AAA Semifinal: Vancouver College Fighting Irish vs New Westminster Hyacks

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Saturday, November 28 – BC Place

Kickoff at 7:30PM

Watch online at www.SportsCanada.TV

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Photo Credit: Jason Lang

The New Westminster Hyacks have a chance to make history and secure a spot in the Subway Bowl championship game for the first time but, in order to do that, they’ll need to get past the unbeaten Vancouver College Fighting Irish, a team looking to make their way back to the title game for the first time since 2012.

Last week, the Fighting Irish blanked the Notre Dame Jugglers 27-0 to earn their spot in the semi-final. In the win, the defence effectively shut down the Jugglers’ offence by recording picks left, right, and center. Bobby Singh recorded three picks, while defensive lineman Jagroop Sandhu also got into the act tipping a pass to himself and returning it 20 yards for a pick-six. Chris Ellis made seven tackles to lead the defence. On offence, running back Michael Le and receiver Rysen John both scored touchdowns to help the Fighting Irish to a three-touchdown lead in the first quarter, and Javier Sanchez Mejorada rounded out the scoring with a touchdown run in the final quarter to ensure a win against their cross-town rival.

The Hyacks, meanwhile, defeated the St. Thomas More Knights 27-13 to earn their spot in the semi-finals for the first time since 2009. In the game, running back Trew Dancey scored on back-to-back majors, including a 45-yard scoring run, while David Penalver and Gurvir Ghuman both found the end zone with a 22-yard run and 40-yard run, respectively, to round out the scoring for the Hyacks. On defence, Jeff Lugtu recorded a crucial pick which eventually led to a touchdown, and will be a player to watch this weekend. The Hyacks did make three trips to STM’s five-yard line without producing scores and they will look to make sure they don’t miss any more of those opportunities against Vancouver College.

Will the Hyacks continue their run and punch a ticket to the Subway Bowl final? Or will the Fighting Irish prove to be too much to handle? Come find out at BC Place!

 

79th Hardy Cup Game Preview: UBC Thunderbirds at Calgary Dinos

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Saturday, November 14 – McMahon Stadium

Kickoff at 11 am PT

Game can be seen on Global TV

CALGARY,BC:SEPTEMBER 4 2015: UBC Thunderbirds Calgary Dinos during CIS Canada West football action in Calgary, AB, Friday, September, 04, 2015. (Rich Lam/UBC Athletics)

Photo Credit: Richard Lam/ UBC Athletics

A year ago, the UBC Thunderbirds were a program seemingly in disarray. Fast forward to this year and they are in the Canada West championship game as they hit the road this Saturday to compete in the 79th Hardy Cup against Coach Blake Nill’s former team, the Calgary Dinos.

The Thunderbirds are coming off a 52-10 win over last year’s Hardy Cup champion, the Manitoba Bisons. In last week’s game, pivot Michael O’Connor finished with 19-of-34 passes completed for 231 yards and three touchdown passes, two of which were caught by Trivel Pinto who finished with six pass receptions for 88 yards on the day. On the ground, the team was led by Brandon Deschamps once again as the player nicknamed ‘Banger’ rumbled 14 times for 124 yards and a score.

The defence stepped it up big for the Thunderbirds, led by linebacker Terrell Davis’ three solo tackles, six assisted tackles and a sack. The defence recorded four interceptions on the night, including two by Mitchell Barnett (one 50-yard pick six) and one each by Stavros Katsantonis and Yianni Cabylis. It was also highlighted by an impressive sequence by Connor Griffiths who recorded a sack followed by a tackle for a loss on consecutive plays. Last but not least, kicker Quin van Gylswyk made 5-of-6 field goals attempts to help the team book their first trip back to the Hardy Cup since 2011.

The Dinos, who are undefeated this season, didn’t have it as easy in their 37-29 win over the University of Saskatchewan last week in their semi-final contest. Pivot Andrew Buckley was an efficient 33-of-40 for 367 yards and threw his lone touchdown of the night to Brett Blaszko. Buckley’s favourite targets are likely to be Blaszko and Rashaun Simonise, both of whom went over the 100-yard mark. Blaszko had eight receptions for 115 yards, while the former Vancouver College Fighting Irish Simonise had and ten catches for 166 yards. On the ground, Mercer Timmis led the attack with 21 carries for 154 yards and rumbled for two scores.

On defence, Micah Teitz led the team with seven solo and two assisted tackles, while Doctor Cassama also recorded seven solo stops. The Dinos also recorded four sacks, with Cory Robsinson, Deondre Townsend, Brett Wade, and Joel Van Pelt all recording one apiece.

In their last meeting in September, the Dinos easily handled the Thunderbirds and won by a score of 49-16. Will the Thunderbirds be able to pull off the upset and hand the Dinos their first loss of the season and secure their first Hardy Cup title since 1997? Find out on Saturday live on Global TV.

