The first-year Williams Lake Sabercats minor football team dropped a heartbreaker Saturday at Masich Stadium in Prince George in its season opener.
“We played so well against an experienced Vanderhoof Vikings team,” said head coach Dionte Jelks.
The Vikings put the game out of reach on a late onside kick in the fourth quarter, giving them a 25-16 victory.
The Sabercats, however — a team of seven to nine year olds — have nothing to be ashamed of, Dionte said, as the game against Vanderhoof was the group’s first ever in the Prince George Minor Football League.
Noe Jelks scored on the first play of the first quarter on a 60-yard jaunt on a hand-off from quarterback Liam Gilroy.
Noe finished the contest with 132 yards and two touchdowns on six carries, along with seven solo tackles and a fumble recovery.
“Noe carved and sliced his way through the defence throughout the day,” Dionte said.
Cole Armond added a touchdown and 68 yards on four carries with a one-point conversion.
Gilroy, meanwhile, was flawless on offence and played tough defence, making several open field tackles that of a veteran football player, Dionte said, while Gilroy was able to track down a Vikings player from 20 yards behind to make a solid tackle.
“Our key word this week was ‘desire,’” Dionte said.
“It was an outstanding effort for such a young player to understand the meaning of the word desire and display those same characteristics and efforts on the field,” he said.
“I was pumped about the play.”
The offensive line, led by Owen Voth and the Pitsos brothers, played solidly and did not give up any sacks to a tough Vikings squad, Dionte added.
“We look forward to working hard this week and working on the minor details to make us better,” Dionte said.
The Sabercats travel to play Quesnel this Saturday at 11 a.m. at Cariboo Field.