Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
November 30, 2013, Vancouver, BC (ISN) – The Ballenas Whalers put up a great battle, but the Qualicum Beach school basically ran out of time, as they fell 23-20 to the GW Graham Grizzlies in the BC High School Football AA Junior Varsity Championship game Saturday morning at BC Place in Vancouver.
The game was an evenly matched affair with both teams trying their best to establish running games against solid defences, both of which held strong during the first quarter with neither team getting on the scoreboard.
GW Graham’s Emerson Smith looks for some running room early against Ballenas on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
At the end of the quarter, the Whalers were driving well, but an interception by the Grizzlie’s Tyler Sprott put an end to the drive. Sprott then contributed offensively, catching a pass and running down to the Whalers’ 29 yard-line, but the Whalers defence held and the Grizzlies settled for a 22-yard field goal to go ahead 3-0.
GW Graham running back Billy Hanson was a handful for the Whalers defence Saturday, running for a number of punishing yards (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Grizzlies would then add to their lead, surprising the Whalers with an onside kick and then driving the distance, with big back Billy Hanson contributing a couple of punishing carries, as well as the finishing score from 2 yards out. With the convert, GW Graham led 10-0.
Ballenas quarterback Garrin McDonnell is pursued by Graham defender Jordan Breuker during the AA JV Championship Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The scrappy Whalers would answer back immediately. After a nice catch and run on a screen by Brenden Harstad that set up a first and goal, Ballenas’s Matt Price would punch it in for the score to cut the lead to 10-7.
While it appeared that Ballenas receiver Sam Paquette had an easy touchdown in his grasp, he would drop this ball, denying the Whalers an opportunity to score (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
After a pair of failed possessions by both sides, the Grizzlies would score again prior to the half, this time with quarterback Jordan Breuker calling his own number and punching it in from just a few yards out. The Grizzlies missed the convert but took the 16-7 lead into the half.
Ballenas’s Matt Price had an excellent game Saturday, including rushing for a pair of touchdowns (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Whalers picked up their running game early in the second half, most notably Price who scrambled and pounded his way for some tough yards against the tough Grizzlies defence. After a trade of possessions, Price’s hard work paid off with a 5-yard touchdown run just before the end of the quarter and the Whalers lead was cut to 16-14.
Graham defensive back Tristan Davis would get away with this facemask against the Whaler’s Brody Seselja during the JV AA final Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Just when it looked like that score would set up an interesting 4th quarter, the Grizzlies sent a dagger flying at the Whalers, as speedy back Emerson Smith broke free on a sweep and rambles 41 yards for the score to put the Grizzlies up 23-14 heading into the final frame.
GW Graham’s Emerson Smith would cut this run back and then ramble for a 41-yard game winning touchdown against Ballenas on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
They looked to then put the game away a few minutes later, driving all the way to the Ballenas 2-yard line, before a fumble gave the ball, and some life, back to the Whalers.
Ballenas quarterback Garrin McDonnell would go down swinging, as he would score a 33-yard touchdown to pull the Whalers within 3 with 2:30 to play (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Whalers would use that break to march all the way down the field, and thanks to some spectacular runs from quarterback Garrin McDonnell, including a 33-yarder for the score, the Whalers would pull to 23-20 with 2:35 left to play.
This run by Graham QB Jordan Breuker would secure a first down and allow the Grizzlies to run out the clock in their win over the Whalers Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Whalers then tried a short kick to no avail, and that gave the Grizzlies the chance to run out the clock, which they did, preserving the 23-20 win and capturing the 2013 AA Junior Varsity Subway Bowl title.
GW Graham’s HEad Coach is treated to the traditional victory dousing from his players after the Grizzies 23-20 win over Ballenas in the AA JV Championship (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
MVP for the game was GW Graham’s Jordan Breuker while teammate Emerson Smith was named outstanding back. Ballenas’s Stephen Martin was named the outstanding lineman for the game.