On Friday, Sept. 16, the GP Vanier Towhees senior varsity football team travelled to Windsor High School in North Vancouver for their second exhibition game of the year, dropping a 33-21 decision to the Dukes.
There are three tiers of high school football in the southern half of BC. The top tier is “AAA”; the second tier is “AA”; and the third tier is “AA Tier 2”. Vanier is a AA Tier 2 team, and the Dukes are a AA team (currently rated #5 in the Province), so Vanier was to play a superior team, at least on paper.
Windsor’s football facilities were impressive. In addition to a brand new field with an artificial turf, they also have a practice “field” with an inflatable structure/roof so they can practice in any weather.
It was a perfect afternoon for a football game and a large number of Windsor students, staff, and parents came out to cheer their team on.
Windsor elected to kick off and surprised Vanier by recovering a short kick. On their very first offensive series, Windsor scored a touch down but failed to convert. Windsor kicked off again and to the dismay of coach Levins, recovered another short kick.
Just like their first game of the season, Vanier’s offensive and defensive linemen were slow to get involved in the game. They seemed to be in awe of the school and its facilities and made a number of uncharacteristic errors that ended up with the offence repeatedly giving the ball back to Windsor without much of a fight.
It took Vanier’s linemen the better part of the first quarter to get in gear. It looked like Windsor had taken the time to scout Vanier’s offence because knew that the ball was usually given to running back Connor Willis, so they keyed on his movement and basically shut down Vanier’s offence.
Just before the half-time whistle Windsor scored again but failed to convert. Going into half time it didn’t look good with the score 12-0.
At half time coaches Wyatt and Levins stressed the need to elevate the level of blocking and tackling. Coach Wyatt decided to mix the offence a bit by making Willis do more blocking for running back Brandon Hudson. Coach Levins stressed the need to tackle, and coach Campbell decided that in an effort to slow down Windsor’s very effective pass offence, Vanier’s defense needed to blitz.
The half-time changes resulted in Vanier scoring a touchdown and converting it on its first offensive series in the second half. Then it turned into a ping-pong game. Windsor scored a TD. Then Vanier scored another TD. Then Windsor scored a TD, and finally Vanier scored its third TD. Both teams scored three times and converted them all in the second half. Final score was 33-21.
Coach Wyatt thought the game was much closer than the score might indicate because, “We gave them the ball at least eight times because of our errors. But we played them into a tie in the second half. But that’s why you want to play teams who are supposed to be better than you. It makes you better and stronger because it helps to lift your game to their level.”
Vanier’s star of the game was Hudson with two TDs and 115 yards on nine carries. On defence, he made seven tackles and sacked the QB twice.
Wills ran for one TD and had 47 yards on seven carries. Ben Marsh, Vanier’s quarterback, completed 2-of-4 passes for 32 yards to tight end Dylan Wyatt.
Defensively, Vanier managed eight quarterback sacks. Derrick Senft had three QB tackles and one sack. Tyson Remmen had one QB sack and three tackles. Nolan Laderoute had one QB sack and seven tackles. Travis Funk had three tackles and newcomer Austin Barnes had a fumble recovery. Nine other defensive players had one or two tackles. Coach Campbell was impressed.
GP Vanier’s Varsity football’s next game is an exhibition against NDSS high school in Nanaimo on Sept. 23 at 1:45 p.m.