Abbotsford News, Published: September 09, 2012 3:00 PM
It’s a tall enough order simply trying to tackle W.J. Mouat Hawks tailback Maleek Irons, powerful and elusive as he is.
Factor in the Hawks’ road grader of an offensive line, and the Grade 11 speedster becomes downright unstoppable.
The Robert Bateman Timberwolves got a first-hand taste of that reality on Friday evening, as Irons racked up 324 yards and five touchdowns on just 13 carries in a 64-34 non-conference victory at Mouat Field.
“Once he gets a head of steam and gets into the secondary, it’s basically just one or two missed tackles and he’s gone,” noted Hawks coach Denis Kelly, whose team led 28-0 after the first quarter and 42-6 at the half.
“But it’s like any good back – if there’s no holes there, you’re dancing around with nowhere to go. He’s getting very good blocking up front. It’s 10 other guys doing their job for him to get the type of runs that he has, and he has the talent to take advantage of those situations.”
Clovis Lumeka had touchdowns on both sides of the ball for Mouat, rushing for a 61-yard TD and returning a fumble to the end zone on defence. Quarterback Mario Narte also accounted for a pair of majors, tossing a 55-yard pass to Steven Baker and scoring on a five-yard QB sneak.
Friday’s tilt marked the only game against a fellow Abbotsford team this season for the Hawks (2-0), who are No. 2 in the provincial AAA rankings.
For Bateman (0-1), ranked No. 5 in AA, the defeat was not without silver linings.
After struggling to move the ball for much of the first half, the T-Wolves got on the board late in the second quarter when quarterback Tanner Friesen hit running back John Beckerleg for a TD.
Bateman had much more success after the break, outscoring Mouat 28-22 the rest of the way. Beckerleg (pictured below) would rush for two more majors en route to 128 yards on the ground, while running back Ben Cummings (98 rush yards, one TD) and tight end Kent Hicks (10 catches for 132 yards, one TD) also found the end zone.
“It was a whole new game for the kids (after halftime),” said Bateman coach Alfred Brathwaite, noting that his team hadn’t even had a chance to scrimmage prior to Friday’s contest. “It makes a huge difference when they get their confidence back.
“By the time they realized they were in a football game, it was a little too late. But they didn’t give up.”
Kelly noted that the T-Wolves’ outside speed hurt the Hawks in the second half. “They’ve got a nice team,” Kelly said. “At the AA level, they have the talent to compete with anyone.”