Friday Night Lights was the theme Oct. 21 at Bill Moore Memorial Park when the G.P. Vanier Towhees took on cross-town rivals Mark R. Isfeld Ice in a varsity football tilt. The evening was cool and misty, but a decent crowd showed up to see which team would keep the bragging rights in the Comox Valley.
Isfeld’s roster was made up of both junior and senior varsity players as neither the junior or senior program had enough players to field one team. The two Isfeld teams were combined into one so everyone who wanted to would be able to play this fall.
Vanier kicked off and stopped the Ice offence cold. When the ball was back in Vanier hands, Connor Willis ran 65 yards for a touchdown. The conversion was missed, leaving Vanier up 6-0.
Vanier kicked off again and pinned Isfeld deep in their end of the field. The Ice punted and Willis ran for another touchdown only to have it called back on a penalty. Vanier’s offence was trying to get their passing game going in the first half but it proved to be ineffective, and Isfeld intercepted a Vanier pass. Isfeld’s offence was stopped again and on their subsequent punt Vanier fumbled and Isfeld recovered.
Isfeld finally pushed into Vanier’s territory and put on an impressive passing game that the Towhees had trouble containing. Isfeld completed its drive with a touchdown but failed on the conversion, making it a 6-6 game.
Vanier received the kickoff and eventually Willis scored a second touchdown, but coach Bob Campbell noted it was a choppy drive broken up by numerous Vanier penalties and a passing game that just wasn’t clicking.
At halftime Vanier led 13-6.
Vanier decided to run more in the second half, and while Isfeld’s defence put in a truly valiant effort, the difference in one team composed of all seniors and the other a mix of seniors and juniors quickly became evident.
Willis scored his third rushing TD on another long run and converted a single point. Nolan Laderoute scored Vanier’s fourth major by running off left tackle and rambling 40 yards. Ben Marsh added Vanier’s fifth TD, then Willis galloped 80 yards to set up the final TD as Mexican import Jose Huacuja ran in a reverse. Final score was 41-6.
Offensive stats for Vanier were Willis rushing 11 times for 291 yards. He converted five of six TDs and kicked off seven times with an average of 57 yards per kick and three touch backs. A touch back is a kickoff that goes so far it’s caught in the end zone.
Laderoute carried 10 times for 115 yards. Huacuja ran three times for 35 yards and Marsh ran for 26 yards and Travis Gunther ran for 21 yards. Total yards rushing were 488 yards.
Defensively, Brandon Hudson had six tackles and a QB sack. Stephen Bradshaw had five tackles, Marsh and Dylan Wyatt three each. Eight other defensive players had individual tackles.
The Towhees are back under the lights at Bill Moore park tonight (Friday, Oct. 28) when they host E.J. Milne from Victoria. Kickoff is 6 p.m. “If Vanier senior varsity football has any hope of a playoff future, they need to win this game,” Campbell noted.
– G.P. Vanier Towhees