The Ballenas junior varsity Whalers learned their lesson. And they learned it well.
After a lacklustre performance in a loss to Windsor Dukes two weeks ago, the Whalers made amends when they upset Chilliwack’s GW Graham Grizzlies 42-20 at Exhibition Stadium on Oct. 23.
Head coach Dan Smith said he was surprised at the way the Whalers dominated the Grizzlies, the top-ranked junior team in the AA Mainland Division of the BC Secondary Schools Football Association.
“I was surprised at how ones-sided the game became in our favour,” said Smith.
“I was watching GW Graham on film and before the game and their linemen were huge for juniors. They were as big as our senior linemen, both defensive linemen and offensive linemen. But our kids really came out hard and jumped on them quick. We executed pretty well.”
The big win lifted the Whalers back to first place in the standings. Although they have the same 4-1 record as the next two schools, Grizzlies and Dukes, the Whalers have superior points-scored and points-against record.
The Whalers took control of the game from the start which Smith said set the Grizzlies back on their heels a bit.
“I believe they underestimated us a bit based on how flat we came out against Windsor,” said Smith.
“If we played like that against Windsor, we would have won that game as well. Our kids were pretty hungry when they came out against GW Graham got off to a good start.”
Smith said the Whalers got their running and passing game working well.
He credited the senior varsity Whalers, who were idle last week, for helping the JV Whalers prepare for the Grizzlies.
“I was quite happy with our offensive line,” said Smith.
“With the help of our senior team, we focused more time on getting our junior offensive line more reps in their run game and they did a really good job of blocking off these big guys. Also our running backs also ran the ball really well.”
Quarterback Ryker Pearson sparked the offence as he completed six passes for 80 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball 10 times for 140 yards and three touchdowns.
Running back Ayden Chambers did most of the rushing for the Whalers. He had 19 attempts for 193 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught the ball three times for 25 yards. Brayden Jupe had two receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown.
The JV Whalers will now prepare for their final conference game when they host the Argyle Pipers at Ballenas field at 2 p.m. on Oct. 30.
“It’s important for our juniors to win on Wednesday,” said Smith.
“It will give us a much better path in the playoffs. It would mean a bye in the first round as well a home field advantage. That’s a big deal.”
The senior Whalers will also play their last conference game at home when they face Argyle Pipers on Nov. 1.
The Whalers lead the Western AA Conference Division with three wins and no losses.