Hy­acks look to re­dis­cover magic for­mula

The Province - - SPORTS - — Steve Ewen

The reign­ing triple-A foot­ball pro­vin­cial cham­pion New West­min­ster Hy­acks aren’t go­ing into the Sub­way Bowl play­offs with mo­men­tum on their side.

The Hy­acks dropped three of their fi­nal four reg­u­lar-sea­son games to fin­ish 4-3. They open up the wild card round Fri­day, host­ing the Ab­bots­ford Pan­thers (3-4) at Mercer Sta­dium (7:30 p.m.).

New West found ways to win tight games last year, in­clud­ing the Sub­way Bowl fi­nale, where they scored on the fi­nal play to se­cure a 15-14 win over the Terry Fox Ravens at B.C. Place Sta­dium. This sea­son, they have been miss­ing that knack, in­clud­ing drop­ping a 34-28 de­ci­sion to the Mt. Dou­glas Rams last week and a 38-35 game to the Notre Dame Jug­glers Oct. 5.

“Those are both very good teams and we were cer­tainly in po­si­tion to win those games,” said Hy­acks coach Farhan Lalji. “We need to get back to that mind­set, get back to think­ing that we’re go­ing to make those plays when it mat­ters.”

Quar­ter­back/line­backer Kin­sale Philip re­turned to the New West­min­ster lineup last week and is ex­pected to play against Ab­bots­ford. He threw the last-sec­ond touch­down pass last De­cem­ber that helped the Hy­acks beat Terry Fox, and he’s tal­ented enough on both sides of the ball that Lalji be­lieves the Grade 12 would have been in the mix for pro­vin­cial player of the year if he didn’t miss three games with a bro­ken foot.

Lalji was quick to point out that the Ravens, Lord Tweedsmuir Pan­thers and St. Thomas More Knights were all miss­ing key com­peti­tors for the en­tire sea­son, or part of it, due to in­juries or de­par­tures to U.S. prep schools and “they were able to fig­ure it out.”

“Kin­sale in the lineup does make us a bet­ter team,” Lalji said.

Ab­bots­ford fea­tures triple-A’s lead­ing rusher in Jalem Catlin, who ran for 1,375 yards and scored 14 touch­downs.

The win­ner of the game faces Lord Tweedsmuir (7-0) in next week’s quar­ter-fi­nals. They’re the top team in the pro­vin­cial rank­ings, which can be found at Howard Tsumura’s var­si­tyslet­ters.ca.

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