Ballenas Secondary School’s two football teams were in action last week, with mixed results.
On Friday, the varsity Whalers lost a hard-fought 22-7 final in Nanaimo to their arch rivals, the Barsby Bulldogs.
“That was an emotional, hard-hitting and exciting game,” Whalers’ head coach Jeremy Conn said. “I am proud of our guys. They took on the big dog and gave it their all.”
The Whalers opened the game with an onside kick recovery by Kenny Williams, but were unable to capitalize, and the teams played to a scoreless first quarter.
Barsby took a 7-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, and senior pivot Garrin McDonnell threw a 38-yard game-tying TD to Scott Childs to start the third quarter.
Barsby scored again to go up 14-7, and then the Whalers’ Stephen Martin intercepted a pass and ran 40 yards to set Ballenas up with good field position, but they came away empty.
Barsby added a touchdown and a two point convert on the last play of the game.
“I was blown away by the performance of our kids,” said Conn, “especially our captain and linebacker Coltin Laplante, who had 24 tackles. He put in an All-Provincial game today, that’s for sure.”
Laplante’s big day lifted him to a tie for third in B.C. High School Football’s AA defensive leaders.
Adam Droog chipped in with six tackles, and Childs, currently ranked fourth among receivers in the province, led the offense with six catches for 62 yards and the Whalers lone major.
“Unfortunately we could not capitalize more on their mistakes. We missed some interceptions and had too many penalties,” said Conn. “The game was full of penalties as there was so much emotion. We need to clean that up.”
The Whalers are currently 1-2 and sitting middle of the pack in the seven-team Western Conference.
IN JV ACTION: the hometown Whalers traveled to North Van last Wednesday where they thumped the Carson Graham Eagles 29-12. The Whalers led 13-12 at the half.
Matt Price led the way with 21 carries for 153 yards and TD runs of 19 and six yards. Brody Sesalja added 40 yards on seven carries while completing two TD passes of five and 59 yards to tight end Brenden Harstad. Sam Paquette hauled in a clutch 40-yard catch to go with eight tackles on defense. Steve Martin also had eight tackles, Harstad had seven, and Austin Hunt six, while Frank Filko finished with five tackles and a fumble recovery. The JV’s are currently 1-1 in conference play and part of a three-way tie for top spot in their five-team Island Division.
GAME ON: The varsity Whalers are back in Nanaimo Friday to take on the NDSS Islanders. Kickoff is set for 1:45 p.m. Friday at Merle Logan turf field.
The JVs were at home on Wednesday at BSS for a league game against the Barsby Bulldogs (score from that game unavailable at press time).