July 22, 2019 Chilliwack, BC (ISN) – Some of Canada’s U18 Junior Football elite, including thirteen players from Vancouver Island, descended on the Fraser Valley last week, culminating in what was largely an east (black) vs west (red) tilt on Saturday afternoon at Exhibition Stadium in Chilliwack, BC, where Team Black would come from behind late, in the narrowest of margins, to take the 2019 All Canada Bowl Championship with a 8-7 victory.
The All Canada Bowl brings together elite players from across Canada looking to be id’d in a “next level” game that attracts CJFL and university recruiters looking for talent.
In it’s second year, the West, was looking to make it 2-0, winning last year’s inaugural game 14-0 over the east in a low scoring, defensive game.
Keeping with last years’ experience, defensively-minded football fans would be entertained early as both teams would shine to the defensive side of the ball from the opening kick-off in the sweltering 27 degree, mid-day sun at field level.
Both offensive lines, perhaps not ready for a fired-up defensive, would seem to have their hands full with the stronger defensive presence, pressuring each team’s ball slinger at every opportunity. Both, West Toronto Prep 6’4” QB Josiah Bowman, the eastern representative, and Valleyfield, Quebec’s 6’1” Gabriel Cyr-Dandurand for the West, would be denied the comfort of the pocket to look downfield for their targets.
Forced to put the ball on the ground QB Cyr-Dandurand, looking comfortable carrying the ball in his first All Canada Gridiron game, would supply most of his West team’s yardage on the ground in the first quarter.
East’s RB Dayton Tyler, out of Waterloo, would show glimmers of offensive prowess for his side, running for 61 yards on four carries in the first frame alone in support of his Coach Bowman team.
Despite occasional offensive sparks to keep the game interesting, teams would continue to spar defensively, going into half time with a 0-0 score, lacking the consistency to put together a threatening drive.
The defensive lines would continue to rule the game in the second half despite some big offensive plays.
West’s QB Cyr-Dandurand continued to look comfortable tucking the ball in and running in the third quarter. Cyr-Dandurand, pressured by Team East, would scramble to prevent the sack, turning upfield with the biggest gain of the game, running for 45 yards through missed tackles to put his team on the East’s thirty-five-yard line.
After being pushed back in field position by a major penalty infraction, Cyr-Dandurand would find Langford’s Hunter Bowles of the Belmont Bulldogs to the right sideline for the toe-drag completed reception at the four-yard line to end the third quarter of play still deadlocked 0-0.
The West would take the first lead of the game to start the final quarter when Cyr-Dandurand, by now no stranger to running the ball, would get help from his bigs to punch the ball across the line and into the end zone on a one-yard QB keeper. Cyr-Dandurand would kick the successful extra point to take a 7-0 lead.
On the ensuing kick-off return, with thirteen minutes remaining, East’s DB Dwayne Clarke would run the ball from out of his end and into West’s territory, lighting up the turf behind himself on the way to the West’s 44-yard line. Feeding from the newly found momentum, QB Bowman would throw a strike to Harrsion Daly to back up Coach Kuhl Sanghera’s West team to their own 25-yard line. Bowman would then roll out to his right, tossing the ball to Jonathan Menary in the end zone. With a choice of kicking the convert or trying to go to the end zone one more time for an extra point that would give the East a precarious, one point lead take the one point lead, Bowman would take the gamble in a game that favoured the defense most of the game, carrying the ball into the end zone for the extra point conversion to take a 8-7 lead.
In a retaliatory strike two possessions later with 54 seconds remaining, Sam McPherson would ramble to the East’s sixteen-yard line to give the West a sniff of the end zone. Ethan Bernandin’s run to the two-yard sideline to stop the clock would put his team within scoring distance, however, defense playing a big part of the game earlier, would play big again in the game as the East would drop the West behind the line of scrimmage in back to back defensive stands, forcing a West field goal attempt.
Fittingly, the East’s Dwayne Clarke, making the defensive play of the game in what would otherwise be a sure win for the West, would block the Cyr-Dandurand field goal attempt to steal the win claim an 8-7 victory.
