The Ballenas Whalers football program scored a rare double when both its senior and junior varsity teams finished on top of their respective conferences in the BC High School Football and advanced to the provincial playoffs as the top-seeded teams.
It’s an achievement head coach Dan Smith said doesn’t happen too often.
“I can’t recall when we’ve ever had both our junior and seniors team placing first and entering the playoffs as top seeds,” said Smith. “The players and the coaches have worked extremely hard to reach this point and it’s not over yet. But we’re happy to have finished the regular season strong.”
The senior Whalers completed the double when they roughed up the Argyle Pipers 34-3 at Ballenas Field on Friday afternoon, duplicating the feat that junior Whalers achieved earlier last week, when they crushed the Pipers 44-12.
From the onset, the Whalers defence set the tone of the game. On the Pipers first play, Ben Chomolok made an interception and capitalized. Chomolok then opened the offence with a completed pass to Bruce McCabe for first down. And on the next play, running back Demar Hohnstein finished the job as he drove the ball to the end zone for touchdown.
The Whalers never let up and ended the first half with a 23-3 lead. They added two more touchdowns in the second half.
Adrian Friesen was the heart of the defence as he made five tackles that included a sack and fumble recovery. Linebacker Luis Emiliano Luna Mauluaez was also strong defensively and had a couple of tackles before he was injured and had to leave the game.
Hohnstein carried the ball nine times for 72 yards and two touchdowns. Chomolok and Steven Boley also rushed for short touchdowns.
The SV Whalers remain undefeated so far in the season – 7-0 overall, and 3-0 in conference play.
The JV Whalers also had an impressive outing. They racked up a 32-0 lead before they gave up a touchdown to the Pipers to end the half with a 32-6 cushion. When game resumed, the Whalers increased their lead 44-6. They did give up another touchdown late in the fourth quarter to close the game 44-12.
“We had a good defensive game plan,” said Smith. “They had some good athletes on the field. The difference is our team was tighter.”
Quarterback Ryker Pearson led the offence, completing eight passes for 109 yards and a touchdown He also rushed for 45 yards and scored a touchdown.
Running back Ayden Chambers rushed nine times for 83 yards and scored three touchdowns. He also had six tackles. Kooper Chambers also had three touchdowns, rushing for 63 yards.
Wide receiver Reme Conway had five receptions for 44 yards. Tight end Brayden Jupe caught the ball twice for 31 yards and a touchdown. Jonah Anderson and Conway had four tackles each while William Dubesky had three.
By virtue of their first-place finishes in their respective divisions, both the Whalers teams habe earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs. They also will have home field advantage though the games will not be played at the Ballenas Field, instead at Merle Logan’s turf field in Nanaimo.
The JV Whalers will take on Robert Bateman Timberwolves (2-4) in a quarter-final match on Nov. 13, at 2 p.m.
The last time the JV Whalers faced the Timberwolves was in September when they hosted the Abbotsford team at Ballenas field. Ballenas won that match up handily 34-6.
The senior Whalers will play Nov. 15, with their opponent still to be determined.