Story and Images by Erich Eichhorn
May 29,2016 Vernon, BC (ISN) – One hundred and forty-seven of BC’s finest, young football talent shined this weekend in at Vernon Athletic Park in Vernon, BC as they swept the four-game, BC vs Alberta, ABC Border Bowl series for the first time in Border Bowl history.
BC’s Liam Gombrich’s size made him a hard target to stop as Alberta’s Justin Stoneham would find out – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Since 2013, Alberta and BC have met eight times in Bowl competition, BC holding the edge with a 5-3 record. Marking the first time all four-grade levels competed in same day competition, BC put on display of the highest caliber the province has to offer.
Despite some inclement weather that may have had some spectators wondering if it was fall ball that they were witnessing, nonetheless braved the wet and blustery elements the afternoon offered up to cheer on their provincial representatives.
Here is a recap of the days games.
BC Young Stars BC 46-6
In the opening game of the day the BC Young Stars, BC jumped out to an early 25-0 halftime lead against Alberta and never looked back, defeating the visiting side 46-6 in an impressive play on both sides of the ball.
Alberta Young Star Anthony Paul keeps the legs churning despite a BC tackler’s best effort to bring him down – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
BC would assert the ground game early as BC’s offensive line would make the running game easy, creating open holes in the front line to run through. Vernon’s own 6’ 225 lb Liam Gombrich would open the scoring with a running play up the middle from four yards out on the hand off from QB Kayle Cowley. Alberta’s QB Kadison Ferguson and his offense team would stutter against a BC defense that would be quick to the ball, and strong on the offensive line penetration. Alberta would play much of the game in their own end, as BC would dominate on the front line with size and speed. BC’s for a total of four running majors in the opening half to take a commanding 25-0 halftime lead on added TD’s by Alexandros Thanos, Aydon Coyle, and Haidyn Vermuelen.
BC Young Star Jude Buchanan takes the pass in the flat – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
BC would continue to roll in the second half, putting up another 21 points on the board on scores by Parker MacKeeman, Aydon Coyle (2) and to Billy Williamson on pass left uncovered in the end zone from Cowley.
Alberta, showing fight late in the game, would catch BC, perhaps too comfortable in their lead and sitting back. QB Ferguson would go to the air, finding his receiver behind the BC coverage deep in the end zone to erase the donut from the board in what would be the last points in the game for either side.
Future Stars BC 32-30
In the Future Stars game, BC would enjoy an early first quarter 16-6 lead only to see Alberta battle back late in the half on a last play interception and run back that would give BC a narrow 16-14 lead at half time. Alberta would find quicker defensive pace in the second half to quiet the BC offense run game that dominated play earlier for the host team. It would take BC until 2:49 remaining in the second quarter before they would find an answer to the defensive play of Alberta to convert a first down.
BC’s Brock Pelwecki breaks one tackle for extra yards – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
Alberta would capitalize on BC’s second turnover of the game to take a 22-16 lead midway through the third quarter. In a heads up play BC’s Cade Cote would pick up the Braden Reed-stripped ball in the Alberta back field to run in for the TD and give the lead back to BC 24-22 in a back and forth battle to end the third quarter.
BC QB Taylor Nyberg delivers the ball before Alberta defender David Vanriken can get to him – Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)
BC’s ground attack, frustrated by stronger Alberta defensive play earlier, would get back on track in the fourth quarter, despite an Alberta TD to give the lead back to the visitors 30-24. BC would gamble successfully on 4th and eight with only 2:25 remaining in the game to keep their drive alive. BC’s Jevon Anutooshkin’s 52-yard run up the middle on the following play would prove the game wining TD in a narrow 32-20 win.
BC and Alberta would play well on both sides of the ball in a back and forth match up – Erich Eichhorn image ( www.allsportmedia.ca)
Alberta would make one last, late, down field bid that would go intercepted to end the game and give BC the win.
Rising Selects BC 28-0
In the matinee game, both sides would play a tight, defensive battle through the first twenty five minutes of play until BC would force Alberta to take a safety to go up 2-0 half way in the second quarter of play.
Vancouver Island’s Victoria Spartan Tyson Boyd would score the first TD in the game on 3rd and goal with three minutes left in the half to increase their lead 9-0.
Alberta’s QB Grady Munroe would challenge BC at their 33-yard line late in the half but would be unable to covert filed position into points. BC would come up big with seconds remaining in the half when a Josh Fletcher interception and run back to the Alberta ten yard line would set up the eventual TD by Jacob Macri, taking the pass from the five yard line to run it in for the major to go to the locker room 16-0.
