Po­lars, Road­run­ners host­ing foot­ball play­offs

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports - Ted CLARKE Cit­i­zen staff tclarke@pgc­i­t­i­zen.ca

Prince Ge­orge Po­lars quar­ter­back Braden Reed can toss a foot­ball half the dis­tance of the field with ac­cu­racy if that’s what his coach tells him to do.

The Po­lars have a crew of sticky-handed re­ceivers to haul in those passes and they lined up on the turf at Ma­sich Place Sta­dium next to Reed while he took the snaps last Fri­day night in the dou­ble-A var­sity P.G. Bowl fi­nal.

It turned out Reed didn’t need to use his pass­ing arm to shred the Kelly Road Road­run­ners’ de­fence. His legs did the job just fine.

The Grade 12 se­nior ran the ball 28 times for 266 yards and five touch­downs in a 49-8 rout of the Road­run­ners which gave PGSS its se­cond-straight B.C. Sec­ondary Schools Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion North­ern Con­fer­ence ti­tle.

That guar­an­teed the Po­lars will be the North’s top seed when they take on the Sa­muel Roberts Tech­ni­cal Ti­tans of Maple Ridge, the Eastern Con­fer­ence No. 4 seed, Satur­day (5 p.m.) in the open­ing round of pro­vin­cial play­offs at Ma­sich.

“It was a good game, we re­ally played a lot bet­ter than we did (in last week’s B.C. Sec­ondary School Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion North­ern Con­fer­ence semi­fi­nals) when we played Van­der­hoof, we re­ally per­formed like we should have,” said Reed, who made just three pass at­tempts.

A 50-yard punt from Dar­ren Eikum pinned the Po­lars on their own four-yard line for their first pos­ses­sion and Reed marched them 96 yards into the end zone.

“I re­ally stepped up for the game and feel I per­formed my best and I tried my hard­est,” said Reed. “It was my last-ever P.G. Bowl and I def­i­nitely wanted to leave my mark.”

Reed said it helped hav­ing played Kelly Road late in the sea­son (a 39-14 win on Oct. 18) which made it eas­ier for the Po­lars to know what to ex­pect.

The Po­lars have had to ad­just to not hav­ing full­back Gage Rid­land in the of­fen­sive scheme. The Grade 12 se­nior was the third-lead­ing rusher for PGSS, av­er­ag­ing 56 yards per game, and was one of their top lineback­ers un­til he broke his col­lar­bone in the Kelly Road game.

“He re­ally opened up the run game on the out­side – the way he car­ried the ball up the gut re­ally made de­fences fo­cus on him and they had to stack up a lot of play­ers in the gaps and that cleared the way for me and Gavin (Mur­ray) on the out­side,” said Reed.

“I’m glad we’re still gelling with­out him and our play­ers are will­ing to step up to the plate to re­place him.”

Mur­ray and Gage Bernard have taken on Rid­land’s du­ties at full­back and took ad­van­tage of the holes guard Tris­tan Ser­watkewich and the rest of the of­fen­sive line opened for them. Mur­ray gained 117 yards on 22 car­ries and had one touch­down.

The Road­run­ners passed fre­quently with Brendan Watts at quar­ter­back and he was un­der pres­sure con­stantly from the rush led by Max Vo­har and Sasha Ga­jic.

“They had a cou­ple big plays on us which re­sulted in their touch­down and two-point con­ver­sion but other than that we han­dled them well,” said Po­lars head coach Pat Bon­nett. “Their quar­ter­back played well and a cou­ple of their re­ceivers had a good game and their No. 10 (Lo­gan De­vauld) was good at run­ning back the kick­offs. (Clay Thiessen) re­ally messed up our back­field for a while un­til we dou­ble-teamed him.”

The Po­lars led 28-0 at half­time. The Road­run­ners fi­nally broke through late in the third quar­ter when Watts and re­ceiver Bray­den Richards hooked up for a 30-yard pass­ing play. Watts ran in the two-point con­vert.

“That was our worst game of the sea­son by far, we just came out flat, they got up on us early and we couldn’t dig out of the hole,” said Kelly Road head coach Ryan Bel­lamy. “Our tack­ling was too high to play against a guy like (Reed) and he made our de­fence look bad early and of­ten and all night.”

Ja­son Kragt, a Grade 10 spe­cial teams player, was handed one of the game balls in the Po­lars’ locker room after the game.

“He’s the kind of kid, it didn’t mat­ter where we asked him to play, he’s just so will­ing and plays so well,” said Bon­nett. “He’s at ev­ery prac­tice and he lives in Hixon.”

Grade 11 run­ning back Alexan­der MacPheat was moved over from his usual po­si­tion at wide re­ceiver due to in­juries and in the fourth quar­ter scored his first touch­down of the sea­son. De­fen­sive tackle Thiessen was the player of the game for Kelly Road.

The win­ner of Satur­day’s game ad­vances to a play­off against the se­cond seed from the Western Con­fer­ence. It will be the first-ever BCSSFA play­off game in Prince Ge­orge and Reed can’t wait to re­new ac­quain­tances with Ti­tans de­fen­sive end Curtis Farn­worth, who played with Reed on Team B.C. at the Canada Cup tour­na­ment in July in Cal­gary.

“It will be kind of funny see­ing him in P.G. be­cause when­ever I go down south for pro­vin­cial teams it’s al­ways like, ‘What? You’re from Prince Ge­orge, what’s that like?’ Now they’ll be com­ing up to ex­pe­ri­ence it.

“Hav­ing home field ad­van­tage re­ally helps, be­cause pretty much ev­ery year ex­cept this year we’ve had to go down south for provs to play in Kam­loops or Ver­non. It’s go­ing to be a game-changer be­ing the home team for once.”

Satur­day at 11 a.m., the Road­run­ners face the G.W. Gra­ham Griz­zlies, 34-7 win­ners over Sa­muel Roberts Fri­day night in Chilli­wack. The Griz­zlies are seeded third in the East.

The ju­nior var­sity North Di­vi­sion-cham­pion Col­lege Heights Cougars take on the South Kam­loops Ti­tans in a first-round play­off Satur­day at 2:30 p.m. at Ma­sich.

CIT­I­ZEN PHOTO BY JAMES DOYLE

Bray­den Michell of the PGSS Po­lars runs through the tackle of a Kelly Road Road­run­ners de­fender dur­ing the P.G. Bowl high school foot­ball cham­pi­onship game at Ma­sich Place Sta­dium.

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