Whalers trample Blue Wave in round one

Parksville team now faces tough Richmond team in ongoing provincial playoffs

Brendan Harstad of the Ballenas Whalers knocks the ball loose during action as the Whalers beat the Westsyde Blue Wave 51-6 in the first round of the playoffs.

Chalk up another victory for the Ballenas Whalers senior football team, as they smashed through the Westsyde Blue Wave 51-6 to move on to the next round of the playoffs.

The Whalers scored on their opening drive, running the ball down field with Coltin Laplante capping off the drive with an eight-yard score. The Blue Wave fumbled the ball on their first play from scrimmage and the Whalers capitalized on a great field position. From that point on, there was no looking back for the Whalers.

With a 44-0 lead at the half, both the Whalers and Blue Wave agreed to have running time for the second half, leading to the inevitable win for the Whalers.

“I was really happy with the team, we played well across the board,” Coach Jeremy Conn said after the big win. “Westsyde is developing into a good program but it was tough for them as their star running back was injured early. They never quit and it was a good win for our team heading in to the next round of the playoffs.”

Garrin McDonnell was back at quarterback after an injury kept him sidelined for the final three games of the season. He threw for 132 yards on the day, completing seven of nine passes for three touchdowns.

Brendan Harstad hauled in a 19-yard touchdown pass and Cobby Stubbins showed off his offensive game, reeling in two touchdowns on four catches for a total of 76 yards.

“I was happy to see the passing game clicking again,” Conn said. “Our run game has been awesome all year but we know that we will have to be a better balanced team. We have the ability to throw the ball, so it was good to see us execute the passing game as well as we did.”

The Whalers had a pair of running backs with over 100 yards each in the game as well. Coltin Laplante had 13 carries for 129 yards and four touchdowns, while Matt Price had just four carries but ran for 113 yards, including a 91-yard touchdown.

Price also factored in on a fumble recovery, defensively, after taking a lateral from teammate Kenny Williams, who had initially recovered the ball. Price had four tackles on the defensive side of the ball; Stubbins had five tackles and two interceptions. Jonah Hay and Steve Martin had big games as well, with Hay collecting six tackles and a sack. Martin, meanwhile, had three tackles, an interception the big man returned for 19 yards and one fumble recovery.

The Whalers will now face Hugh Boyd (Richmond) but still don’t know which day or time the game will take place. The two teams were supposed to play in the first week but the game was canceled due to the teachers’ strike.

“It’s going to be a great match up against Hugh Boyd,” Conn said. “They’re well coached and very athletic. It’s going to be one of our toughest games of the year and I think that our guys are going to get up for that challenge.”

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