It’s fall and playoff football is in the air.
Ballenas Secondary School’s junior varsity Whalers got off to a slow start but still shredded the Vernon Panthers 36-6 in Burnaby on Wednesday to advance to the semifinals of their AA playoffs.
The Whalers took a slim 7-6 lead into the half. Ballenas opened the scoring midway through the first quarter when Josh Bouchard took it in from three yards out on a quarterback sneak. Jan Leverenz kicked the single point.
Vernon scored in the second quarter but missed the convert.
It was, said Whaler head coach Mike Di Giacomo, “a pretty sloppy first half on our part, for sure; some interceptions, a few dropped passes, a fumble or two; it wasn’t what I expected, but to be honest I think the kids were just nervous, and once they got through that … the second half was completely different.”
It sure was — the Whalers ran roughshod over the Panthers in final two quarters, reeling off 29 unanswered points and extending their season by at least one more game.
“Great second half by our guys,” said coach Mike, adding the turning point of the game came early in the third quarter when ‘Captain Scotty’ (aka Scott Childs) returned a punt 70 yards for the touchdown.
“That was huge — that was the catalyst we needed to regain our composure and shake off our jitters,” said Mike. “Our kids were flying sky-high after that.”
Finding the end zone after that for BSS was Thomas Franks, Coltin Laplante and Childs.
“As a group, the defence played very well today,” said Mike, pointing out defensive coach Jim Lynch, “had the troops ready to go, and they preformed well.”
“We did very well in the second half — I was proud of the boys,” said the first year head coach.
The JV Whalers are back in Burnaby next Thursday (Nov. 17) for a BC High School AA JV a quarterfinal matchup against the Carson Graham Eagles from North Van. The Eagles are seeded first in their division.
A reminder to all you football fans out there that Ballenas Secondary’s Varsity football team takes to the field at Beban Park in Nanaimo today (Friday) for their BC High School AA quarterfinal game against the Holy Cross Crusaders from Surrey.
Kickoff is 4 p.m., and the forecast is for exciting hard-nosed football.