By Ben Lypka, Abbotsford News
SURREY — In the end, the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers just couldn’t stop Samwel Uko.
The Abbotsford Panthers running back opened the game with back-to-back first play touchdowns of over 120 yards, and then added two more majors in the second half to help his team win 41-19 at Cloverdale Athletic Park on Friday.
Uko collected 380 yards in the win, which eliminated Tweedsmuir from the AAA high school playoffs in B.C.
“We tried to contain him but we just couldn’t,” said Tweedsmuir co-head coach Lou Deslauriers. “He makes a lot of people miss.”
Deslauriers said the opening drive in the second half, which saw Uko run 80 yards for a major was the turning point in the game.
“He took a play from the right side when the game was 26-14 and we had him bottled up,” he said. “But then he takes it all the way for a touchdown. That play kind of summarized what happened in this game.”
Tweedsmuir scored late in the first half to make it 26-14, but that was as close as they got. Running back Joel Klaassen continued his excellent year for Tweedsmuir, picking up 178 yards and two touchdowns. The other score came from Trevan Baarts, who caught a short touchdown pass from quarterback Walter Dingwall.
Despite the loss, Deslauriers said it was a solid year for Tweedsmuir. The Panthers finished the regular season with a record of five wins and two losses, and were ranked second in the AAA’s eastern conference.
“That record is nothing to be ashamed of,” he said. “The kids should be congratulated for that. Our defence has been great all year so it was a little demoralizing to have all this happen today. Whenever you lose it and your season ends so suddenly it can be hard to take.”
Tweedsmuir says goodbye to a graduating class, including Klaassen, who Deslauriers said has a chance to continue playing the sport in university.
“He’s really come along this year,” he said. “He’s still got to grow, but I think he can play at the next level.”
Abbotsford moves on to BC Place next Saturday to take on the New Westminster Hyacks.