Morning Star Staff
It was a rematch of the 2014 provincial semi-final and Nanaimo’s John Barsby Bulldogs once again proved why they are the No. 1 high school football team in B.C., taking down the fifth-ranked Panthers 25-0 Saturday at VSS.
The P.anthers took the opening drive inside the Bulldog 20-yard line with quarterback Justin Haverkamp rushing for 25 yards and Ben Hladik hauling in two of his three receptions.
However, the drive stalled after losing starting quarterback/strong safety Haverkamp to injury. The Cats failed to hit the red zone the rest of the game.
Barsby led 7-0 at the half and scored another TD midway through the third quarter to go up 13-0 and two more in the fourth.
“We competed hard and I was very encouraged by a lot of different aspects of our play,” said Panther head coach Sean Smith.
“Our defence held a very tough offence in check for most of the game. Barsby is the gold standard in AA football so this match gave us a chance to see how we rate on the provincial scale. My goal for these boys is to play them again in late November and be more competitive.”
Defensively, Josh Hyer (7) and Riley Bos (6) led all tacklers. However, it was the play of rookie Grade 9 safety Thomas Hyett (5 tackles) that turned heads. Jonah Anstey had seven carries for 24 yards.
“We are very thin in our secondary and when Havy went down, Thomas was our next man up. We told him that he’d only be on the field in an emergency …unfortunately the emergency happened a few plays into the game and it was baptism by fire. I was very proud of the way he stood tall and competed against a very hard-nosed opponent.”
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Panthers as they battle the AAA Kelowna Owls Friday night (6:30) at the Apple Bowl.
“Their school has the most senior boys in the province, so I’m expecting a very strong opponent,” said Smith.