SURREY - Cloverdale's Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers continued their climb up the provincial class AAA rankings with an impressive 21-0 upset win over third-ranked St. Thomas More Knights in Burnaby last Friday.
It marked the third massive win in as many weeks for the Panthers, who earlier edged the Blaine Borderites in a cross-border exhibition match and then upended fourth-ranked W.J. Mouat on Sept. 27.
The latest win propelled the Panthers into the No. 3 spot in the provincial rankings, trailing only defending champion Mount Douglas and the Terry Fox Ravens.
The key to the win over the Knights was another outstanding performance by Tweedsmuir's underappreciated defence, who held St. Thomas More off the scoreboard.
"Our defence has been steadily improving all year," said Panthers coach Kurt Thornton. "They did a great job in holding Mouat to 21 points last week and then against St. Thomas More, our secondary was excellent. One of our corners, Amrit Sanopal, was phenomenal with several passes broken up. It was one of the best games played by a defensive back that we've ever had."
Safety Brendan Woods led the Panthers with dozen tackles while teaming up with Sanopal and Connor McKay to shut down the Knights passing attack.
The Panthers' defence dominated the line of scrimmage, breaking through for six sacks in the game including three from defensive end Austin Thornton.
On offence, the Panthers were equally impressive. Star tailback Jamel Lyles had another massive game for the boys in green, carrying the ball 23 times for 245 yards and all three of his team's touchdowns. Lyles also had another 75-yard touchdown run called back on a holding penalty.
In class AA action, the Frank Hurt Hornets welcomed Victoria's Spectrum to their Newton hive Friday where they stung the visitors 45-7.
"Our offence was just operating on all cylinders," said Hornets coach Duane Linnen on his team's second league win after moving up to class AA this season. "Our running game got off to a good start and that opened things up for the passing game."
Running back Bash Sise-Odaa carried the ball 15 times for 185 yards and three touchdowns to spark the Frank Hurt attack.
Backfield mate added 100 yards on eight carries while quarterback Josh Zivny and fullback Geordelan Gamez also scored touchdowns along the ground.
Zivny also zapped Spectrum through the air, connecting on a 50-yard scoring strike to Hamza Khan and a 45-yard TD toss to his younger brother Brendan Zivny.
Elsewhere, the Seaquam Seahawks received a major boost of confidence thanks to a come-from-behind 46-32 road win over the Hugh Boyd Trojans in Richmond Friday.
Masaki Kawanami kicked started his teammates when he turned an interception into a 70-yard pick six on the final play of the opening half.
Trailing 26-18 at the break, the Seahawks dominated the final two quarters, outscoring their hosts 28-6 en route to the win.
Seahawks pivot Joss Yanciw hurt the Trojans on the ground and through the air. Yanciw scrambled for three Seaquam touchdowns and tacked on scoring tosses to Kawanami and Jayden Mah.
On Saturday afternoon in Fleetwood, the Holy Cross Crusaders turned in their best showing of the season in a 13-6 loss to the top-ranked and defending AA champion South Delta Sun Devils.
"That was by far the best game we've played," said Crusaders coach Ken Buchan. "It's hard to figure this team out. Last week we played terrible against the fifth-ranked team (Carson Graham) and this week we almost beat the number one team. Hopefully we can build on this game and keep getting better."
Antonio Mendoza scored the lone Holy Cross touchdown late in the fourth quarter on a pass from Grade 10 quarterback Patrick Shoemay.
Buchan said Lucas Ciampelletti made a big impact for the Crusaders on both sides of the line of scrimmage as a running back and a linebacker.
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