The GW Graham Grizzlies answered the bell in a must-win football game Wednesday afternoon, beating the Samuel Robertson Titans 19-6 to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The junior varsity squad earned the victory in hostile territory, leaving Maple Ridge with their regular season record evened up at 2-2.
SRT’s plan for the game was a simple one.
Play punishing, physical football and punch the new kids in the face. Through 12 minutes, that strategy looked like a winner. Throwing offensive creativity out the window, the Titans lined up play after play after play, and ran the ball.
Tyrel Ogloff hauled the rock, plowing over or running around Grizzly defenders. He opened the scoring with 23.8 seconds left in the first quarter, rumbling into the endzone from 10 yards out to give SRT a 6-0 lead.
Ogloff almost doubled the Titan lead on the next series, only to see a 28 yard touchdown run wiped out by a holding penalty.
It was a turnover that turned the tide in this one.
On the fourth SRT series, quarterback Dan Ferro bobbled a snap and Grizzlies cornerback Austin Creasy pounced on the ball.
Set up at their own 44 yard line, the GWG offence finally found their groove.
Kirkland Kennedy started the drive hauling in a 15 yard pass from quarterback Jordan Breuker, and Breuker moved the chains again with back to back runs off left tackle.
Facing fourth and six deep in SRT territory, Breuker carried again, trucking down to the four yard line. He finished the drive himself, barreling into the endzone to knot the score at 6-6.
On the next SRT series, Ferro chucked up a game-changing interception to Grizzly safety Terrell Sparvier. Playing center field, Sparvier fielded Ferro’s punt-like pass and took off 60 yards in the other direction.
With 45.5 seconds left in the first half, GWG had the lead.
The Grizzlies spent most of the second half looking for the dagger, but the offence couldn’t find traction.
Breuker coughed up an interception to Titan corner Scott Murdoch, and a Tristan Davis fumble snuffed out another drive. Illegal procedure calls forced the Grizzlies into way to many third-and-loooooooogs.
But the defence held firm, and produced another game-changing turnover midway through the fourth quarter.
SRT had the ball at the GWG 30 after a long scamper by Emmerson Kot. But the Titans fumbled on the next play, with Grizzlies linebacker Cyrus Tommy taking the ball into SRT territory.
Breuker started the decisive drive with a 15 yard run to the Titan 29 yard line, but he came up limping, his right thigh injured on the tackle.
Backup quarterback Sparvier came into the game, and the offence kept rolling.
Running like some crazy little padded smurf, the little QB carried twice to get the ball inside the 10, then finished the drive with a perfect pass to Kennedy. Kennedy added the convert kick to put the game away.
His Grizzlies now sit third in the seven team AA Eastern conference., with two weeks off before their next game against the second place Abbotsford Collegiate Panthers. That one’s at home Oct. 24, as is the regular season finale, Oct. 31 versus the Pitt Meadows Marauders.
Both games will be played at GW Graham.
Get GWG football info online at grahamfootball.ca