Whalers advance in playoffs

Ballenas crushes Surrey’s Holy Cross Crusaders, 34-18 to advance to quarterfinal

The Whalers’ Tysen Hunt

The Whalers’ Tysen Hunt

Ballenas Secondary School’s Varsity Whalers made believers out of some people on Saturday as they came from behind to beat the Holy Cross Crusaders 34-18 in the opening round of the BC High School AA football playoffs.

Played out at Beban Park in Nanaimo on Friday, the game did not go as planned early for Ballenas as the Crusaders came to the rock with some tricks up their sleeves.

They threw different looks offensively at the Whalers early to build up a 12-0 lead heading into second quarter.

“They’re a big team and we had to make some adjustments,” Whaler head coach Sean Hines said after the dust had settled.

“The first quarter we were playing chess, and they were moving their pieces pretty good.”

The Whalers regrouped and Justin Holland pulled in a 15 yard touchdown pass from Liam O’Brien to get the ball rolling for Ballenas.

The defence dug in and Tysen Hunt powered it in from seven yards out, and Safety Dallas Towle intercepted a pass for a huge 42-yard TD return that made it 21-12 Whalers at the half.

Holy Cross replied in the second half behind their power run game to make it 21-18, but when Towle broke a kickoff up the middle through a sea of Crusaders and returned it 90 yards for the major, “you could see it took the steam out of Surrey,” said one dad.

“He disappeared into this huge pile in the middle of the field … we thought the play was over, but he pops out the other side and takes off for the end zone … it was great,” said co-head coach Jeremy Conn.

O’Brien, one of a school-high nine Whalers to earn All-Conference honours this year, iced the win on a quarterback keep from seven yards out with time winding down.

“That was a scary game for us,” said Conn, explaining Holy Cross came out early and was able to run the ball and out-formation them, “but I am proud of how our kids responded, as we were able to slow them down on defense, our special teams were outstanding, and we found better balance in our offense.

“We knew this would be the ultimate team effort that required a lot of physical and mental toughness, as ‘Cross is a bigger team than us (and) we are really proud of how our kids responded to the early adversity.”

On defence, Towle and linebacker Zac Sesaljia led the Whaler D with eight tackles apiece and Dennis Adams had seven tackles and an interception.

Justin Holland also had an interception.  Hunt ran for 132 yards on 11 carries.

Conn said the lads “are a little banged up, but nothing major.”

“I was thrilled with the way the kids were able to keep their focus — they never got discouraged,” concurred Hines.




The Varsity Whalers take to the field at UBC in Vancouver at 3 p.m. on Satruday for a quarterfinal tilt against Richmond’s Hugh Boyd Trojans.

The Trojans finished second in the East Conference and lost to Holy Cross 24-21 in regular season action, “but they also beat one of the top teams, Seaquem, so they’re kind of up and down.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Patricia Taylor and Debra Strut at the Salvation Army on Friday, Nov. 27, handing out winter boots and gift bags to those in need. Taylor says they'll be back until all her supplies are gone.(Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville residents distribute gifts and winter boots in Salvation Army parking lot

‘I’m hoping to open the eyes of the community to realize that everybody has value’

Qualicum Beach resident Harold MacDougall won $75,000 off a Casino Royale II Scratch & Win ticket, purchased the ticket at Qualicum Foods on Memorial Avenue. (BCLC photo)
Qualicum Beach man $75K richer thanks to scratch-and-win ticket windfall

MacDougall plans on trips to Cape Breton and Scotland

Regional District of Nanaimo will be receiving $1.17 million from the B.C. government in COVID-19 safe restart grant money. (News Bulletin file)
Regional District of Nanaimo directors getting started on budgeting decisions

Proposed tax requisitions for 2021 range from 7.3-per cent increase to 2.2-per cent decrease

David Darmadi, owner of Kalvas - The Log House restaurant, is offering a sweet initiative for SOS. Guests can bring in a new, unwrapped gift or financial donation for SOS, and receive a free dessert. (Lissa Alexander photo)
Sweet initiative to support Parksville Qualicum Beach residents

‘A lot of our guests are very generous and they want to help out’

(Dave Landine/Facebook)
VIDEO: Dashcam captures head-on crash between snowplow and truck on northern B.C. highway

Driver posted to social media that he walked away largely unscathed

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Langley RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the Riverside Calvary church in Langley in the 9600 block of 201 Street for holding an in-person service on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, despite a provincial COVID-19 related ban (Dan Ferguson/Black Press Media)
Langley church fined for holding in-person Sunday service

Calvary church was fined $2,300 for defying provincial order

A pedestrian makes their way through the snow in downtown Ottawa on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Wild winter, drastic swings in store for Canada this year: Weather Network

In British Columbia and the Prairies, forecasters are calling for above-average snowfall levels

NDP Leader John Horgan, left, speaks as local candidate Ravi Kahlon listens during a campaign stop at Kahlon’s home in North Delta, B.C., on April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
The Nanaimo Rona location. (News Bulletin photo)
Rona home improvement store in Nanaimo advises that worker has COVID-19

Store re-opened Sunday after closing for cleaning Saturday

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Top doctor urges Canadians to limit gatherings as ‘deeply concerning’ outbreaks continue

Canada’s active cases currently stand at 63,835, compared to 53,907 a week prior

A Canadian Pacific freight train travels around Morant’s Curve near Lake Louise, Alta., on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths along the railway tracks in Banff and Yoho national parks in Alberta and British Columbia has found that train speed is one of the biggest factors. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

Research concludes effective mitigation could address train speed and ability of wildlife to see trains

A airport worker is pictured at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada extends COVID restrictions for non-U.S. travellers until Jan. 21 amid second wave

This ban is separate from the one restricting non-essential U.S. travel

Most Read