Photo: Paulette Hunt Baker
By Howard Tsunamura, The Province, September 18, 2015
AA No. 1 ABBOTSFORD 39 at W.J. MOUAT 36
ABBOTSFORD — The Chase Claypool legend continues to grow.
The Abbotsford Panthers’ star wide receiver scored three straight touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including the winning major after he recovered his team’s onside kick as the Panthers topped its crosstown rivals and Triple A hosts, the W.J. Mouat Hawks, on Friday.
“I am proud of the fight in this team and how they never stopped, even when they were down and the crowd was chanting the game was over,” said Abby head coach Jay Fujimura of a contest the Hawks led 36-17 heading into the fourth quarter.
Claypool rushed for back-to-back touchdowns, then after recovering an onside kick, fought off two Mouat defenders to catch a John Madigan pass and break a tackle before scoring the decisive major with about 30 seconds remaining.
Leading 37-36, Abby went for two, and again, Claypool answered the call, running it in to make the final score complete.
“Claypool is a once in a lifetime player,” said Mouat head coach Travis Bell. “I thought we did a pretty darned good job on him the whole game. But in the end, as long as he’s in the game, he’s going to make plays and he did that in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter.”
Madigan had earlier thrown touchdown pass to Tanner Marquardt and Reese Morrison.
It was both a heartbreaker and a litmus test for a young Hawks team.
Senior running back Dion Pellerin carried 22 times for 119 yards and a score, while Grade 11 RB Nelson Lokombo rushed 12 times for 61 yards and another.
Mouat quarterback Noah Dietrich was 10-of-25 for 225 yards, and threw three touchdown passes to Elijah Falconer, who finished his day with four catches for 155 yards.
“What a game,” said Mouat’s Bell. “A great atmosphere, and a great night for football in Abbotsford. I am so proud of the way we played the entire game. Unfortunately some things went against us late in the game that sparked Abby and let them find that second breath. We are still a young team and learning how to close games is something that will come.”
One guy who has played like a true leader is Pellerin.
“Dion played like a man on a mission today.,” continued Bell. “He had some amazing runs and did a great job, along with Nelson Lokombo, covering Claypool for the vast majority of the game.”