Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
December 1, 2013, Vancouver, BC (ISN) – The Mt. Douglas Rams have put their name in the record books, as they became the first team since 1998 to win three consecutive BC High School Football Varsity AAA Provincial Football Championships, thanks to an exciting 32-27 win over the Terry Fox Ravens at the Subway Bowl at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver on Saturday evening.
The last team to accomplish the feat was Richmond, who won three titles in 1996, 1997 and 1998, while the Notre Dame Jugglers are the only other team to have accomplished the three-peat in BC High School Football history.
Mt. Doug quarterback Ashton MacKinnon (13) drives through Terry Fox defender Kyle Miller on this first quarter run Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The win over the Ravens did not come easily and the Rams probably have to thank a tough semi-final game last weekend – a 39-33 win over Lord Tweedsmuir – that helped them prepare for an even tougher battle against the Ravens, who had gone 6-1 in league play and who a week earlier, had shut down the AAA Offensive MVP, Maleek Irons, in their 17-6 semi-final win over W.J. Mouat.
Marcus Davis (5) would set the tone for the Rams early, scoring a 23-yard touchdown on the Rams first possession of the game Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Ravens were hoping to do the same to the Rams’ superstar Marcus Davis on Saturday and while Davis was quiet at times and had to battle hard for many of his yards, the Mt. Doug back was still able to amass a total of 161 yards rushing on 27 carries, along with three touchdowns, as well as another 56 yards on the receiving side of things, to help pace the Rams attack and earn MVP honours for the game.
Rams QB Ashton MacKinnon would get the Rams into scoring position before calling his own number for the Rams second touchdown of the day Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
However it was Davis’s interception of a Conner McKee pass with less than two minutes remaining and the Ravens on their way to what would have been a game winning score, that perhaps was his biggest play of the game, as it allowed the Rams to then run out the clock and secure the win.
With 161 yards on 27 carries in total, the Ram’s Marcus Davis kept the Terry Fox defenders on their toes all game Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Rams can also thank their quick start offence for putting them into a 12-0 lead, one from which they never looked back. After Fox went unsuccessful on their first possession of the game, the Rams took the ball over on the Fox 41-yard line. Just three plays later, Davis scampered in from 23 yards out to give the Rams a 6-0 lead just less than three minutes into the game.
Mt. Doug’s Ashton MacKinnon was 11 for 15 in passing for a total of 157 yards in the Rams Subway Bowl win over Terry Fox (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Rams defence would then stop a lengthy Raven’s drive at the Ram’s 21, where quarterback Ashton MacKinnon would take things over and mount a strong drive that was capped off by MacKinnon calling his own number for a 1-yard keeper. The Rams would once again miss the convert and would lead 12-0 with 3:57 remaining in the first quarter.
Ram’s quarterback Ashton MacKinnon stays one step ahead of Terry Fox linebacker Isiaiah Stevens during this run in the AAA Varsity Subway Bowl Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
For most teams this season, getting down 12-0 early to the Rams would spell disaster, but not so the Ravens. They would respond quickly on the ensuing kick-off when Kieshon Ross would return the ball all the way to the Rams’ 29 yard line. They would eventually drive to the 12-yard line, and come away with just a missed field goal early in the second quarter to show for it, but the message was sent that they were not going to go away easily.
Although he did not block the kick, Mt. Doug’s Byron MacKinnon (50) was distracting enough to force Terry Fox kicker Conner McLeod to miss on this first half field goal opportunity (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
That message was sent again later in the quarter, when after a solid defensive hold by the Ravens, McKee and his offence would take the ball at mid-field and eventually drive in for the Raven’s first score of the day, a 4-yard run by Michael West. With the convert, the Ravens then trailed 12-7.
Terry Fox running back Michael West would get the Ravens on the board with a second quarter touchdown against the Rams on Saturday. West would finish with 70 yards rusihing on the day (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
As they have done all year, the Rams responded immediately. Taking possession on their own 37-yard line, runs by Davis and Julian Luis and then a 20-yard pass play to Davis, moved the ball deep into Raven’s territory. Seye Farinu then completed the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run and the Rams jumped back into an 18-7 lead.
Mt. Doug’s Seye Farinu would slide by a host of Raven defenders to score a 15-yard touchdown that gave the Rams an 18-7 second quarter lead (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
In what was starting to become a see-saw first half, it would be the Ravens turn to respond quickly with a 61-yard scoring drive that was highlighted by a 25-yard pass and run play from McKee to Adrial Sellers and then an 8-yard touchdown run from Jerico Mendez that would cut the lead to 19-14 with 3:11 left in the half.
