Missed it by that much.
The Ballenas Whalers fought valiantly against the No. 2 AA high school football team in the province, the Robert Bateman Timberwolves, but fell short in a 7-6 home loss on Friday, Oct. 23.
Defence was the highlight of the BC Secondary Schools Football conference game, as neither team was able to work their way to the end zone more than once.
It was the Whalers who took the lead 6-0 on a 25-yard pass by quarterback Brayden Jupe to tightend Ryker Sansbury. But they missed the two-point conversion attempt.
The T-Wolves were able to break through late in the game to score a touchdown and also got the extra point to take a 7-6 lead that the Whalers were not able to overcome.
“We run that convert play in practice everyday and we do it well and we just didn’t do it today,” said head coach Dan Smith. “We played really well defensively and our kids stood up. One of the things we said at practice and before the game that physically, they’re not going to own us. And our kids were unbelievable that way.”
The Whalers also lost one of their top offensive players, quarterback and tight end Sansbury, who alternates with Jupe at QB, and also offensive lineman Mason Muelleder.
Down the stretch with one minute and 24 seconds left to play, the Whalers had one last chance to score but the drive fell short with the T-Wolves picking off a late pass.
“Our defence played great and played our game plan almost to perfection, but we had too many blown assignments and missed opportunities to win the game,” said coach Jeremy Conn. “We have to do a better job of executing and getting on the same page. That said Bateman is a very good team and did a great job of preparing for us.”
With Sansbury injured, Jupe took the reins full-time and had four complete passes to Kyle Kearns for 97 yards and five passes to Gage D’Lerma for 64 yards.
Jonah Anderson led the defence with five tackles and two sacks while Enzo Agostini had five tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery, Brayden Harvey had four tackles and a sack, Kooper Chambers seven tackles and a fumble recovery.
The Whalers are now in fifth place in the Coastal Division standings, with three wins and three losses. They now prepare for the 4-1 Carson Graham Eagles, another powerhouse squad. Ballenas takes on the Eagles on Friday, Oct. 29 at the Nanaimo District Secondary football field at 5 p.m.