After weeks of drills, tackling bags and blocking sleds, the bantam Blue Giants finally got to play some real football, taking on the North Surrey Panthers at the annual Chillibowl preseason tournament at Townsend Park.
Head coach Jeff Samulak was worried about his inexperienced squad’s ability to handle game speed and intensity.
He needn’t have been concerned as the Giants rolled to a 40-8 victory.Chilliwack’s offensive line was dominant. Already leading 2-0 on a safety, the big boys up front opened a gaping hole for Filip Horak, who scampered into the endzone for the game’s first touchdown.
Connor Hermann and Ryan Connolly also found the endzone with rushing majors.
Horak added his second touchdown of the game when he hauled in a Josh Pretty pass early in the second half. The Giants were five for five on conversions, with Josh Fitzsimmons kicking three and Colton Derouin and Treyvon Walsh catching passes.
Defensively, Kenny Toews returned an interception for a touchdown.
Will Zomar, Jaxon Harvey, Byron Dargatz and Logan McCracken were solid on the defensive line, thwarting the Panthers ground game.
The bantams travel to Langley to play in the Golden Helmet tournament this weekend.
— The junior bantam Blue Giants went 2-2 at the Chillibowl, finishing third in their division.
Quarterback Nick Both led his crew to a 20-0 win in the opener, going six-of-seven passing for 174 yards and two majors against the Chilliwack Red Giants. Gibson Hardie and Jake Hunter reeled in TD passes, with Both rushing for the third major.
Defensively, the Blue Giants were led by their ‘big man’ on the defensive line. Chris Derksen had three quarterback sacks.
The Blue Giants dropped their next two to Mission (Kelowna, 13-0) and North Surrey (13-7), but finished the tournament on a high note with a 7-0 win over Victoria.
Both picked up rushing TDs against North Surrey and Victoria, running behind the blocks of AJ Sagrott and Cyrus Tommy.
Wyatt Uzick was a defensive standout for Chilliwack.
— Chilliwack’s peewee Blue squad placed third with two wins, a loss and a tie.
Jayden Mourato and Evan McCraken had touchdowns, and Bradley Langlois ran for an extra point.
The defense was stout, led by the sure tackling of Tyler Kermode, Austin Kardux and Jake Troyan.
The biggest tackle of the day belonged to Brody Porter who made a timely touchdown saving stop with seconds to go against North Surrey.
— The junior bantam Red Giants dropped their first Chillibowl game to the Chilliwack Blue Giants, but progressed from there, focussing on player and position changes as well as several different offensive and defensive schemes.
Teams captains Jordon Bruker, Baker Douglas, Ben Pretty, Emerson Harvey, Broden Laynes and Elijah Schellenberg led their team well. Schellenberg played center last year, but hard work in the offseason has him running the ball this season. He ripped off some impressive runs, and second year man Billy Hanson impressed as well.
Douglas and Laynes made their debuts at quarterback, and were excellent for their series. Bruker was a two-way superstar, with his passing, running and huge hits throughout the course of the weekend.
— Football is often described as a game of inches, as Chilliwack’s atom Red Giants discovered last weekend.
The local crew came within a fingertip of winning the atom division at the Chillibowl.
The Red Giants opened the tournament with a 14-0 win over Chilliwack’s atom Blue Giants.
A touchdown run by Kurtis Flynn was all the Red Giants needed in their second game, a 6-0 win over Chilliwack’s White Giants. Kai Manning and Davies Mitchell led the defence to a second straight shutout, terrorizing the White Giants with unrelenting blitzes.
The Red Giants faced the North Surrey Lions in game three.
In a game that saw five lead changes, everything came down to the last three minutes.
Leading 13-12, Chilliwack had North Surrey facing a third-and-21 from their own 30 yard line.
The Lions ran a sweep to the wide side. Their running back narrowly escaped the fingertips of two Chilliwack defenders before galloping 80 yards down the sideline for the decisive score.
In the final game of the tournament, the Red Giants faced the Richmond Raiders, who could best be described as nine year olds in 11-year-old bodies.
Not intimidated in the least, Chilliwack countered with the bruising running of Mason Murphy and newcomer Jackson Saunders.
After rookie cornerback Travis Richly recovered a fumble, Flynn ran for a touchdown and a two score lead.
Flynn added another long touchdown run to make the final 20-0.
— The atom Blue Giants went 1-2-1 at the Chillibowl, placing third in their division.
Running backs Jaycob Brown, Colton Holt and Josh Janssen had big runs behind the blocking of Josh Baird, Taylor Troyan, Dhillon Myers, Robbie Stirling-Zizick and Jayden Okoth.
On defense, tackles Raiden Mastin and Theo Smith created havoc up front while corners Samuel Mannes and Graedon Jarvis played well on the outside.
Get more minor football information online at www.chilliwackgiants.com and check the Progress every week during football season for updates on local teams.