Blowout at B.C. Place
The rematch was a mismatch.
One month after the Holy Cross Crusaders needed a fourth-quarter rally to defeat the St. Thomas More Knights 40-34 in a regular season game, the small Surrey school was clearly the superior football team in the Senior AAA championship game Saturday night at B.C. Place.
“I was surprised (at the score),” said Crusaders head coach Ken Buchan, amidst the team’s celebrations following the 49-19 blowout of the Knights, played in front of several hundred Crusaders supporters. “Our defence stepped up. And I knew we could score, it was just could we stop them? No one could stop our passing game all year. We kept doing it, and it paid off.”
Buchan said prior to the game, stopping Keynan Parker was the key. The speedy running back for the Knights burned the Crusaders for 325 yards and four touchdowns in last month’s game, but broke just one long run Saturday – a 60-yard romp for a touchdown on the Knights first possession which briefly tied the game 7-7.
Holy Cross managed to make contact with him in the backfield the rest of the night, stopping him on the odd occasion for a loss, but usually just slowing him down to limit gains to less than five yards.
Mitchell Bosch, the 6’2” 205-pound linebacker who was named the province’s Defensive Player of the Year on Thursday, spent much of the game containing Parker.
“He (Parker) is so explosive, keeping him in the backfield is so hard,” said Crusaders quarterback/defensive back Billy Greene. “To hold him to two or three yards every time, we were able to win.”
The Player of the Year in B.C. high school football, Greene also led a Holy Cross offence which posted the second-highest point total in a championship game over the past 40 years.
Greene hit receiver Spencer Betts for touchdown passes of 90, 83 and 11 yards in the first half, and ran one-yard for the first score of the game, before putting the contest out of reach with a 67-yard scamper in the fourth quarter.
The Crusaders also scored on a 15-yard pass from Greene to Bosch, and closed out the scoring with Betts lining up at quarterback then tossing one yard to Mike Coil for the seventh Holy Cross touchdown.
“This is a nice way to celebrate,” said Buchan, when reminded 2007 marked the 25th anniversary of Holy Cross Regional High School. Buchan also noted the defence played a good – but not great – game against the Knights in the regular season game at Holy Cross.
“We were in the right places last time, we just didn’t make plays,” he said of the Nov. 3 game. “Tonight we made plays.”
After the first STM series, the Crusaders did stop them. Parker raced 60 yards for a touchdown to tie the game 7-7 on the first play from scrimmage for the Knights. But he wasn’t a factor after that.
“Seeing Parker for the second time, we adjusted to his speed and didn’t give up the big runs,” said Betts, who played safety when on defence.
YARD STICKS: Betts finished the game with seven receptions for 272 yards, and was one of four Crusaders named to the provincial all-star team. He was joined on offence by lineman Jon Paras, while lineman Sean Tong and defensive back Troy Klassen were named to the defensive team.
Quarterback/defensive back Adam Berger of the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers was named the Player of the Year in the Senior AA division, one of five local players honoured with year-end awards.
Panthers teammates Kevin Staller (offensive line) and Frank Schubert (linebacker) were named to the provincial all-star team, as were defensive back Jordan Linnen of the Frank Hurt Hornets and defensive lineman Joey Gabrick of the Seaquam Seahawks.