The Ballenas Whalers junior varsity football team advanced to the provincial semifinals after chopping down the Samuel Robertson Titans 50-0 at Maple Ridge Wednesday, Nov. 15.
From the onset, the Whalers (5-1) dominated and never let up.
“They played really well in all the facets of the game,” head coach Dan Smith said. “It was a very strong game. It was a good team effort all around.”
The Whalers stamped their authority on the Titans and were up 28-0 at the end of the second quarter. They might have scored more, but Smith noted the second half was run in straight time due to lighting issues.
Running back Steve Boley sparked the offense, running for more than 250 yards and scoring three touchdowns. Running back Demar Hohnstein also had a strong outing, including a 99-yard touchdown run.
Smith credited the work the Whalers put in for their game against the Titans, a team they’ve never played before.
“Football is a game of preparation,” said Smith. “We had a really good week to prepare. We had the chance to put in a couple of extra practices. The coaches really did a good job of scouting this team. When you’re playing a team for the first time, and you haven’t seen what they do except for a little bit of film, the tendency is to try and pick up as much as you can. But you’re really focused on your own team about execution. And we focused a lot on execution; that was a big help to us.”
The senior Whalers, whose season has already ended, also assisted the juniors in polishing their game in practice, which Smith said made a huge difference in their playoff preparation.
“The (seniors) came out to practice to run a scout team which realy helped us because they are bigger, stronger and faster,” said Smith. “By having them go against the juniors in both offense and defense in practices helped our kids get better. It’s a luxury we have that we don’t necessarily have during the season as much.”
The junior Whalers, who finished the season with a 4-1 record in the Pacific AA division, are not resting on their laurels. They are back training to prepare to face a familiar nemesis, the Langley Saints, who eliminated them from the playoffs last season. The match will be played in a neutral site, at Burnaby Lakes, on Wednesday, Nov. 22, at 3 p.m.
“We have a little extra motivation against this team,” said Smith.
The Saints (4-2) advanced to the provincial semifinals after scoring a thrilling 23-21 quarterfinal victory over Holy Cross Crusaders, the only team that beat the Whalers this season.