The Ballenas Whalers senior varsity football team notched an 8-2 win over the Argyle Pipers in a game played in wet and cold conditions in North Vancouver on Friday, Sept. 17.
It was their first win in the BC High School Football season and was more than enough to warm their spirits up on the way back home.
The heavy downpour that hit the south coast on Friday created a number of challenges for the travelling Whalers. While on the ferry, they were informed that the Pipers’ field was flooded and the game was moved to the Windsor Secondary Field.
Head coach Dan Smith described the deluge on the North Shore as “sheets of rain” that made conditions ugly and extremely challenging for both teams.
“In a game like that, the team that makes the least mistakes usually wins those games,” said Smith. “And that’s what it came down to.”
For two quarters, neither side was able to score but in the third, the Pipers capitalized on a high snap mistake by the Whalers that sent the ball soaring over its punter into the end zone that Argyle pounced on for a safety and a 2-0 lead.
Smith said that could have been a very costly mistake for the Whalers.
“For the longest time it looked like that would be the final score because every time somebody got going on offence, the receivers had trouble catching the ball or it would slip off the quarterback’s hands,” said Smith. “There were a lot of fumbles. I couldn’t count how many fumbles there were or dropped passes by both teams.”
Late in the fourth quarter, the Pipers committed a fumble that Whalers linebacker Enzo Agostini scooped up and sprinted in from 40 yards out for a touchdown. Ryker Pearson completed the two-point convert to give the Whalers an 8-2 lead that they sustained for the rest of the quarter.
“You should have seen him go,” said Smith. “He is a big, tall player with a neck thing in that a lineman wears. You see all these guys from the other team chasing him and I couldn’t believe they didn’t catch him.”
Smith said Whalers linemen were the best players on the field and gave them the first star of the game.
“They were awesome,” said Smith. “They came out to them hard and created a lot of fumbles. They shut them down when we needed to. Our offensive line did a good job when we ran the ball. We just had trouble holding to the ball with our receivers. That was the challenge in part for us. But in the end it became very much a strategic game of field position.”
Another key to the Whalers win, said Smith, was Pearson’s punting, as he was able to pin the Pipers down at their own end four times.
The Whalers will play their first home game against the Langley Saints on Friday, Sept. 24 at Ballenas field at 3:30 p.m.