Terry Fox quarterback Conner McKee was outstanding Saturday, leading his team effectively to keep pace with the Rams (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Ravens would then blow a key chance to take the lead, as the Rams would fumble the ball back to them deep in Rams territory, but the Rams defence came up with a big third-down stop then on fourth down, the Ravens would once again miss a key field goal chance, coming away empty and allowing the Rams to take the 19-14 lead into the locker room at the half.
Conner McKee prepares to hand the ball to Jericho Mendez. Mendez’s 8-yard touchdown run would cut the Rams second quarter lead to 19-14 (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
On the first possession of the second half, the Rams would make the Ravens pay for that miscue, as they came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders and capped off an impressive drive with a MacKinnon pitch to Davis that he then carried 40 yards for the score, once again widening the Rams lead to 26-14.
Mt. Doug receiver Gavin Cobb (11) fends off Terry Fox defender Medwid Griffin (42) after making a catch early in the third-quarter Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Another solid kick return by the Raven’s Ross on the ensuing kick-off, combined with a personal foul penalty on the Rams, saw the Raven’s with the ball on the Rams 12-yard line. From there, McKee would call his own number to complete a quick scoring drive, scampering in from 10 yards out and, after a failed two-point convert – pulling to within six at 26-20.
Terry fox defender Michael West (44) would wrap up and sack Mt. Doug quarterback Ashton MacKinnon for a loss on this play during their Subway Bowl game on Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Once again, the Rams would counter that score quickly, as some hard running by McKinnon and then a 27-yard pass completion to Alexis Keppenne would move the ball down to the Fox 6-yard line. That would set up a 1-yard run by Davis that would put the Rams into a 32-20 lead and provide them with what turned out to be the game winning score.
Rams quarterback Ashton MacKinnon goes on yet another run and searches for a way to get by Terry Fox defender Brycen Mayo (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The fourth quarter began with Fox driving hard for another score and their hard work was rewarded when Kyle Deugau scampered in with 9:39 remaining to once again pull the Ravens to within five, 32-27.
Terry Fox receiver Jason Shamatutu carries the ball upfield after catching a pass during third quarter action Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Rams next possession then stalled at mid-field and required a rare punt by MacKinnon. He promptly nailed a beauty, bouncing it out of bounds at the Terry Fox 5-yard line, and forcing the Ravens, if they wanted the win, to drive 95 yards with just over seven minutes to play.
Terry Fox players Riley Huber (66) and Michael West (44) look down in concern on their quarterback Conner McKee (7) after he was flattened by a pair of Mt. Doug defenders during third quarter action Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
And drive they did, as the scrappy McKee and his offence would not go down without a fight, and along with the help of a Rams penalty, had moved the ball to mid-field and looked poised to get into position for the go-ahead score.
A battered and bruised Conner McKee would go down fighting Saturday, finishing the game with 9 out of 18 passing for 109 yards (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Cue Davis and his game saving interception. “They were split out wide and the pass was a little overthrown,” said Davis after the game, “But I just managed to run it down and come up with it.”
The Rams Marcus Davis on another of his 27 carries Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
After the pick, the Rams were able to kill the clock, preserve the 32-27 score and cement their place in the BC High School Football record books.
Offensively, the Rams had a total of 462 yards, with 305 of that coming on the ground and 157 through the air. Quarterback MacKinnon, who himself had some punishing runs in the game, finished 11 of 15 in passing for 157 yards with one interception – that coming on a Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half.
Fans of the P’Kols Rams (P’Kols is the traditional First Nation’s name for Mount Douglas) show their team spirit Saturday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
The Ram’s Zach Wilkinson (77) leads his team in a cheer following their 32-27 win over Terry Fox (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
On the other side of the ball, the Ravens put up 278 yards of total offence, 169 of which were on the ground, with 70 of those coming from their key back West. Quarterback McKee finished 9 of 18 in passing for 109 yards with one interception, the key pick by Davis at the end of the game.
Ram’s QB Ashton MacKinnon celebrates the win with teammate Foster McGee (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
Following the game, Rams Head Coach Mark Townsend did not want to use the “Dynasty” label, “NO, NO, NO, I don’t want to use that word. We will simply savour this win [and the two prior] and then the coaching staff will probably sit down on Monday and start planning for next year. We graduate 21 players and I know we will have some big shoes to fill, but with a fantastic group of Grade 11’s and a good core of Grade 10’s that will be moving up, I think the future of football at Mt. Doug looks pretty bright. I am not going to make any predictions, but we will be competitive for sure.”
The Rams Zach Wilkinson (left) was named Outstanding Lineman, while teammate Marcus Davis (right) was named Game MVP (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)
“I am just so proud of our kids,” added Townsend. “And a big congratulations to Terry Fox as well. What an epic battle. We did not expect anything different from them as they’ve given us so many close games over the years. Both teams should be really proud of the effort they put forth out there today.”
The 2013 BC High School Football Varsity AAA Champion Mt. Doug Rams (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / Island Sports News)