The season isn’t over just yet, but those behind Ballenas Secondary School’s football program have to be feeling good about their game this week with word nine players — as in the most ever for the local football program — have been selected as BC High School Football Coastal Conference all-stars.
Last Sunday, all of the coaches in each conference got together over a conference call and made their picks. There are 24 players selected in each conference — the Whalers accounted for plenty.
Grade 11 quarterback Liam O’Brien, the top-ranked high school passer in the province, leads the bumper crop of local standouts.
Also earning selections from Ballenas were running back Grade 11 Tysen Hunt, receivers Dustin Rodriguez (Grade 12) and Dallas Towle (Grade 11), offensive linemen Brock Mould (Grade 10) and Terrek Bryant (Grade 12); along with D-lineman Scott MacDonald, linebacker Matt Vandervelde, and defensive back Justin Holland, all seniors.
“I was pleasantly surprised that we were able to get so many,” Whalers’ co-head coach Jeremy Conn told The News, pointing out that “statistically, some of them are the top players at their position in the province.”
Holland is the top ranked AA receiver, and Towle, top three in receiving stats, while Hunt is in the top 10 in B.C. for rushing, and number two in his conference.
“A lot of our kids play both sides of the ball, so the other coaches see the impact they can have on a game,” said coach Jeremy Conn, pointing out Holland is one of the top three receivers in B.C. statistically, “but he is also one of the top defensive backs, which is where he got his all-Conference nod.”
The coaches, said Conn, make the selections as if they’re trying to field the best team possible.
Each player gets a plaque and good old confidence boost.
“We’re super-proud of them,” said coach Sean Hines. “They’ve definitely worked their tails off. When a lot of people aren’t thinking football, they’re thinking football. It takes a lot to earn those honours … and its testament to their focus and commitment to the game. It’s awesome.
“It’s good recognition for the kids, and also for the success we’re having here,” said Hines.
O’Brien, for those following along at home, is the third Whalers quarterback to lead all the province in passing.
Three years ago, BSS senior pivot Robbie De Vries was the top ranked AA quarterback in B.C.
Brayden Smith was the first Whaler quarterback to achieve the honour back in 2002/2003.