Ballenas Secondary’s varsity football team kick-started the B.C. High School Football regular season on home field last Friday, harpooning the Sentinel Spartans 42-12 in a squall.
A hard-fought Double-A match with points on the line played out in wet conditions that included stretches of monsoon rains, it was tough slogging for both teams, but it was the Whalers with the clear edge.
“Hate the rain, love the game, goooo Whalers!” said a fan from under her brolly.
Cobby Stubbins got the Whalers’ 2013 campaign off on the right foot when he returned the opening kickoff 83 yards down the right sideline, and captain Scott Childs loped in around the left side for the major on the Whalers’ first play from scrimmage, his first of three majors on the day.
Wearing their black and blues, the Whalers would score twice more in the opening quarter for a 21-0 lead, and were up 27-12 at the half.
Sentinel put together a drive late in the second quarter and were on the Whalers 10 yard line in the dying seconds but came up empty. In the end, the Spartans, who have not had a senior team in six years, shot themselves in the cleats with too many mistakes to stay in the hunt.
“They are pretty raw,” Whalers’ head coach Jeremy Conn said of the visitors, “but they have a lot of talent and could really shock some teams down the road.”
On Ballenas’ side of the ball, Childs added two more TDs off great catch and runs of 45 and 77 yards.
Ballenas QB Garrin McDonnell added another 22 yard TD strike to tight end Tyson Nerbus to finish 3-for-6 for 144 yards, all three passes for majors.
“It was a tough day for throwing and catching the ball so I was proud of how our little scat-back AJ Messner was able to run hard in the second half behind our offensive line,” said Conn.
Filling in for injured running backs Thomas Franks and Coltin Laplante, Messner rushed for 88 yards on 15 carries including a seven yard TD run. Fullback Tyson Low ran for 36 yards and a touchdown on five touches.
Middle linebacker Adam Droog led the Whalers’ D with nine tackles and a sack; Messner added eight tackles and a sack; Childs chipped in with five tackles along with three interceptions, and Josh Bouchard, back in the lineup after an injury last season, bagged five tackles as well.
“We opened the game well and had a solid second half, but our performance in the second quarter has me concerned,” said Conn, adding the Whalers’ “cleaned it up” in the second half shutting out the Spartans’ and controlling the clock.
“We need to reduce those penalties and do a better job of getting off blocks and tackling,” said Conn.
GAME ON: The Varsity Whalers are in North Van on Friday to take on the Windsor Dukes.
IN JV ACTION: The junior varsity Whalers lost 41-12 to the Mt. Douglas Rams in Victoria Wednesday and are currently tied with them for top spot in their five-team Island division at 1-1.
The JV Whalers are in Nanaimo on Wednesday for a big game against John Barsby’s Bulldogs.