The boys from Ballenas were battle ready last week as both Parksville’s football teams posted well-earned wins.
The Jr. Whalers got the ball rolling last Wednesday on home field with a 20-10 win over the Barsby Bulldogs, and the seniors followed suit with a decisive 33-18 victory over the NDSS Islanders.
Key to the JV’s win was the play of their defence.
“I was really happy how our defence stepped up and put the pressure on the Barsby offence. We stopped their run and were ready for their screens,” said Whalers’ head coach Jeremy Conn. “Our kids played good hard clean and smart football. this is a really encouraging sign as it’s a group of highly skilled and highly committed athletes that are a pleasure to coach.
In action in Nanaimo last Friday, the seniors snapped a two game losing skid and looked good doing it.
According to coach Conn, the Whalers opened the scoring on their first drive when fullback Coltin Laplante broke up the middle for a 50 yard TD. Laplante found the end-zone again on the next drive from two yards out for a 13-0 first quarter lead.
The Islanders countered with two TDs to make it 13-12; Childs pulled in a 15 yard TD pass, and NDSS responded for a 20-18 Whalers’ lead at the half, at which time Conn said they “made some adjustments and decided to keep the ball on the ground and out of the hands of the explosive Islanders offence.”
Tailback AJ Messner had himself another great game, piling up 122 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries. Laplante finished with 21 carries for 157 yards.
QB Garrin McDonnell was 6-for-7 passing for 118 yards and a TD pass. Childs led the Whalers’ receiving corps with four catches for 92 yards and a major.
On defence, Laplante, the league leader in tackles, added another five tackles along with a key interception in the end-zone and an interception. Corner Cobby Stubbins had two interceptions; safety Ben Francis had five tackles, and Brock Mould had three tackles and a fumble recovery.
“I was nervous going into this game as NDSS has some really good firepower on offence,” said coach Conn. “I thought we had them bottled up but they hurt us in the second quarter. I was proud of the adjustments our kids were able to make at halftime, and we executed much better in the second half.
GAME ON: Now 2-2 in league play and sitting fourth in the seven-team Western conference, the varsity Whalers are home this week for a rare Saturday game when they host the Frank Hurt Hornets in a non-conference matchup. Kickoff is 12:30 p.m. The Hornets are currently 3-1 and sitting second in the six-team Southern conference.
The JV Whalers’ improve to 2-1 and are jockeying for top spot in the Island division. Ballenas’ next conference game is Oct. 31 when they host the NDSS Islanders.