June 26, 2017 Ladysmith, BC (ISN) – Twenty-six teams and twelve weeks of play culminated in a Super Bowl Sunday last weekend as the Vancouver Island Community Football Association spring season came to a close with three teams hoisting the spoils of their championship victories Sunday on Vancouver Island.
Greater Victoria Minor Football Association’s Saanich Wolverines, perennial, season-long favorites would place teams from all three divisions atom, peewee, and junior bantam into the championships against the Spartan Sooke Thunderbirds, Oceanside Lions of Parksville, and the Southside Dawgs of Naniamo.
Playing on the neutral ground of Westhills Stadium, the newly-aligned Atom Spartan Sooke Thunderbird’s defense would dominate the field, nullifying otherwise explosive running game of the top-seeded Wolverines to take the Atom VICFA Cup with a 16-8 win.
The Thunderbirds, earning a berth to the final with a win over Gordon Head Raiders two weekends ago while the Wolverines sat idle with a bye, would compliment their swarming-style of defense with a pair of rushing TD’s by QB Austin Perry Lukas Schwartz. The Thunderbirds would enjoy a 8-0 lead at the end of the first half, and extend their lead 16-0 in third quarter before the Wolverine’s Heath White would find the much needed real estate to run 70 yards untouched for Saanich’s only TD of the game 16-8. Despite Saanich’s best efforts knot the score with their ground game, the quick-footed Thunderbirds equaled the Wolverine’s effort to lift their Cup in championship victory.
Ninety kilometers north, the 10-1 Saanich Wolverines Peewe team battled the 10-1 Oceanside Lions, hoping for their first win of the day. The Oceanside Lions, looking game scoring a league high points “for” total of 466 to keep pace in regular season play, would see their offense dry up on the afternoon in the sweltering 33 degree heat as the Wolverine’s would dominate on both sides of the ball to win the island crown with a 28-0 win and their fifth straight island title.
With QB Malik Gagne-Smith under center, Wolverine’s would open the scoring on their first possession with a 70 yard, sideline run to the house, and Hudson Poppitt would top all scorers running for three TD’s as the Wolverines would jump out to an 14-0 lead at the half, and never look back to shut out the Lions for the spring championship 28-0 win.
In the Championship Junior Bantam finale, Naniamo’s Southside Dawgs would take on the 2017 BCCFA Zone Bowl champion Saanich Wolverines for the top prize. The last time these to teams met in the regular season a narrow two point margin would separate the two squads in favour of the black and white.
This time, despite a hard fought battle from both sides, the Saanich would dominate the second half to come away with a decisive 28-6 win for the Charly Cardilicchia mentored team.
The Dawgs would be the first to make a statement in the game on a rushing TD by the ever-dangerous Sean Duquette after the Wolverines would fumble the opening kickoff return on the 25-yrd line. Unphased, the Wolverines would respond down field five minutes later on a twenty-five yard strike to Linden Williams who would carry the rock another twenty-five yards for the major to tie the score.
For Williams, that would be his first game reception in two weeks since suffering a reported collarbone injury that kept him sidelined through the semi-finals.
In what could have been a game changing moment, the Dawg’s go to utility player Sean Duquette would leave the game earlier in the second period with an apparent injury and not return until the third quarter. The Wolverines, taking advantage of the Dawgs temporary loss would score two additional rushing touchdowns from close range before the half by Cole Bunting and Gerren Hardisty to go up 22-6 at half time.
Despite the Dawgs QB Isah Calliou best efforts to rally his team with some pinpoint passes to move the chains the Wolverines secondary, perhaps tasting victory, would clamp down on Southside’s attempt to climb back into the game. Calliou, looking downfield for some magic would have is pass picked of by Saanich’s Luke Kedevs to deflate the Dawgs hopes.
The Wolverines would add a final TD to take the island Junior Bantam championship 28-6.