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Island team rides lengthy shutout streak into high school football finals

Ballenas Whalers off to at BC Place after blanking Crusaders for fifth shutout win in a row

Parksville’s Ballenas Whalers junior varsity boys squad will head to BC Place to play in the final of the BC Secondary Schools Football Association Championships on Dec. 2.

The Whalers eliminated Holy Cross Crusaders 30-0 in their semifinal game, played at the Nanaimo Secondary football turf field on Wednesday (Nov. 22).

It was the fifth consecutive shutout win for the Whalers, who now prepare to take on a formidable foe in the final when they face the AAA/AA Interior Hybrid Division’s top school, Vernon Panthers, who beat the Robert Bateman Timberwolves 52-12 in the other semifinal.

The Whalers defence was key to their one-sided win against the Crusaders, who were denied any chance of scoring and got frustrated in the end, losing their composure.

Whalers head coach Mike Seselja said they put a lot of emphasis on defence, teaching them how to tackle well, read the play and make quick decisions. And it worked to their advantage.

“They shut them down,” said Seselja. “They didn’t get many first downs and that’s hard on any team.”

The Whalers were able to execute their ground and passing games well.

Higlights included two long pass executed by quarterback Riley Wilson to tall receiver Noah Silzer, who ended up scoring touchdowns on both plays.

“Noah played really well when we threw the ball to him,” said Seselja. “We could have thrown the ball more but we were trying to solidify our running game. We’re in the playoffs we should be able to throw and run the ball.”

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Wilson gave the Whalers the lead after advancing the ball to the Crusaders red zone and scoring on a quarterback sneak. Jaden Dussome completed the two-point convert.

The Whalers scored again under pressure. On fourth down, Wilson and Silzer connected for a 35-yard touchdown. Wilson launched a perfect pass to Silzer, who snagged the ball over a Crusader defender at the goalline. Spencer Jordan scored the two-point convert.

In the second half, Wilson tossed a 40-yard pass to Silzer, who was able to haul it and took it to the end zone unimpeded for his second touchdown of the game. Dussome added the two-point convert to boost the Whalers lead to 24-0.

Late in the fourth, the Whalers increased their lead to 30-0 led by Wilson, who ran around the Crusaders defence and rushing in for a touchdown. Right after that play, things got heated and a bit chippy that led the officials to end the game prematurely.

The Whalers are now looking forward to the final at BC Place. However, the schedule of their game is a bit of a problem for the Whalers as they are scheduled to play their game at 9 a.m. on Dec. 2. That would mean an added expense for the team as they have to stay overnight in Vancouver. The Whalers coaches are hoping to get the game rescheduled.

Anyone wishing to help the Whalers with their travelling expenses can make a donation via email transfer to Donations can also be made to School District 69 in care of the Ballenas Whalers football team, with a personal charity tax receipt issued by SD69. You can do this by going to the SD69 office at the Parksville Civic & Technology Centre, located at 100 Jensen Ave E, Parksville, BC V9P 2G5.

Michael Briones

About the Author: Michael Briones

I rejoined the PQB News team in April 2017 from the Comox Valley Echo, having previously covered sports for The NEWS in 1997.
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