The Ballenas Whalers senior varsity football squad suffered another tough loss when they fell 32-20 to the Carson Graham Eagles at Nanaimo District Secondary field on Friday, Oct. 30.
It was the final home game of the year for the Whalers, who are tied for sixth place in the B.C. Secondary Schools Football Association AA Coastal Division with three wins and four losses.
The Whalers, without one of their key offensive players in quarterback and tight end Ryker Sansbury due to injury, also lost quarterback Brayden Jupe early in the second half.
“That was a frustrating game but we are proud of our kids for giving it their all of course, but in the end we got out-coached and out-executed,” said coach Jeremy Conn. “On defence we were able to shut down their run game pretty good but then they got us too many times in the pass game. We underestimated them and it hurt us. Kudos to them for a great game plan and performance.”
After Ballenas gave up a touchdown and two-point conversion, Whalers running back Ayden Chambers scored on a four-yard run to end the first quarter trailing 8-6. But the Eagles scored twice on two pass plays to increase the lead to 20-6. Just before the half, Jupe cut the lead to 20-14 when he scored on a six-yard quarterback keeper.
Jupe got injured early in the second half and with Sansbury also out, the Whalers were forced to run a wildcat offence. They were able to to run the ball well and also scored a touchdown by Kooper Chambers on a 10-yard run. But Conn said without much of a passing game they were unable more points on the board.
On the bright side the Whalers blocked two punts and Avery Swanson intercepted an option lateral. Ayden Chambers finished with 21 carries for 128 yards while his younger brother Kooper had 13 carries for 66 yards and also seven tackles on defence.
Whalers defensive lineman Enzo Agostini had six tackles and a fumble recovery after he stripped the ball out from an Eagle player.
The Whalers have a bye this week. They will play final last conference and crucial game against Holy Cross Crusaders in Surrey on Nov. 12.
The Whalers will be gunning for a win against the Crusaders to secure their spot in the playoffs. If they are successful, they enter the playoffs as the No. 5 team. If it goes the other way, their fate lies in the hands of John Barsby Bulldogs, who they will cheer on to beat the Argyle Pipers. If the Pipers win and the Whalers lose to the Bulldogs, their season is over.
At No. 5 in the playoffs, the Whalers are expected to face the Interior Division’s No. 1 team, South Kamloops Titans.
Meanwhile, the junior varsity Whalers travelled to the Mainland to take on the Carson Graham Eagles on Oct. 27. They lost 40-0. They host the Holy Cross JV Crusaders on Wednesday, Nov. 3 at the Ballenas football field at 3:30 p.m.