Panthers running back Samwel Uko shakes off a Grizzlies defender on Friday. Uko scored all three touchdowns in Abbotsford’s win. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford Panthers complete perfect season

Senior varsity football club earns first place under Friday Night Lights, Bateman and Mouat's seasons over

ABBOTSFORD PANTHERS – 21 G.W. GRAHAM GRIZZLIES – 0

The Abbotsford Panthers completed a perfect season on Friday, blanking their rivals from Chilliwack to clinch first place in the AA’s Eastern Conference.

But, the game saw the Grizzlies come to Abbotsford without their biggest offensive weapon – last week’s top player of the week for the AA Conference – Von Richardson.

The running back, who scored seven touchdowns last week, was reportedly at B.C. Place for the International Rugby match between Canada and the Maori All Blacks.

The Panthers have a much-heralded running back of their own in Samwel Uko, who stole the show on Friday. Uko ran for three touchdowns and close to 200 yards in the win. After a first quarter that saw the two teams knotted in a scoreless tie, Uko said the Panthers offensive line opened up holes for him for the rest of the game.

“Coach Fuj [Jay Fujimura] told them to step it up and that the rest of the game was going to be on them and I’m thankful they did,” he said.

Uko said he was impressed by the Panthers defence, who held the high-powered Grizzlies offence to zero points.

“Full credit to Coach Abraham and the defence,” he said. “They did a great job stopping the run and Kevin [Endozo] had a great pick for us.”

He admitted he was a little disappointed that Richardson didn’t make the trip to Abbotsford, but he feels good about the Panthers heading into the playoffs.

“I’m feeling really confident but we just need to keep up the intensity,” he said.

Uko scored touchdowns in the second, third and fourth quarters to seal the win. Coach Fujimura said it wasn’t an easy win.

“It was a tough game and a real battle inside all game,” he said. “They have one of the best fronts in AA, their linemen are exceptional and they hit us hard and pushed us around a lot early in the game. We had to figure out how to handle it, and we did after the first quarter.”

Fujimura said the Panthers prepared for Richardson all week.

“It was a surprise he wasn’t there,” he said. “It was a pretty big game and he’s a big part of their offence but their running backs played well and they’re both tough. They’re a very good team and they’re going to be a handful for whoever they play in the playoffs.”

The Panthers finished the season at 5-0, and receive a first round bye in the playoffs. They play the winner of the game next week featuring the third place team in the Western Conference and the second place team in the Northern Conference. Abbotsford will host the quarterfinals either on Nov. 17 or 18.

ROBERT BATEMAN TIMBERWOLVES – 12 LANGLEY SECONDARY SAINTS – 35

Over at Bateman Field, the Timberwolves senior varsity team’s season is over after falling to Langley.

The Wolves finished the season with zero wins and five losses, and did not qualify for the playoffs.

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W.J. MOUAT HAWKS – 3 MT. BOUCHERIE BEARS – 39

Friday also marked the end of the line for the W.J. Mouat Hawks, who ended the season with a loss to Mt. Boucherie.

The Hawks finished the season with one win and five losses, good for seventh place in the AAA’s Eastern Conference.

For more information on all the games, read Wednesday’s print edition of the Abbotsford News.

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