After an extended road tour to being the 2016 high school football season, the Ballenas Whalers are finally coming home.
The Whalers will host Nanaimo District Secondary School Saturday at 2 p.m. at their school field in Parksville in the team’s first home date following three away games.
Quarterback Ben Robinson ran for one touchdown and Liviano Canil had three catches for 95 yards and another scored last Saturday but the Whalers dropped a 41-12 decision to Seaquam Secondary in Delta to wrap up the road tour.
Ballenas originally had been scheduled to begin its season with a home exhibition game against Campbell River’s Timberline Secondary on Sept. 1, and follow with a regular-season home opener with Pitt Meadow Sept. 10. But both of those games were cancelled when the visiting teams proved unable to make the trip to the mid-Island.
That left the Whalers (1-2) with three straight travel dates to start a shortened season — two of them on the lower mainland against provincially-ranked opponents.
Seaquam lived up to its billing Saturday, with the Seahawks burning Ballenas with three punt return scores.
“They were a very talented team with outstanding team speed,” Whalers coach Dan Smith said. “Our special teams had trouble keeping up with their speedy returner. Needless to say, that kind of special teams play makes it tough to win and drives up the score.”
Smith also described the Seahawks as “big and athletic” on defense, though the Whalers did have some success moving the ball until injuries the weather conspired against them.
Tailback Dayton Coles ran for 79 yards in one quarter of action before departing the game with an unspecified injury. Robinson and Canil teamed up well in the passing game, but it was otherwise impacted by the wet and windy weather.
Saturday’s game marks the first of three straight home dates for Ballenas as the program begins to balance the scales. The Whalers will host Windsor Oct. 15 and Frankhurt Oct. 22 before closing the regular season with one last road game at Hugh Boyd Secondary School in Richmond.
— NEWS Staff