New West­min­ster Hy­acks happy with bye

24 Hours Vancouver - - SPORTS - STEVE EWEN

Farhan Lalji buys into the bye week.

His New West­min­ster Hy­acks turned in what the vet­eran high school foot­ball coach called their best per­for­mance since the pre-sea­son in a 63-16 win over a very ca­pa­ble South Delta Sun Devils side on Fri­day. New West­min­ster’s 7-0-0 reg­u­lar sea­son record and first-place stand­ing in the Western Con­fer­ence means they get to skip the first round of the Sub­way Bowl Triple A play­offs this week and go di­rectly to next week’s quar­ter-fi­nals.

As much as Lalji would ap­pre­ci­ate keep­ing the mo­men­tum go­ing, he’d rather have the time off.

“Over­all, we’re prob­a­bly health­ier than most teams, but the wear and tear of the sea­son has started to im­pact us the last cou­ple of weeks,” said Lalji, whose club has had the No. 1 spot in Howard Tsumura’s pro­vin­cial rank­ings at var­sitylet­ for a month, jump­ing up from No 2. “Some guys have had to be man­aged, by play­ing just one way in­stead of both of­fence and de­fence or by be­ing taken off of spe­cial teams.

“Ev­ery­body wants the bye — us in­cluded. You look at the two teams (Terry Fox Ravens and Notre Dame Jug­glers) who were in the fi­nal last year. They both took ad­van­tage of hav­ing that first week bye. Ev­ery­body wants that ad­van­tage. We’re no dif­fer­ent.”

The St. Thomas More Knights, who won the East­ern Con­fer­ence with a 7-0-0 mark and are the No. 2 team in the rank­ings, also have a bye. They were miss­ing stand­out run­ning back/de­fen­sive end Tyler Eck­ert and nose tackle Sam Steele to in­jury in their reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nale Satur­day, a 21-7 win over the Mis­sion Road­run­ners, so a week off could cer­tainly ben­e­fit the Burn­aby squad’s chances of a lengthy post-sea­son run.

Farhan Lalji

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