Grizzlies to face Abbotsford in title defence

The GW Graham junior varsity Grizzlies try to make it back to back provincial titles when they play in the Subway Bowl Dec. 6.

GW Graham’s junior varsity Grizzlies will face a Fraser Valley rival as they gun for a second straight provincial title.

The Grizzlies booked their ticket to the 2014 Subway Bowl Wednesday, swatting the Holy Cross Crusaders 33-12.

In the other bracket, the Abbotsford Panthers crushed Parksville’s Ballenas Whalers 45-6, setting up the all-Fraser Valley final, Dec. 6 at BC Place Stadium.

“It’s going to be fun,” said GW Graham head coach Adam Smith. “Before the playoffs started we told them they were four games away. Three are done and the boys are prepared for this last one.”

Smith’s Grizzlies demolished Nanaimo 63-14 in their playoff opener, dismantled the John Barsby Bulldogs 49-28 last week and cruised past the Crusaders.

GW Graham’s dominance of Holy Cross was never in question, right from the opening kickoff. The Grizzlies took the ball and ran it down the throats of the Crusaders, with bruising tailback Von Richardson doing the damage.

GW Graham led 7-0.

The Grizzly defence, tutored by coordinator Sukh Parmar, had a huge game.

On a first quarter series, they held Holy Cross to a four-and-out, forcing a punt that Ethan Mastin returned 56 yards for the second GWG major.

The Grizzlies got the ball back just before halftime.

Just like last week, when he got aggressive in the win over Barsby, Smith refused to run out the clock.

With 44 seconds left, quarterback Wyatt Uzick dropped back and found Mastin on a 40 yard pass. With zeroes on the clock, Gabe Olivares broke a 30 yard touchdown run, giving his team a 21-0 halftime lead.

Emilio Pineda had a touchdown run in the third quarter.

Breslin had the final GWG major, catching a 45 yard pass from Uzick on a play-action play.

The score was 33-0 before the Grizzlies kicked it into cruise control.

“We emptied our bench and they scored some points late, but I can’t say enough about the defence,” Smith said. “Sukh designed a really good game play to shut the Crusaders down.”

Holy Cross terrorized opponents with a lighting and thunder offence that featured a bruising fullback and a six-foot-three fast-as-the-wind quarterback.

“They had their quarterback running a lot, but we banged him up pretty good and got him out of the game,” Smith said. “They (Holy Cross) had a couple tells with the way they lined up their receivers, so we knew when he was going to run. Any time we saw it coming we had our outside linebackers pinching him inside for our linebackers and line to pursue. We had four or five guys on the ball every time.”

Smith figures the D forced Holy Cross into 10-15 negative plays, keeping the field tilted in GWG’s favour. When Holy Cross tried to pass, Olivares was there, coming up with three interceptions.

Abbotsford will provide a different challenge in the title game, with a lightning fast tailback, talented receivers and a pass-happy quarterback.

They beat GWG 28-22 in a regular season game.

“Their QB has an amazing release and huge arm, and we can’t just sell out on stopping the pass because their running back has game-breaking speed,” Smith noted. “But we feel we’re ready for them and the situation. We won’t be intimidated staring at the BC Place lights and change-room. We expected to be here and we’re going to act like we belong.”

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