SFU Clan at Azusa Pacific Cougars – Game Preview

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Saturday, November 14 – Citrus Stadium in Glendora, CA

Kickoff at 6:15 pm PT

Simon Fraser University - Azusa Pacific University GNAC NCAA football at Swangard Stadium, Burnaby B.C. September 19 2015. Photo: Ron Hole

Photo Credit: Ron Hole

In their final game of the year, the SFU Clan (0-8; 0-5 GNAC) travel down to sunny California to take on the Azusa Pacific Cougars (5-4; 2-3 GNAC) hoping to avoid going winless in the season.

In their home finale last weekend against Central Washington, the Clan had short-lived two touchdown lead during the third quarter but ultimately fell to the Wildcats by a score of 30-24. Senior quarterback Ryan Stanford had a difficult time against the defence, only being able to complete 16-of-39 attempts for 235 yards and a 75-yard touchdown pass to none other than Justin Buren. Buren finished the day with a team-leading four catches for 114 yards. Ante Milanovic-Litre rumbled his way to his best game of the season, carrying the ball 21 times for 145 yards and two scores. On defence, the Herdman twins led the team, with Jordan recording seven solo and seven assisted tackles and Justin recording five solo and five assisted tackles. Other highlights for the defence included sacks by Kyle Wilson and Tyrel Ratich and an interception by Robin Weathersby.

The Cougars are also coming off a hard-fought loss after falling 17-14 to Western Oregon two weeks ago. They had a bye last week. In the loss, the Cougars were down 14-0 at the half and almost orchestrated a comeback thanks to backup pivot Andrew Elffers who completed 7-of-11 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown and also led the team on the ground with 11 carries for 44 yards. The lone touchdown pass through the air was caught by Ethan Zeidler, while Kurt Scoby scored the other on the ground. On defence, Jonathon Thropay led the team with six solo and two assisted tackles, while Matt Hackett recorded three solo and three assisted tackles as well as a sack and a forced fumble.

In a battle of two teams coming off of tight losses, which team will be able to turn around and take home the win in their respective regular season finales?

Mt. Boucherie Bears vs South Delta Sun Devils – AAA Wildcard Game Preview

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Friday, November 13th – Burnaby Lake Sports Complex West

Kickoff at 4:30 pm PT

Watch online at http://www.SportsCanada.TV

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Photo Credit: Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

The 2015 BC High School Football playoffs get underway this weekend, and one of the highlight contests pits the defending champion South Delta Sun Devils (2-3) against the Mt. Boucherie Bears (2-4) in a clash at Burnaby Lake with the winner moving on to face the Terry Fox Ravens.

The Bears, who finished fifth in the Eastern Conference, are coming off a 38-21 win over Lord Tweedsmuir. Several players to look out for on offence include Tyler Toic, who finished the regular season with the top AAA passing statistics with 73-of-144 completions for 1180 yards and 11 touchdowns. Toic’s favourite targets are likely to be Spencer Schmidt and Dayton Moore, who finished the regular season as the top-ranked and fifth-ranked players in the AAA ranks among the receiving corps with 23 catches for 520 yards, and five touchdowns and 19 catches for 350 yards and two touchdowns, respectively. On the ground, Ty Truong is expected to be the team’s leading rusher after leading the team with 302 rushing yards this season and recording two scores along the way. On defence, the Bears boast Taylor Knoll, who led the league with 51 tackles, four sacks, and three interceptions, and will pose a challenge for the Sun Devils.

The Sun Devils, who are led by pivot Kyle Chace, finished fourth in the Western Conference and are looking to win games when it counts during the playoffs. Last week, the Sun Devils ended their regular season with a 35-24 loss to the New Westminster Hyacks by surrendering three second-half touchdowns. They’ll hope to right the ship when it matters the most and try and learn from yet another setback. One player you won’t want to miss is Grant McDonald, who will be all over the field after finishing as the team’s leading rusher with 58 attempts for 321 yards and two touchdowns, as well as recording 41 tackles and one fumble recovery in five games on defence. On special teams, a player who could make a big difference is Michael Calvert, who ranked first in the league in punt returns and also recorded two punt returns for touchdowns of 45 and 60 yards earlier this season.

Both teams are out to prove they can win the big games. Who will come out on top and earn a date with the Ravens? Find out this Friday!

Manitoba Bisons @ UBC Thunderbirds – Canada West Playoff Preview

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Saturday, November 7 – Thunderbird Stadium

Kickoff at 12 PM PT

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Photo Credit: Football BC

After an exciting 24-10 win at home against the Manitoba Bisons to cap off the regular season, the Thunderbirds earned the right to host the Canada West playoff semifinal this Saturday when they face the Bisons once again on home turf.

