by Howard Tsunamura, The Province, Nov 15, 2013
W.J. MOUAT 50 at HANDSWORTH 22
NORTH VANCOUVER — A big-play run game can be a football team’s best friend on those afternoons when the heavens open up wide and let pour, and the W.J. Mouat Hawks have got one of those to be sure.
Maleek Irons rushed 17 times for 243 yards and four touchdowns on Friday, carrying the Hawks to a decisive 50-22 win over the host Handsworth Royals at Windsor Secondary.
It was a game in which the Hawks struck early and often, making big plays a huge part of its first three touchdowns as it built a 22-0 first quarter lead and never looked back the rest of the way.
“We didn’t get a first down on our first possession of the game,” acknowledged W.J. Mouat head coach Denis Kelly. “But after that we were able to roll with it pretty good. They weren’t able to deal with our running game right off the bat.”
That was evidenced by Irons’ 98-yard scoring run on the first play of the Hawks second series.
Mouat defensive back Providence Ndizeye then picked off Handsworth quarterback Mike Lemoine, taking it back down to the Royals’ 35 yard line, allowing the Hawks to cap a drive with a two-yard Irons’ TD run. Mouat lined up to kick a single, but pivot Hunter Struthers kept it for the two-point convert and a 15-0 lead.
Flanker Slater McRae then capped the third drive with a 68-yard touchdown and a 22-0 lead.
“The really extreme rain limited their passing game,” said Kelly of Handsworth. “But several times their quarterback was on the money and receivers were unable to hang on. And a couple of passes were tipped by our guys. Then the score got out of hand.”
Irons added TDs from 58 and four yards before the game was over, while tailback Jacob Dodd rushed for a two-yard score.
Struthers didn’t pass much, but he was 5-of-5 for 106 yards, including a 51-yard strike to tight end Jake Firlotte who caught four passes for 99 yards.
Ndizeye, Manpreet Chhina and Clovis Lumeka each came away with interceptions for the Hawks’ defence which was led by three tackles apiece by Chhina, Lumeka and McRae.
With a week off to prepare, the Hawks knew they were preparing for a dangerous foe, one that had already beaten Vancouver College this season.
“They looked very good in a number of games,” Kelly said of scouting the Royals. “In certain cases, they didn’t look bad against Mt. Douglas, but they had some bad breaks.”