June 19th, 2022. Victoria, BC. (ISN) – It was a culmination of nine weekends of gridiron action Saturday as Vancouver Island youth football teams competed head-to-head with hopes of gaining a berth in the Vancouver Island Conference Football Association Championships held next weekend in Nanaimo, BC.

With playoffs split between Nanaimo and Victoria, Copley Park, home to the Greater Victoria Minor Association in Saanich, BC, would play host to the day-long event as three local Victoria home teams would look to punch their ticket to the island finals and a chance to hold the bragging rights as the 2022 Vancouver Island Minor Football Spring Tackle Champions.

Youth football parents and fans saw five of six, still-active, local teams compete for a potential final berth.  In the running, the regular season’s undefeated PeeWee Westhshore Warriors (6 – 0) locked heads with the fourth place Nanaimo Seahawks- Blue (3-3), while their cross-town rival Saanich Wolverines, finishing 3rd in the regular season standings at 5-1 would draw against 3rd place Nanaimo’s Seahawks – White squad (3-2).  The Junior Bantam level Saanich Wolverines, after only dropping a single game all season (8-1), would butt heads with the fourth place Victoria Spartans (3-6).  The Junior Bantam Westshore Warriors, by way of finishing third in the standings, would travel to Nanaimo to take on their Seahawk counterparts.


Warriors vs Nanaimo – Blue

The PeeWee’s would draw the first two matches of the day with the Warriors breaking the ice to open the day’s action.   If anyone was every looking for a reason to explain why the PeeWee Westshore team posted a 6-0 regular season record, it could be summarized in the dominating 48-8 victory. With starting QB Lucas Hansen take the ball under centre to run the Warrior engine, Westshore would jump out to a 24-0 lead on the legs of Gavin Thompson’s three touchdown, first half rushing performance.

Nanaimo’s Carter Hall would be the recipient of a 55-yard catch and run play on his team’s first possession of the second half to catch the Warriors off guard to break the doughnut, making it a 24-8 score. If there was a way to sway a game’s momentum, it would be to answer with a touchdown of their own, and that is exactly what Hansen and his Warriors would do.  Hansen would activate Thompson, already with three TDs in the game, once again. Thompson, taking the rock under arm, would zig zag his way through the Seahawk defense on his way to a 59-yard romp for his fourth Td of the game (32-8).

Nanaimo’s Will Lindsay would breathe a little life into his team with a late third quarter interception, however his team would be unable to further solve the team from the Westshore. The Warriors would add a Hansen QB keeper from three yards out, and a Miguel Perez tip-pick six from 8 yards away to round out the scoring and the Westshore Warrior victory.


PeeWee Wolverines’ vs Seahawks – White

If you followed both teams, you might have said that Saanich was the clear favourite to take the win, however the Seahawks played with determination to match the Wolverines for two quarters of play. Both teams would play to a defensive 0-0 stalemate most of the first half of play.

However, the Wolverines would be the first to blink. With eight seconds left in the first half Seahawk’s ever-dangerous Lucas Krampl would beat all defenders to put his team in front on a 20-yard catch and run play at the half (8-0).  Starting the third quarter of play, Krampl would continue where he left off at the end of the second half, once again relying on his running abilities. Krampl would carry the kick-off return to the house to set the Wolverines back on their heels down 16-0.

The Wolverines would be quick to respond, now showing some urgency in their play.  Saanich’s QB Spencer Coey would toss the ball to his receiver Leonidas Clark, who was camped under the Seahawks defence. Clark would turn a corner and beat the Seahawk’s defense down the sideline to begin a comeback bid.  With time running down, Coey would orchestrate a game tying drive, finding Isaiah Huang to tie the game.

Both teams would exchange fumble recoveries before Saanich would test the Seahawks defense again, this time from the 34 yrd line.  Equal to the task, Nanaimo would lock down any Wolverine scoring attempt as both teams headed to overtime.

Overtime, using a “Texas Shootout” format, both sides would hold each other out of endzone on their first possessions of the ball in overtime. A costly defensive Wolverine penalty would put the Seahawks in scoring position from 10 yards out.  Seahawk’s Tanner Standerwick, would take the ball out of the back field to run for his first TD of the season to give his team the 22-16 OT win, and a home field date against the undefeated Westshore Warriors.


Junior Bantam – Victoria Spartans vs Saanich Wolverines

In the only home and home match up of the day, the 3-6 Spartans would be in tough against the 8-1 Wolverines.

The Wolverines would jump out to a 16-0 lead early in the second quarter after an Oliver Ford TD to open the game’s scoring. Bennett Andersen would rush 2 yards to the house to make it a comfortable Saanich lead. Victoria Spartans’ Tyler Gilbert, frustrated most of the game by the Wolverine’s defense, would find receiver Colten Douglas downfield. Douglas, using his height advantage, would catch the Gilbert pass over the Saanich defender and run it into the endzone to put his team on the board. The teams would go into halftime with the Wolverines up 16-0.

Despite the ejection from the game of a Wolverine defender the second half, Saanich would continue to put pressure on Gilbert and his receiving core, shutting them out the rest of the game.  The Wolverine’s would add two more TD’s in the game, the last on another rushing TD by Bennett Andersen (2) to claim the victory 32-8.

Saanich will now play Nanaimo Seahawks for the Junior Bantam crown next weekend in Nanaimo at NDSS.