In last week’s win, the Thunderbirds defence put on a show and were led by linebacker Terrell Davis, who finished the game with six solo and seven assisted tackles and a forced fumble. In the secondary, Stavros Katsantonis had another standout game with two interceptions and three solo tackles. On offence, Michael O’Connor had a slow start but finished the game with 17-of-30 completed passes for 219 yards and two interceptions. He also rushed four times for 62 yards and a score. On the ground, Brandon Deschamps led the team with a solid effort and rushed 16 times for 119 yards and a score while also recording four catches for 54 yards. Through the air, Marcus Davis led the team with five catches for a game-high 94 yards and also ran in a 14-yard score in the win.

For the Bisons, Foster Martens completed the game with 10-of-18 completed passes for 82 yards but was replaced by Billy Hart after throwing his second interception of the night to Katsantonis. Speaking to Football BC following the game, Bisons head coach Brian Dobie indicated that he expected injured starting QB Theo Deezar to be available for this week. On the ground, the Bisons were led by Jamel Lyles’ 55 yards on ten carries, while the receiving corps was split almost evenly with Alex Christie, Bryden Bone and Jesse Walker all catching two passes each for for 29, 26, and 25 yards, respectively. On defence, DJ Lalama led the team with seven solo and four assisted tackles, as well as a sack. Brett MacFarlane also rounded out the highlights on defence with two forced fumbles and two solo and four assisted tackles.

In their two meetings this season, the Thunderbirds have beaten the Bisons by scores of 51-48 and 24-10, and both teams will be hungry to advance. Will the Thunderbirds soar above the Bisons once again? Or will the Bisons stomp over the Thunderbirds when it counts?

VMFL Midget Game of the Week Preview – Langley Stampeders @ Coquitlam Falcons

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Saturday, October 31 – Town Centre Park

Kickoff at 7:30 pm

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Photo Credit: Erich Eichhorn image (www.allsportmedia.ca)

The two longest active winning streaks in the VMFL Midget Division will collide on Hallowe’en night when the undefeated Coquitlam Falcons (7-0) play host to the Langley Stampeders (5-1), winners of their last four in a row.

This is the first and only regular season meeting between the two teams that seem destined to clash again in early December once the BCCFA Provincial Championships rolls around. Until that point, however, neither team is going to count their chickens before they hatch and they’ll be focused on just continuing their strong regular season runs.

The Falcons have been the cream of the crop of the division all season long and are coming off a 20-8 victory last week over the Comox Raiders. The Stampeders, meanwhile, haven’t lost a game since falling to the North Surrey Bears back in their second game of the season. They’re coming off an easy 45-0 pounding of the winless Cloverdale Bengals.

This game could be an early championship preview. Which team gets treated, and which team gets tricked in this Hallow’s Eve clash?

Other Midget games this week (all games on Sunday, November 1 unless otherwise indicated):

Friday, October 30 – Cloverdale Bengals @ Chilliwack Giants – 7:30 pm (Townsend Park)

North Surrey Bears @ White Rock Titans – 12 pm (South Surrey Athletic Park)

Cowichan Timbermen @ Victoria Spartans – 4 pm (Westhills Stadium)

BYE: Comox Raiders

UBC Thunderbirds vs. Manitoba Bisons – Game Preview

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Saturday, October 31, 2015 – Thunderbird Stadium

Kickoff at 1PM PT

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Photo Credit: umanitoba.ca

In the final week of the Canada West regular season, it’s a clash of the two teams tied for second place in the conference when the UBC Thunderbirds (5-2) host the Manitoba Bisons (5-2) in a preview of the opening round of Canada West playoffs.

After a thrilling 41-36 win over the Saskatchewan Huskies, the Thunderbirds will look to get another win for the fans at home before playoffs begin. In the win, Michael O’Connor went 20-of-31 for a huge 449 yards and three scores, which also rushing for 30 yards on four carries and rumbling for a score of his own. The Thunderbirds’ receiving corps had a great night with Ben Cummings leading the way with three catches for 124 yards and a touchdown, and Will Watson recording six catches for 108 yards. On the ground, Brandon Deschamps led the team with 14 carries for 85 yards in the team’s win. On defence, Terrell Davis led the team with five solo tackles and ten assists, while A.J. Blackwell recorded a game-high six solo tackles.

The Bisons, who are also coming off a 29-7 victory against the University of Alberta Golden Bears, were led by Foster Martens who completed 13-of-20 passes for 165 yards. Trysten Dyce led the team with three receptions for 46 yards, but the majority of the offensive numbers were put up by the Bisons’ ground game which totaled 351 yards. On the ground, Alex Christie and Jamel Lyles led the team with 15 carries for 104 yards and nine carries for 93 yards, respectively. On defence, look for David Onyemata and Christian Turner to do some damage after recording 13 tackles (six solo) and 1.5 sacks, and ten tackles (five solo) and 2.5 sacks, respectively.

October has been a great month for both teams as neither has yet to drop a game this month. The winner of this game will not head into the playoffs on a high, but will have the chance to host next week’s rematch between the clubs in the opening round of the playoffs. Will the Thunderbirds have that privilege, or will the Bisons force the T-Birds to make the trip to Winnipeg?