Ballenas Secondary School’s varsity football team closed out the regular season in North Vancouver Saturday as they rolled over longtime rivals Windsor Dukes, 48-28 in AA conference action.
The Whalers were coming off a win and a bye and the latest victory secured second in their conference at 3-1.
Ballenas led Windsor 28-6 at the half.
According to Whalers’ co-head coach Jeremy Conn, Tyson Hunt busted a 20 yard draw up the middle for the first TD of the game on the opening series. Liam O’Brien moved the Whalers downfield with a couple deep passes on the next possession and took it in on a QB sneak from a yard out to put the Whalers up 14-0 in the first quarter.
Dallas Towle pulled down a long bomb from O’Brien and broke in for the major on a 65 yard pass and run. Dustin Rodriguez took it in from two yards out on the next series. The Dukes found the endzone just before the half for a 28-6 Whalers’ lead at the break.
Windsor scored on their first drive of the second quarter. The Whalers recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt, and Hunt ran around the right side from eight yards out for the TD. Towle later returned an interception for the major and Justin Holland capped it off in the fourth quarter with a 24 yard touchdown catch in coverage.
“It was a good game,” said Conn, whose squad improved to 6-2 overall. “Overall our offence is performing at a very high level — we were able to play everybody, so it was a good team effort.”
Whalers’ pivot Liam O’Brien is the top ranked AA quarterback in B.C. — the senior standout leads all quarterbacks in scoring (with 11 touchdowns), in completion percentage (76.3 per cent) and in total yards (909).
“Actually if you look at the numbers I think he’s the top ranked high school quarterback in the province at any level right now … he’s having a great year.”
Also worth noting is that the Whalers boast the top three rated receivers in AA football right now in Holland, Rodriquez and Towle.
The varsity Whalers open the AA playoffs on Friday at Beban Park Turf Fields in Nanaimo when they go up against Surrey’s Holy Cross Crusaders (kickoff time not yet determined at deadline).
“We’ve never played them before,” said Conn, adding they’ve seen some film and looked at their stats and see they’re a power rush team.
“They got a big O-line and a big running back … just old school smash-mouth football,” he said, then conceded, “we’re a bit worried (going into the game), because against Windsor we had a hard time stopping the run, but we think we have the ability to score more points then they can by spreading the field. They haven’t seen a passing game like ours.”
Conn added out the teams in the Crusaders’ conference are all run-heavy.
The junior varsity Whalers, in the meantime, are in Burnaby on Wednesday to play Vernon in the first round of their AA playoffs.