by Howard Tsunamura, The Province, Oct 6, 2012
ST. THOMAS MORE 32 at W.J. MOUAT 28
ABBOTSFORD — Trailing by 10 points with two-and-a-half minutes remaining, the No. 4-ranked St. Thomas More Knights (1-1, 3-2) mounted the most improbable of comebacks to stun the previously undefeated, host No. 2-ranked W.J. Mouat Hawks (1-1, 5-1) on Friday night.
Trailing 28-26, and facing a third-and-20 in the dying stages of the contest, STM quarterback Chase Malcolm fired a 43-yard touchdown pass to receiver Gio Trasolini for the victory.
Yet the comeback itself began at 28-18 when the Knights’ Jalen Jana returned a kickoff to the Mouat three-yard line. Elliott Nelson, who scored twice in the game in his first game back from injury this season, bulled his way in for a two-yard major. Malcolm then hit Kevin Marshall on play-action to add the two-point convert that drew the Burnaby team to within a pair.
STM then wisely elected to attempt an onside kick, a strange knuckler that at first appeared to be headed backwards before covering the requisite forward distance.
Marshall was able to recover it, but ensuing penalties to the Knights put them in a most precarious position, with Malcom somehow able to find Trasolini for the dramatic score.
The Hawks, however, had a little comeback in themselves as well.
Provincial rushing leader Maleek Irons, who was held to just 75 yards rushing on the day, found himself on the end of a long pass-and-run play that got the ball down to the STM 15-yard line.
An athletic Malcolm Lee was able to stop Irons from going the distance, before Drew Belgrave came through with a game-clinching interception.
It was a heart stopping night whose finish seemed unlikely after the Knights, like they were last week en route to a 41-26 loss at Mt, Douglas, trailed 14-0 in the opening quarter.
Irons returned the opening kickoff 70 yards to the STM 10 where QB Mario Narte soon added a major. St. Thomas More then coughed up a snap to the punter which Irons later converted with a short scoring run.
“It was crazy, the same as last week,” said STM head coach Bernie Kully. “But the difference this week is that we kept on playing.”
They did. STM scored 18 straight before a sneak by Narte and a 20-yard interception return by Crysthian Rivas gave the Hawks what looked to be victory No. 7 on the season.
For STM, Trasolini also scored on a 46-yard interception return, while Marshall hauled in a 50-yard pass from Malcolm for another score,. Malcolm passed for 213 yards and two scores, and also took a pick to the house on defence.
Kully was very pleased with the job the Knights were able to do in Irons, who despite not hitting 100 yards in rushing, still continued to find ways to help his team.
“We knew that their offence went through him, and it was a huge test,” said Kully. “But our front seven did great. It’s a point of pride here at STM to stop the run.”
Nelson finished with eight tackles and a fumble recovery to lead the defence.
For Mouat, Nick Westad had 15 tackles, Sheriden Lawley nine, Rivas seven and Taylor Hinton seven.
“STM played an excellent game and were full value for the win,” said Mouat head coach Denis Kelly, whose team had six turnovers, four fumbles and threw two interceptions. “They shut down our best plays and they forced turnovers. We have to regroup and try to rectify things next week against Mt. Douglas.”