In more Vancouver Island heroics, receiver Carter Price climbed a contested ladder in the corner of the end zone to pull down the TD thrown by QB Jayden Mourato to start the fourth quarter, going up 22-0 after a dominating 3rd quarter of play where BC would hold most of the possession time with 6 consecutive converted first downs to back Alberta up leading into the final frame.
BC QB Kostas Bach, inserted into the game, would give BC an insurance marker handing off the ball inside to Mathew Klak, running the ball untouched from 26 yards out for the final TD in the game 28-0 with 5:03 remaining.
Alberta would get one last chance for points camped on BC’s 33 yard line but a stifling defense would turn away any Alberta chance at putting points on the board as BC would roll on with the shut out 28-0 win.
Rising Stars BC 35-31
In the marquis matchup BC’s Rising Stars, grades 10-11, would steal the win and complete the BC sweep on the day as BC would score with two minutes remaining to pull out the 35-31 comeback win.
Alberta, hoping to save face with a win on the day after dropping the three earlier matchups, would strike first when QB Ryan Genswein would find Jesse Borzell in the end zone five minutes into the first quarter. BC would answer back on the final play of the opening quarter on a diving stab with the ball by Chris Smith to pull even 7-7.
In a game full of answers, both teams would spar offense to defense and vis versa with stellar play. Alberta would kick for a field goal half way through the second quarter, not taking any chances against the stingy BC defensive core. Alberta would go up 10-7.
BC not to be denied a reply would send QB Tristen Yanciw into the end zone with a quarterback sneak go retake the lead 14-10 with only 36 seconds left in the half. With only seconds remaining on the clock Alberta’s Daniel Perry would start to go to work. Perry, on the subsequent kick return, would run 70 yards to put his team in scoring position. QB Yanciw, rewarding Perry’s effort, would toss to him again in the end zone to regain the lead on the final play of the half 17-14.
A balanced Alberta attack would back BC up to their own 15-yard line. Alberta QB Tommy Yanchuk would scramble for the major to push ahead of BC 24-14.
BC QB Olivares, inserted back into the game with all the right answers to take his team down field, would call his own number from the one-yard line for the TD to reply with a 24-21 score after three quarters of play.
With 6:55 remaining in the fourth quarter, BC’s Olivares would put the ball up in the air and down field for a Colburn Pearce 56 yard reception and run for the longest major of the game and a 28-24 lead
Alberta’s Connor Berkholtz would find a gap to carry the ball 32 yards for the major to retake a 31-28 lead in a seesaw battle that kept fans on the edge of their seats.
BC would put the ball in the hands of QB Tristan Yanciw with 2 minutes remaining in the game. After another talented sideline run by Ethan Beselt to burn the Alberta secondary and gain entry into Alberta territory, Yanciw would hook up with his receiver Noah Williams at the ten-yard line. That gain would set up a Yanciw keeper for what would ultimately be the winning TD.
Alberta, not willing to lie down, would find themselves on the BC 35-yard line with 23 second remaining. Alberta QB Yanchuk would look down field one time too many as BC’s Anthony Phan would step in front of the intended receiver at the 2 yard line to intercept the ball and end Alberta’s comeback bid and seal the win for his BC team 35-31.
No sweeter were the four BC victories than the Vancouver Island contingent of thirteen players that had the opportunity to debut their talent for the first time on behalf of the ABC Border Bowls and All Canadian Gridiron. Until this year, Vancouver Island players were excluded from the Border Bowl selection process. The players, comprised largely, but not exclusively, of Victoria Spartans players made their presence felt as worthy additions to this year’s dominating performance over Alberta.
This years Vancouver Island 2016 ABC Border Bowl Players were as follows:
Hunter Bowles – BC Young Stars
Tomas Foge – BC Future Stars
Tyson Boyd – BC Rising Selects
Jalen Cung – BC Rising Selects
Carter Price – BC Rising Selects
Connor Way – BC Rising Selects
Joshua David Rice – BC Rising Selects
Nicholas Young – BC Rising Selects
Mitchell Gudgeon – BC Rising Stars
Jason Ouellet – BC Rising Stars
Bailey Lamont – BC Rising Stars
Tanner Hayward – BC Rising Stars
Braydon Belton – BC Rising Stars
Congratulations to all.