Spectrum Thunder’s senior boys football team is making history as it will play in this week’s Subway Bowl Tier 2 provincial championship.
Spectrum qualified by winning its first ever playoff game, the Tier 2 semifinal, a 28-12 win over the Frank Hurt Hornets of Surrey on Friday. Spectrum will face the Eric Hamber Griffins in B.C. Place at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.
“Going to our first Subway Bowl has had a real good buzz around the school, everybody’s excited to go,” Vaux said. “It shows that there’s more than one place to play football in Saanich.”
The Thunder are the only remaining Island team still playing football this season. The Mount Douglas Rams fell in the AAA quarterfinal to 19-14 to the New Westminster Hyacks while the AAA Belmont Bulldogs did not advance to the playoffs.
Grade 12 rookie running back Brandon Robbins, a converted soccer player, led the Thunder in the semifinal with three touchdowns and 158 yards rushing, said Thunder coach Darren Vaux.
“Robbins just joined the team this year and has been an incredible find for us,” Vaux said. “He’s given us an identity as a running football team, and we’re playing some pretty nasty defence, it’s been good all year.”
Grade 11 quarterback Cam Ross scampered 60 yards for a late touchdown to seal the win. Grade 12 Sahjun Sehmi was noticeably strong on special teams and defence as he ran in a two-point conversion he recovered from an errant snap on a point after attempt, and had an interception, Vaux said. Nic Lockwood also stood out at linebacker and on the offensive line.
A referee mix up nearly postponed the Friday match. It started so late the Thunder didn’t get home until 3 a.m., having to take the 10:45 p.m. ferry out of Tsawassen to Nanaimo.
“The kids were revved up from the win and it made the long travel easy to tolerate,” Vaux said.
The win over Frank Hurt avenged the Thunder’s 3-0 overtime loss to the Hornets last month.
“We knew that we stepped on our own tails [in our loss to Frank Hurt] and we felt it was more of us losing that game than them taking it from us,” Vaux said.
Spectrum are confident going into the Tier 2 Subway Bowl final as they previously defeated their opponent Eric Hamber 34-13 on Oct. 13.
“We feel really good about this game but it won’t be the same team we played on Oct 13,” Vaux said. “They’ve been to the Tier 2 championship before, they’ll be well prepared and will give us a few looks we haven’t seen yet.”
Spectrum’s football program started in 2013. It’s recently played in the Tier 2 division, one that had its struggles this year as it began as a six-team league that saw two teams fold early. To make up the playing time Spectrum played exhibition games against AAA teams.