The Ballenas Whalers will have both their junior and senior varsity teams advancing to the playoffs in the BC High School Football Conference.
They were on the road on Friday to play a doubleheader against Argyle Pipers in North Vancouver.
For the Junior Whalers, the game was a big test to gauge their playoff readiness, while for the senior Whalers, it was a must-win situation to secure their spot in the playoffs.
The JV Whalers, who have already earned a spot in the playoffs, encountered a talented Argyle squad that tested their game offensively and defensively. Ballenas ended up losing a close game 12-8.
Head coach Dan Smith said the juniors played well and were able to frustrate the Pipers’ running game. But two crucial errors decided the game.
“There were two mistakes we made in the pass defence that costs us touchdowns,” said Smith.
“One, we had a third-and-20 and they ended up faking a sweep and their running back threw on top of our guys for the winning touchdown. That really was the difference in the game.”
Against the strong and aggressive defensive line of the Pipers, the young Whalers had a challenging time offensively.
Jack Giroux scored the lone touchdown of the JV Wahlers and also had a two point catch from Bruce McCabe, who had five tackles and recovered a fumble.
Giroux also had a dozen tackles and a sack. Luis Luna was also strong in defence with six tackles and a sack.
Smith said the playoff type atmosphere of the game was a learning experience for the JV Whalers.
“They learned a lot from that game in terms of how tight playoff games can be and that one or two mistakes can actually cost a game,” said Smith.
The senior Whalers, on the other hand, accomplished what they’ve set out to do as they secured their spot in the playoffs with a dominating 35-0 win over the senior Pipers.
Smith said the senior boys were sharp on both ends, particularly in the defence.
“They (Pipers) just could not get their running game going,” said Smith. “We shut down their running game and put a lot of pressure on their quarterback.”
Demar Hohnstein was the mean machine of the Whalers as he rushed 15 times for 107 yards and had one touchdowns. In defence, he had six tackles, two sacks, and an interception for 10 yards.
“It was probably his best game of the season,” said Smith.
“We had Demar playing defensive end and he just terrorized their run game and put a lot of pressure on their quarterback. He had a super day.”
Quarterback Ben Chomolok ran for two touchdowns on sneaks and threw a 17-yard pass to Scotty Williams, who went 5-for-5 on extra points and had one interception.
Steven Boley had a six-yard touchdown run and also had five tackles and a sack. Adrien Friesen and Kolby Jack were also strong on defence with five tackles.
Smith said they’ve been stressing on both teams to get into playoff mode now.
“We have to get really focused on playoffs,” said Smith.
“Every playoff, it comes down to one ore two series of plays. So hardwork and stepping it up for the playoffs. That’s the mentally we want.”
This coming week, the JV Whalers, who finished second in the AA West Conference, will have a bye this week and will face GW Graham in Chilliwack on Nov. 14.
The senior Whalers, who rank third in the Western AA conference, hit the road Nov. 9 to face the Langley Saints. Smith said it will be an interesting matchup.
“Our Grade 11 kids last year beat this Langley team in overtime,” said Smith. “That was a tough battle. And I kind of expect the same thing. Langley is always tough and very physical. We have to be on the road so we adopted the Ragnar logo, or the road warriors’ mentality.”