fact.”
While Kelly’s team had to settle for second, the strong play of Mouat’s juniors earlier in the day suggested that the future is bright for the program. The Hawks started rather slowly against St. Thomas More, coughing up a pair of first-quarter turnovers and spotting their opponents an early 7-0 lead. But Jonathan Watson drew his team even at halftime with a spectacular touchdown catch off a jump ball from quarterback Cam Bedore.
Watson notched his second TD of the game on a 15-yard scamper on his team’s first drive of the third quarter to put the Hawks up 14-7. Defensive back Desmond Bassi came up with a huge defensive play on STM’s next series, intercepting a pass on his team’s one yard line. Tanner Hamade supplied the Hawks’ third major on a 63-yard pass play from QB Brady Churly.
“It feels amazing,” said Watson, who earned game MVP honours after racking up 146 yards from scrimmage.
The feeling wasn’t quite so amazing for the Mouat seniors, who simply ran into a buzz-saw in the top-ranked Ravens. Terry Fox built up a 36-0 lead in the third quarter before Hawks QB Justin Chapdelaine finally got his team on the board with TD tosses to Boseko Lokombo and Cory Jensen.
“We didn’t want them to score, so it wasn’t a perfect game,” said Ravens fullback Joe Patko, who rushed for three TDs and was named game MVP. “But was still scored 57 points.”
In the fourth quarter, with the outcome long since decided, the Ravens drew the ire of the Hawks after successfully executing a fake punt. The decision drew an animated reaction from Kelly on the Mouat sideline.
“I never would have done that, never in a million years,” Kelly said afterward. “I think they really wanted to win by a certain margin . . . which is okay, but I think it indicates a certain fullness of themselves that I don’t think is healthy. Because a lot of years you’re not going to be able to do that. Someone might remember that.”
* The junior Hawks’ victory marked the program’s second B.C. title. They also won the AAA Grade 10 crown in 2001.
* Mouat tailback Lokombo, the province’s offensive player of the year, is being pursued by a number of high-profile NCAA programs. He told The News that he’s narrowed his choices down to three finalists: Oregon, Oregon State and California.