Post-game, Head Coach of the West team, Kuhl Sanghera, would reflect on the game and the outcome. “It was a hard-fought battle. You know, it’s never easy when you do these games. Both teams are evenly matched, it’s about taking advantage of the opportunities you get, and not make any mistakes, which we made a few of. Ultimately it was a great game, a great game.
All Canada Gridiron’s All Canada Bowl event, now in its second year, and not to be confused with ABC Border Bowl events, brings together players from across Canada to compete on one national stage and provide them with an opportunity for ID selection and recruitment for prospective University football programs.
In speaking of the level of talent present at the 2ndannual bowl, Ron Dias, director All Canadian Gridiron and organizer of the week-long event would comment, “We have a combination of a couple of kids who are at the level of ability to play NCAA Division level one, and if I’m a Canadian University, I’m not missing this game because there’s got to be in the neighbourhood of at least thirty kids that are “ready-now” type recruits.”
After a three-day insertion camp to give competitors, some meeting for the first time, a chance to gel and form as a team, it was evident that the parity displayed on both sides of the ball would leave for little doubt that fans, coaches, and players would be in for some great football entertainment from the Canadian talent assembled. For the first time, this year, the roster would take on a Pro Bowl- type of line up as each team would have a hand full of players from the other side of Canada to contribute to their hopeful outcome.
Of the eighty players assembled from as away as Valleyfield, QC, Vancouver Island, keeping pace with the rest of Canada for football talent, would get a proud representation of twelve players stepping on the field for the gridiron showcase.
In a dichotomy of age and experience, it is evident with Vancouver Island Football’s national representation that whether just beginning in the sport or graduation to the next level, players are getting quality coaching to aspire and achieve their goals locally, provincially and nationally. Having the opportunity to take a next step being all important in player development.
Although a veteran of minor league football, one such Island player competing in his first “next level” game at Saturday’s All Canada Bowl was 6’4” 285 lb lineman Sebastian Sibbald. Playing his minor football with the Victoria Spartans, Sibbald, starting his first year of high school in September, relishes in the opportunity to” play big”. ISN was able to catch up with Sibbald post game to ask of his learning experience. “It was a great experience to get myself out there. I learned that I can play my size. I’ve always been going against smaller kids. I’ll probably do it again next year.”
Dakota Cullum, veteran player from the Cowichan Bulldogs and playing in his last game in the All Canada Gridiron as announced post game, would receive the Outstanding Receiver team award for the West team.
Vancouver Island Players
Hunter Bowles, Belmont Bulldogs
Dallon Huschi, Naniamo
Dakota Cullum, Cowichan Bulldogs
Jonathan Nantais, Cowichan Bulldogs
Brodie Lawrie, Cowichan Bulldogs
Aiden Taylor, Cowichan Bulldogs
Nicholas Young, Cowichan Bulldogs
Brodie Lawrie, Cowichan Bulldogs
Matthew Pretula, Cowichan Bulldogs
Dillon Wilson, Cowichan Bulldogs
Gage Geiger, Ballenas
Sebastian Sibbald, Victoria Spartans
Marcus Copp, Nanismo Islanders
About the ACG
from ACG website
“All Canada Gridiron started the All-Star Football Report sent to universities across Canada & the USA in 1987, nine years before the website began in 1996.
Over the years the ACG All Star Recruiting Report was the driving engine in making universities in the East aware of players in the west and vice versa for universities in the West of players in the east.
As well ACG scout Ron Dias was and still is the most recognized name by NCAA college coaches in the USA. Over the late 80’s, through the 90″s and into the 2000’s his scouting reports helped make Canada a top destination for premier division 1 university coaches to recruit players identified by the All-Star Recruiting Report.
Ron was the first Canadian who became NCAA certified. Over the past 28 years he established a knowledgeable and informative base of scouting information that is invaluable to numerous CIS universities across Canada.
In that text one of the biggest hidden benefits for players playing in ABC Border Bowls is it allows ACG to track the progress of top Alberta & BC players so when they reach the Rising Star & finally Current Star age they are and have already been identified as prospects to watch and or recruit.”