The W.J. Mouat Hawks’ decisive victory over the Kelowna Owls in the provincial AAA high school football playoffs was a classic case of delayed gratification.
The quarter-final clash had originally been scheduled for Saturday afternoon in Kelowna, but had to be rescheduled because a foot of snow blanketed the artificial turf field.
Then there was an effort to shift the game to Kamloops on Sunday morning, but that arrangement fell through for a variety of reasons.
Ultimately, the two teams ended up heading to Abbotsford to play the game at Mouat Field on Monday afternoon. The Hawks wasted little time taking control, racing out to a 36-0 halftime lead en route to a 50-0 victory.
“It was a big hassle,” Mouat coach Denis Kelly said, reflecting on the scheduling odyssey. “But we’re kind of peaking right now, defensively especially. We’re shutting people down, while trying to maintain our offence and trying to work on various things.”
Nathan Henczel spearheaded the defensive charge in the early going – the senior defensive back made two interceptions in the first quarter, including one in the end zone. Linebacker Jake Heathcote also had a big game, racking up 13 tackles in limited playing time, as the Hawks’ starters sat for most of the second half.
Quarterback Daniel Markin led the way offensively, throwing for three touchdowns and rushing for another in the first half. Two of his scoring strikes went to Deion Bain, while Grade 10 fullback Maleek Irons caught the other.
Devin Logan, Gary Lumeka and Mario Narte also rushed for majors, as the No. 2-ranked Hawks punched their ticket to meet the No. 3 Vancouver College Fighting Irish in the AAA semifinals. That game goes on Saturday evening at UBC, though the exact kickoff time has yet to be set.
Mouat defeated Van College 42-14 back on Oct. 1, but Kelly noted that game was closer than the score indicated.
“They played reasonably well, but we had a couple interceptions early in the game when they were driving for touchdowns,” he recalled. “They were moving the ball.
“We know they’ve got a highly skilled and huge team with a big, tough line. They’ve been really working hard to get back at us, and they’re very happy to play us, because they want to show that game was not a true indication of their strength. We know what we’re up against.”
On Monday, the Hawks had three players named to the AAA all-province team – running back Logan, linebacker Heathcote, and wide receiver Bain. Additionally, Markin was awarded a $1,000 scholarship that recognizes football ability, academics, and community service.