April 29, 2017 Langford, BC (ISN) – The Spartans Sooke Thunderbirds 9-man Junior Bantam team did, what many might have thought unthinkable, in defeating the 3-0 sophomore Westshore Warriors 42-35 at Westshills Stadium in Langford Saturday afternoon in an exciting week five matchup in the Vancouver Island Community Football Association.
For the aspiring T-birds, the win is their second in as many games, defeating their namesake Spartans of Victoria last weekend 38-0 to improve to 2-2 on the season.
In a contrast of 12 man (Warriors) and 9 man (Spartans Sooke T-Birds) games. It would be the Warriors looking to make the adjustment to the quicker 9 man game, playing without the security of 3 extra men on both sides of the ball, would fall behind in the first half, only to storm back in the second half falling just short of completing a comeback performance, putting 28 of 35 points on the board in the last half.
An offensive display much of the game, pitting ground attack versus ground attack, both sides would account for a total of eleven TD’s in the game. Sooke’s field general, Nathan Knight, wouldn’t take long to make a statement. Doing something no team has yet done this year, the Thunderbirds would open the scoring against the Warriors. Quinn Threlfall would record his first of four touchdowns on the afternoon. Running out of the backfield, Threlfall was nearly unstoppable if left to the sideline to run north to south. Sooke’s double threat, Riley Berfelo, would add two additional running TD’s to compliment the T-Bird offense on the day.
Westshore Warriors would look to share quarterbacking duties to keep the T-Birds guessing. Hunter Bowles, inserted in as quarterback the last two games in place of an absent starting QB Simon Hales, would find relief with the return of Hales. Bowles, Warriors all-around talent, would play from four different positions in the game, to score 2 TD’s and one pass conversion. Noah Mcmillan, Westshore’s apparent kick return specialist, would run for 2 TD’s to match Bowles, including a kick return in the third quarter to keep his team close as Sooke looked to put the game away. Brennan Blondeau would tally as well for the red and black, with a rushing TD of his own to round out the scoring.
Both sides would sparr in the first quarter, asserting each other’s ground attack to knot the score at 6-6 on TD’s by Bowles (Warriors) and Trelfall (T-Birds).
The second frame may have made all the difference in the final outcome, as Sooke would tally with two unanswered TD’s, again Quinn Threlfall adding his second TD of the game, and a great defensive, pic-6 for the major by Riley Berfelo to turn away a threating Warrior offense, and take a commanding 20-6 lead into the locker room.
If you know Warriors head coach Riun Fjelstad, you would also know that the Warriors would not let a first half let down define a game. The Warriors would find a way to battle back from a fourteen-point half time deficit, as both teams would turn up the offensive heat in the third quarter cumulatively scoring six touchdowns.
Westshore would start their comeback bid with a 28 yard, slice and dice, scamper by Hunter Bowles to the house. Not without reply, Sooke’s Quinn Threlfall, scoring his third, would take a 2-yard stab after being set up by teammate Brefelo’s 50+ yard run to hold a 26-14 lead.
Warriors would surge ahead for their first lead in the game on a pair of big plays. Warriors Noah McMillan would rock the T-Birds with a TD kick return to start the comeback bid. Hunter Bowles’ ensuing onside kick and recovery would set up Brennan Blondeau to run 55 yards for the major to give Westshore the 28-26 lead late in the third quarter. Touchdowns by Sooke’s Brefelo ( 62 yard run ) and Warrior’s McMillan ( 55 yard run ) would put teams at near deadlock to end the third with Sooke holding advantage 35-34.
Spartan Sooke Thunderbirds would seal the win with one final TD in the fourth quarter, fittingly by Quinn Threlfall, recording his fourth and final TD of the game to seal the win for his Thunderbirds.
On a side note, equally impressive to the scoring frenzy despite the 11 TD’s, was the defensive nose for the ball as the game saw three interceptions, and no fewer than five blocked conversion attempts.
Westshore next host another 9-man team in the Comox Raiders at Westhills Stadium what will be a hopeful “bounce back” game for the Fjelstad crew. The T-Birds take on the Gordon Head Raiders at Edward Milne Secondary. Both games will take place May7th, 2:00pm start time in Sooke, and 3:00 pm in Langford.