The G.P. Vanier Towhees gave the Timberline Wolves a good run for their money before falling 44-34 in senior varsity high school football action Oct. 15 in Campbell River.
The Wolves were unbeaten in both preseason and the regular season, scoring on average 49 points a game on offence and allowing only 10 against. Vanier had only one win and were averaging 14 points on offence and giving away 21 points a game.
But Vanier was coming off a tough loss from a week ago and, on a beautiful day for fall football, were ready for the Wolves.
Vanier took the opening kickoff and mounted a strong drive behind the hard running of Connor Willis and Brandon Hudson. From the Timberline 20-yard line, Vanier QB Ian Curry hit wide receiver Jose Huacuja with a long pass to the two-yard line. Timberline’s defence stiffened and it took another pass from Ian Curry to tight end Dylan Wyatt to open the scoring. Willis kicked a one-point convert.
Vanier kicked off to Timberline and they got to work on their well-regarded passing game. It took about three minutes for the Wolves to score their first TD complete with a two-point conversion. Vanier received the kickoff and began another drive only to have it fizzle because of a fumble that Timberline recovered.
Behind another impressive set of passing plays, Timberline scored another TD but missed the convert, making it 14-7 for the hosts at the end of the first quarter. At the start of the second quarter Willis blew through a couple of tacklers and ran 20 yards for Vanier’s second TD, then added the convert.
Timberline got the ball back and made some spectacular passes to get their third TD but missed the convert.
After getting the ball back Vanier drove down the field. Hudson caught a slant-out pass and ran over a couple of defenders for a 50-yard touchdown. Just as the quarter came to a close, Willis caught swing pass from Curry and scampered 50 yards down the sidelines, eluding tacklers, for a touchdown and conversion that put Vanier up 28-20 at the half.
Vanier kicked off the second half and Timberline switched to their run offence as Vanier was defending the pass well and blitzing the Timberline QB, making him rush his passes. Timberline’s run offence gave Vanier a lot of trouble, in part because of the two injuries to the Towhees’ linebacker corps.
Timberline ran in their fourth major and tacked on a two-point convert to make it 28-28.
The fourth quarter was one of attrition for Vanier because of the injuries they received from a very aggressive Timberline defence and their hard-running offence. The result was two more Timberline TDs, both converted with two points.
Late in the fourth quarter Willis drove the ball over from the one-yard line for Vanier’s fifth touchdown. The missed two-point convert made the final 44-34. “Another disappointing loss, but a game well played,” said Towhee coach Bob Campbell. “Credit should be given to Timberline as they found themselves down at the half and fought back by changing their offensive strategy and playing a very aggressive defence,” Campbell added.
Once again Willis won the stats race. He ran 12 times for an average of 10-yards a carry and two TDs. He also collected one pass for 50 yards and another TD, punted twice for 81 yards, kicked off five times for a total of 248 yards, and converted four TDs for one point each.
Hudson ran for 55 yards and caught one pass for 50 yards before coming out of the game with an injury. New to the stats list was wide receiver Travis Gunter who ran three reverses for a total of 40 yards. QB Curry completed 8-of-13 attempts for 168 yards, including three TDs.
Vanier’s next game is tonight against their crosstown rivals the Isfeld Ice. Game time is 7 p.m. under the lights at Bill Moore Memorial Park.
– Vanier Towhee Football