Their offense struggled, but scoring from the defense and special teams have handed the Seaquam Seahawks the victory that has clinched a playoff berth.
The Seahawks blanked the Frank Hurt Hornets 9-0 Saturday afternoon at Seaquam Secondary, ensuring a second place finish in the Southern Conference of Senior AA high school football.
“This was a big pressure game for us and we did what we had to do,” said Seahawks head coach Jerry Mullis. “The pressure is off now and we can concentrate on getting ready for the playoffs.”
Seaquam finished their conference schedule at 3-1 (won-lost) and won’t play their first playoff game until Nov. 14-15. They will face the Burnaby Central Wildcats in an exhibition game Saturday, also at Seaquam before a week off.
Last weekend’s game was scoreless until a huge defensive play from the ‘Hawks.
“We were pretty tight until Devon Gould made a great play to sack their quarterback in the end zone for a safety,” Said Mullis. “And right after that, when Masaki (Kawanami) ran back a punt for a 75-yard touchdown, we really caught fire and played pretty darn well.”
Paced by Gould’s 12 tackles and three sacks, and eight tackles each from Rob Hodgins and Anojan Krishna, the defense shut down the Hornets offense. Tommy Tse with seven tackles and Joe Collier-Pandya with six were also among the defensive leaders.
But Seaquam struggled when they had the ball, and Mullis took some of the blame.
“After looking at the film, we could have taken advantage of the Frank Hurt defensive coverage and I simply got stuck into mode of running the ball, which isn’t a bad thing in rainy weather,” he said. “We could have made it much easier on ourselves if I had called some different plays at certain times.”
Seaquam quarterback Joss Yanciw battled the flu bug and completed four of 10 passes while rushing for 49 yards on 10 carries. Kawanami ran for 46 yards on nine carries, with Sam Orlick was handed the ball seven times for 36 yards. Orlick and Dante Makazu caught two passes each.
“Our defense played a great game in very difficult conditions and it was certainly their best performance of the year,” said Mullis. “The defense is playing with a lot of confidence and has bought into our philosophy of team defense.”
The Hornets fell to 1-2 on the season, tied with the Holy Cross Crusaders for the final playoff position. Frank Hurt has an easier opponent in their final game, playing the 0-3 Moscrop Panthers while the Crusaders kick-off against the 34-0 hugh Boyd Trojans.
Holy Cross defeated Moscrop in Burnaby last Friday 48-46 in overtime, overcoming a 30-16 halftime deficit to pull even 30-30 at the end of regulation time.
“We had a lot of kids contribute to the win,” said Crusaders head coach Conrad Deugau. “I am very proud of my boys. They never gave up. Each one of them contributed to the win and they deserved it. Big defensive effort in the second half.”
Quarterback Sterling Hillman ran for roughly 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns before being sidelined with an injury.
“Unfortunately a dislocated shoulder has ended his season,” said Deugau. “He played hurt all year and was a leader for us.”
Cole Barron rushed for a pair of touchdowns, threw a touchdown pass to Brandon Canuel and ran for more than 100 yards. Marcus Browne, who shared quarterbacking duties with Cole and Sterling, also rushed for more than 100 yards as well as running for a major score.
“The biggest play of the game came from Jordan O’Reilly who chased down a return on a kick-off,” said Deugau. “He made the tackle on our own 10. That stopped them from getting momentum back as we didn’t allow them to score, even with them being that close.”