Parksville’s unranked Ballenas Whalers put together a convincing AA non-conference varsity football victory on home field Saturday when they harpooned the Top-10 ranked Frank Hurt Hornets from Surrey 48-19.
The Whalers opened the scoring on their opening drive with an electrifying 80-yard touchdown pass and run from pivot Garrin McDonnell to Scott Childs, who beat the defender and ran it in down the sideline.
Childs is the top-ranked receiver in AA football in B.C.
The Whalers went up 14-0 on the next series when Coltin Laplante punched it in from two yards out, but the Hornets responded with a touchdown after the Whalers fumbled in their own end. The visitors recovered the ensuing kickoff and scored again to cut it to 14-13 — Ballenas blocked the extra point.
The Whalers kept it going to start the second quarter when Tyson Nerbus caught a four- yard TD pass in the back of the end zone, and Cobby Stubbins hauled in a 23 yard TD pass from McDonnell for a 28-13 Whalers’ lead at the half.
Ballenas scored on their first play from scrimmage to start the second half when AJ Messner broke free for a 57-yard TD. Thomas Franks added two TD runs of seven and 53 yards.
The Hornets lone second-half touchdown came on a kick-off return.
Messner, a Grade 11 student, finished the game with a season-high 224 yards on 17 carries and the major, and earned big props from his head coach.
“AJ is a great example of how it’s not the biggest guys who are the best players but how those with the biggest hearts,” said Jeremy Conn. “He is a great student of the game who stepped up at running back and has really been able to learn how to take four-yard runs and turn them into 40-yard runs with the right read and cuts.”
Laplante had 96 yards on 10 carries, and Franks 64 yards on three touches.
McDonnell, a Grade 10 quarterback, was 6-of-10 in passing for 149 yards and three TD passes. Childs led the way with three catches for 108 yards receiving and the TD.
McDonnell was also 6-for-7 on extra point kicks.
On defense, the Whalers were relieved to see the Hornets starting running back Bashiru Sise-Odaa did not dress for the game, which allowed them to focus on pressuring QB Josh Zivny.
Laplante had eight tackles and a sack; Stubbins had eight tackles; Josh Bouchard seven tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery; Childs had five tackles and a 34-yard interception return, and Brock Mould added two tackles and a sack.
“Overall that was a very good game for us,” Conn said after the game, pointing out the team was able to execute a balanced offensive attack “and made adjustments on defense at the half that were effective.”
NEXT UP: Both Ballenas’ football teams have two regular season games remaining.
The JV Whalers (2-1) host the Mt. Douglas Rams (3-0) Wednesday (3:30 p.m. kickoff) in a big Island Division showdown.
The seniors (2-2) travel to North Van on Friday for a leaguer against the winless (0-3) Argyle Pipers.
The BC High School stats have been updated, and Ballenas’ varsity Whalers boast three players at or near the top statistically.
Senior receiver Scott Childs is the top ranked AA receiver overall in the province with 29 receptions for 645 yards — his longest an 80 yard bomb on Sunday against the visiting Frank Hurt Hornets — and six TDs in eight games played.
Grade 11 co-captain Colton Laplante tops the defensive list of B.C.’s top 20 with 73 tackles, two sacks, a fumble recovery and two interceptions in seven games played.
Grade 10 starting quarterback Garrin McDonnell is the fifth-ranked passer in the province, connecting on 59 of 108 passing attempts for 965 yards and 10 touchdowns in eight games.