By Howard Tsumura, The Province November 18, 2012
Study their respective credentials and you’d think this coming weekend’s Subway Bowl 2012 playoff clash between Abbotsford’s W.J. Mouat Hawks and the Mt. Douglas Rams of Victoria is the game for all of the marbles in B.C. Triple A football.
They are the only two teams to hold the No. 1 spot during the regular season in The Province’s Big 5 rankings, each has just a single loss on their collective resumes, and, behind the two most explosive offences in B.C., they boast a combined 19-2 record.
Alas, the re-match of last season’s championship final – won 42-35 in comeback fashion by the Rams – has come at the semifinal stage this season, meaning any respective plans of a return to the showcase game Dec. 1 at B.C. Place Stadium will first include knocking the other out.
That was the script set Friday evening, as two of the province’s most special players once again answered the big-game call and put forth efforts that lifted their teams to quarterfinal-round victories.
At UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium, No. 1 Mouat steamrollered its way past the West Vancouver Highlanders 55-20, as its spectacular Grade 11 running back Maleek Irons proved he’s as good in the playoffs as he was in the regular season.
Irons rushed 26 times for 290 yards and six touchdowns and also recovered a fumble in the West Vancouver end zone to score a seventh major, absolutely stunning numbers if he hadn’t already set the B.C. high school single-game rushing record of 491 yards (with five touchdowns) in Mouat’s 52-49 win over Mt. Douglas on Oct. 13.
Earlier in the day, in the provincial capital, the No. 3 Rams beat the No. 5 Terry Fox Ravens of Port Coquitlam 45-20 behind the sterling exploits of three-phase specialist Marcus Davis, who caught four passes for 129 yards and three touchdowns, returned a kickoff 90 yards for another score, and even came through with a key red-zone interception.
“It’s big because we lost to them,” Irons said when asked about his team’s impending rematch with the Rams in a Final Four round which will return to UBC Friday and Saturday. “It was upsetting, so we wanted to see them again. We just want to play hard.”
Interesting to note that this season’s victory over Mt. Douglas wasn’t even a part of Irons’ postgame thought process Friday, even though it was a victory in which he put forth the most dominant single-game performance in provincial history, and moved his team into the No. 1 spot for the final four weeks of the regular season.
Meanwhile, the Rams, winners of four straight, saw its defence pitch a shutout into the third quarter, Mt. Douglas going up 31-0 when Ashton MacKinnon threw an eight-yard pass to Davis.
“I cannot not say enough great things about Marcus Davis and his talents,” said Mt. Douglas head coach Mark Townsend. “He is a special young man. Our defence played their strongest game of the season against a quality and well coached Terry Fox team. We were extremely pleased with our defensive effort and pressure.”