by Howard Tsunamura, The Province, Sept 28, 2012
W.J. MOUAT 47 at WEST VANCOUVER 33
WEST VANCOUVER — The West Vancouver Highlanders (0-1, 2-2) have perhaps played the two best back-to-back games in their recent history.
The tough part from their perspective is that they have come against teams occupying spots in The Province’s Big 5 rankings.
On Friday, the host men of plaid held the offensive juggernaut otherwise known as Abbotsford’s No. 2-ranked W.J. Mouat Hawks (1-0, 5-0), in check much of the way, but in the end came out on the short end of a 47-33 score.
“Today was another bittersweet game for West Van football,” mused Highlanders’ head coach Shawn Anderson, whose team fell 28-20 last week to No. 5 Terry Fox. “Sweet in that we played another solid game against a top five team and came away without a win. But I have never been more proud of a team that is have coached.”
The 14-point margin of victory was Mouat’s smallest of the campaign, but it’s beginning to look more and more each week like the 2012 edition of the Hawks is one of the most dominant ever fielded by head coach Denis Kelly.
Magnificent running back Maleek Irons carried 33 times for 376 yards and six touchdowns, bringing him to 1,438 yards and 24 majors on the season through five games.
“Yes, Irons ran for six TD’s,” continued Anderson, “but he had to earn them against our defense. “They are a great team. I have no idea how many carries and yards Irons had tonight, but I have never been as proud as I have am right now in our guys because they made him earn every yard. The Mouat offensive line is impressive but our guys held their own.”
“We faced a well-drilled West Van team who were able to move the ball well on us,” said Kelly after his team’s conference crossover win puts the Hawks at 1-0 in league play. “QB (Johnny) Franklin and receiver (Blake) Whitely lived up to their billing, and the supporting cast made several big plays as well.
“But I was quite happy with our overall second-half performance. The offensive line and Irons took control. We just couldn’t fully capitalize in the red zone, however, and that led to a close finish, West Van played hard and well to the very end.”
Franklin went 13-of-29 for 269 yards and three touchdowns against one interception, all of his scoring tosses gobbled up by the exciting Whitely who finished with five grabs for 139 yards. Whiteley also recovered a fumble and blocked a point after attempt. Tonny Lee also caught a touchdown pass.
James Oswald rushed for two scores in the loss, carrying 20 times for exactly 100 yards. Oswald and Anthony Oswald each collected eight tackles, the pair forcing three fumbles.
For the winner, Hawks B Mario Narte passed for 181 yards on just six completions (6-of-10), firing a 24-yard TD pass to tight end Chris Brake.
Jake Firlotte and Sheriden Lawley each led the Hawks defence with five tackles while Stephen Munga and Crysthian Rivas each totaled four tackles.