SURREY — The Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers came up with their biggest win since they moved up to join the class AAA football ranks by knocking off the third-ranked W.J. Mouat Hawks 31-20 in the pouring rain in Cloverdale Friday afternoon.
The game was a showdown between two of the best running backs in the province, a duel that was won decisively by Panthers scatback Jamel Lyles. Lyles racked up 271 yards rushing on 23 attempts with four of those runs ending in the Mouat end zone.
Mouat answered with the province’s leading ground gainer in Maleek Irons, who had a hard time escaping the clutches of the Panthers defence. Irons finished the game with 115 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns.
Linebacker Michael Carter led the Panthers’ defence with nine tackles while the Tweedsmuir defensive line — Austin Thornton, Reece Russell, Dalton Dietrich, Brendan Kennedy and Chris Atkinson — combined for 25 tackles to keep Irons under wraps.
“This was a huge win for us because we’ve never beaten Mouat before,” said Tweedsmuir coach Kurt Thornton. “There’s a difference between being good enough to beat a team like that and actually beating them. They do a lot of things right there and there are high expectations among their players and coaches every year. They expect to win every game so to close out a game to beat a team like that, you can’t help but feel a little more legitimate. We certainly proved we belong among the top five ranked teams in AAA.”
Tweedsmuir faces another tough challenge this week when they take on fourth-ranked St. Thomas More in Burnaby Friday.
In class AA football action, the Frank Hurt Hornets posted their first win since rejoining the double-A loop after three years in Tier 2. The Hornets stung the Hugh Boyd Trojans 20-7 to level their league record at 1-1.
Tailback Bash Sise-Odaa sparked the Hornets’ attack with a pair of touchdowns while Rashon Loobie scored the other Frank Hurt major on a pass from Josh Zivny.
“It was a good win for us,” said Hornets coach Duane Linnen. “We made a lot of mistakes but it was good to get the win in the end. We got our first win in AA league play but the guys know they need to tighten it up a bit more. We have to develop a killer instinct to put teams away because we had four or five turnovers that could have led to scores.”
In exhibition action, the Holy Cross Crusaders took it on the chin in a 35-7 loss to Carson Graham on the North Shore.
Patrick Szabo scored lone Holy Cross TD on a short run.
Crusaders coach Ken Buchan singled out running back/linebacker Lucas Ciampeletti for his efforts on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
“It was a good learning experience for our kids,” Buchan said. “Carson is ranked number five in the province so it was a good gauge of where we are and where we want to be. To be honest, we didn’t play very well overall. We still have a ways to go. We’re installing some new systems so it’s a work in progress right now.”
Closer to home, the Seaquam Seahawks welcomed Bellingham’s Squalicum Storm to North Delta Saturday afternoon where the Americans prevailed 48-6.
Seaquam quarterback Joss Yanciw scored late in the game to avoid the shutout.
“Squalicum is an incredibly good football team,” said Seahawks coach Jerry Mulliss. “They would challenge our top AAA teams here. It was a great experience for our kids to play a team like that. It was an example of where we want to take our program to and from that perspective, it was a great experience for our kids.”
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