The Ballenas Whalers senior varsity team suffered their first loss of the season, when they dropped a 45-15 decision against the John Barsby Bulldogs in their annual Border Battle hosted at Ballenas field on Friday, Oct. 7.
The Whalers were without quarterback Brayden Jupe, who sat out due to a concussion he suffered in the last game he played. Mark Filko was given the task of leading the Whalers.
It was a close game from the start. It was the Bulldogs that broke the ice when they scored a touchdown and the two-point convert.
The Whalers came back to square things with Filko sneaking in a touchdown from two-yards out and Brayden Harvey completing the two-point conversion.
The Bulldogs regained the lead with their impressive running game that the Whalers struggled to contain. They scored two more touchdowns to end the half with a 32-8 lead.
The Whalers launched a rally in the third quarter with running back Kooper Chambers scoring a 14-yard touchdown to make it 32-14. But the Bulldogs didn’t let up and scored again to finish the game 45-14.
“Barsby is a machine, once again,” said head coach Jeremy Conn. “They are very unique in what they do on offence which makes it hard to prepare for them in just one week. And they are very good at what they do. This year they have special group of kids as they can run the ball as always, but they can also pass really well, too. So it’s pick your poison, and today we could not stop the run.”
The Bulldogs defence were also tough to break as they successfully put pressure on the Whalers running game.
“They’re so good against the run, which made it hard with our starting quarterback out, but Mark Filko stepped in and did a very good job,” said Conn. “In the end they were the better team and we have to do a better job of blocking and tackling and executing our assignments.”
The Whalers are now 2-1 this season and in third place in the BC High School Football AA Coastal Conference behind the Bulldogs, who are also 2-1, and the unbeaten Robert Bateman Timberwolves, who are 3-0.
Chambers led the Whalers offensively, carrying the ball 13 times for 84 yards and one touchdown.
He was also key in the Whalers defence with six tackles. Filko was a 11-for-17 passing for 97 yards.
Rohan Barlow had six tackles defensively while lineman Will Dubesky had five.
The Whalers will now prepare for their first road game on Friday in Surrey to face the Earl Marriott Mariners, with kickoff slated for 2 p.m.
The JV Whalers will host the West Vancouver Highlanders on Wednesday, at 2 p.m. at Ballenas field.
Conn said that both teams have four league games left to play and each one important in the quest to make it to the playoffs.