The Holy Cross Crusaders are through to the quarterfinal round of the B.C. High School Football Association’s Senior AA playoffs.
The Surrey school eliminated the Windsor Dukes 28-6 in a first-round playoff game last Friday (Nov. 13) in Burnaby.
“This was the first playoff game for our Grade 12s and they really stepped up,” said Crusaders head coach Conrad Deugau. “This was an important game for them and for us as a whole rebounding from last year. The goal was simple, ‘get to Monday’ and we accomplished that goal.”
Holy Cross has to defeat Windsor for a second time this season to advance in postseason play. The Crusaders defeated the Dukes 27-6 in a preseason game in North Vancouver on Sept. 18, but despite the similar score, were given a tougher test in the playoffs.
“Windsor is tricky,” said Deugau. “(head coach Jim) Schuman had his boys well coached and they game ready to play. He does a really good job coaching.”
The score was 14-6 for Holy Cross at half time, before the Crusaders scored a pair of unanswered touchdowns over the final two quarters to clinch the win.
Grade 11 running back Paulo Lujan rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown and “just kept plowing away. He was our best player.”
Grade 12 running back Jordan O’Reilly also contributed, scoring one touchdown and making “some impact runs when spelling off Paolo. He keeps his feet going and gets those extra yards needed for us to be successful.”
Quarterback Patrick Shoemay and receiver Marcus Browne also scored one touchdown each.
The Crusaders will now kick-off against the G.W. Graham Grizzlies of Chilliwack tomorrow (Saturday) at B.C. Place. Kickoff is at 12:30 p.m.
The Grizzlies finished atop the Eastern Conference standings with a perfect 5-0 (win-loss) record and defeated the South Kamloops Titans 38-21 in their first-round game played in Chilliwack last week.
Several Crusaders were voted to Conference All-Star positions after the conclusion of the regular season.
Shoemay was voted the conference’s Offensive MVP (Most Valuable Player). All-Stars from Holy Cross including Chris Asayo on the offensive line, Brandon Canuel at wide receiver, Cole Barron and Jacob Smart at linebacker, and Browne and Lujan at defensive back.
Cole Barron was also voted the top Grade 11 player in the Southern Conference.
The Crusaders were 3-1 in league play, placing second. including preseason and playoffs, Holy Cross is 7-3.
– Two local teams have advanced to the quarterfinal round of the Junior Varsity playoffs.
The Seaquam Seahawks, seeded fifth in the 12-team playoff, blanked the Rutland Voodoo of Kelowna 42-0 in their first-round game on Nov. 12. The North Delta school is scheduled to play the fourth-seed Vancouver College Fighting Irish tomorrow (Friday) at Vancouver College.
The Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers, the sixth-seed for the playoffs, advanced to the quarterfinal round with a 44-8 romp past the Handsworth Royals, also on Nov. 12.
The Panthers play their quarterfinal game today (Thursday) against the third-seed Terry Fox Ravens.