G.W. Graham’s Nick Beck skies over a Terry Fox Ravens defender, reeling in a pass during the AAA BC High School Football AAA title game. (Joanne Hewitt photo)

G.W. Graham’s Nick Beck skies over a Terry Fox Ravens defender, reeling in a pass during the AAA BC High School Football AAA title game. (Joanne Hewitt photo)

G.W. Graham Grizzlies knock off Terry Fox for AAA football title

The Grizzlies capped off their first season at AAA with the biggest of wins at BC Place Stadium

Huge underdogs heading into last Saturday’s provincial high school football championship game at B.C. Place Stadium, the G.W. Graham Grizzlies did what many thought unthinkable.

The Grizzlies knocked off the perennial powerhouse Terry Fox Ravens 36-33, winning the AAA title in their first year as a AAA program.

“We’ve never been to a senior championship. We’ve never won a senior championship, so this one was different,” said Grizzlies head coach Luke Acheson, who was on the sideline three times previous for junior varsity championship wins. “This is the pinnacle of high school sports, and when that final whistle blew there was a huge sense of relief and a huge sense of excitement.

“It’s hard to put words to it, but overwhelming is how I’d put it.”

Just 44 days earlier, the Ravens hammered G.W. Graham in a regular season game, beating them 34-0. It was the only loss of the season for the Grizzlies, who went 6-1 in league play and 4-0 in the playoffs.

Though the Grizzlies weren’t thinking about revenge, beating Terry Fox for the title was fitting.

“We appreciated the loss,” said GWG defensive coordinator Ian Parks. “It let us know we needed to work harder, and that nothing comes easy. Football teaches all sorts of life lessons. Losing and coming back even stronger gives these boys the confidence to overcome any obstacles they may face in life. They know they can do it now.”

Lucas Feaver was the game’s MVP, which was just as perfect. In that first meeting with the Ravens he served up three interceptions in his worst game of the year. In the championship match he was the consummate field general, firmly in control of a GWG offence that saved its best game for exactly the right time. Feaver completed 19 of 26 passes for 308 yards and three TDs.

G.W. Graham’s first score was a 36-yard Feaver to Josh Caverly touchdown toss and the last Grizzly major was a 37 yarder to Tyson George-Kelly.

Gage O’Neill threw a TD pass to Caverly on a halfback option and also found the endzone from three yards out on a rushing score. Sam Mannes also had a touchdown run.

Parks knew his unit would be challenged by the Terry Fox offence, and they were, even though star running back Gavin Whittingham was knocked out of the game on the opening drive with an injury.

Ravens quarterback Owen Sieben threw two touchdown passes, including a 65 yarder to Mathieu Gale. Alex Gagnon and Xyon Fleary had rushing touchdowns and Terry Fox kicker Sebastian Cuesta nailed field goals from 30 and 35 yards out.

“We were able to show multiple fronts and multiple coverages, sprinkling in different blitz packages,” Parks said. “I am so impressed with our group, because they were incredibly versatile and adapted to the way the game was being played. We have been in lots of tough games this year, but this was definitely the toughest.”

Vincent Branauer led the D with nine tackles and three quarterback sacks.

The Grizzlies now have four championships in the program’s nine year history, three at the junior varsity level and now one for the seniors.

“This morning we sit on the top of the provincial AAA football mountain,” said proud athletic director Jake Mouritzen. “This is the result of countless hours of passion, pride and spirit put forth by our coaching staff, support-staff parents, teachers and of course our student athletes.

“Our entire school is very proud of the varsity football team.”


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eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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