Dominating performance lifts Hyacks to B.C. final

Faith may be believing in something when common sense tells you otherwise.
But for the New Westminster Hyacks, faith and common sense appear to be on the same page.
The defending 2017 B.C. Subway Bowl champions will get the shot to retain their crown next week, after shutting down the Terry Fox Ravens 33-0 on Saturday at B.C. Place.
Framed as a rematch of two fierce rivals, the semifinal proved to be a clinical display of how to deconstruct an opponent.
New West took control in a first half where they shut down Fox’s powerful running game and picked up approximately 200 yards on offence of their own, despite taking a couple of undisciplined penalties.
“I felt awful at halftime, because we gave touchdowns away. Broxx (Comia) took a penalty that cost us a touchdown, we had another penalty that almost led to a touchdown at the half,” recalled New West head coach Farhan Lalji. “We were up 17-0 and felt great about our execution but really bad about our discipline to allow it be a close game at that moment.”
After having stopped Terry Fox inside the five-yard line on a series of plays to end the first half, the Hyacks tightened things up for the second half, and never really faced another serious threat.
The game began with each team having drives hit the wall, although the Hyacks did get inside the 20-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. New West scored on its second possession, moving the ball 95 yards with quarterback Kinsale Philip capping it on an 12-yard pass to tight end Matthew Drake a minute into the second quarter.
They started their third possession at the Ravens’ 45-yard line, but were held to a field goal from Zach Northgraves.
With No. 4-ranked Fox eager to get on the scoreboard, the Hyacks’ Matthew Lalim knocked them off course when he stripped the ball from Caden Cote at the Ravens’ 29-yard line. It resulted in Greyson Planinsic’s seven-yard TD run to make it 17-0 with three minutes left in the first half.
Terry Fox’s best scoring chance was a direct result of a roughing the kicker flag that returned possession to the PoCo team at midfield, and saw them drive it down to the one-yard line. But a succession of defensive stands killed the clock and the threat.
The rest of the game seemed a formality.
“We came in calm, cool and collected. It was maybe an emotional game for them but we had a game plan and executed it,” remarked Philip, who finished the day completing seven of 13 passes, including a pair to Lalim for majors, of 26- and 35 yards respectively.
The Ravens entered the semifinal showdown with a lot of momentum and emotion, but were unable to get any traction against New West’s defence.
“We were just not firing on all cylinders. It was everybody’s fault, no one was in sync so it wasn’t one particular side, one aspect,” noted the Ravens head coach Martin McDonnell. “This is the only egg of the whole season, but just a really bad time to do it.”
Planinsic completed his all-around terrific day with six tackles and two assists. Shaye Rathjen also collected six tackles, while Lalim and Philip, in his linebacker role, tabulated four tackles. The former also picked up a big quarterback sack.
Lalji said the heavy feelings from last year’s dramatic final may have been present, but he and defensive coach Clint Uttley made a point of diffusing any extra emotions prior to the matchup.
“For me, we won last year’s game but we weren’t playing last year’s game again,” he noted. “(Fox) may have felt like that, (and) we heard a lot of stuff indirectly from that way. I said to our players before the game ‘Hate is a fleeting emotion. If they want to play the game with hate, that’s on them. We’re going to play the game with love.’
“I know that sounds corny. It does, but I remember when I was away last semi and Clint talked
about that in the South Delta
game in the late stages. When things went bad we stayed together, we cared about each other and said we’re going to play this game with love.”
New West now will face Mount Douglas next Saturday in a final that looks like any special summer night at English Bay – with fireworks aplenty in the forecast.
The Victoria-based Rams advanced to the final with a thrilling last-play field goal to edge Vancouver College 31-28.
New West played Mount Doug three weeks ago and suffered a 34-28 setback. It was the Hyacks third loss of the season, but one they have put in the rearview mirror with four straight victories.
“It didn’t matter for us who won (between Mount Doug and Vancouver College),” noted Lalji. “Certainly VC did really well against us, but (Rams quarterback Gideone Kremler) and the way he’s moving around causes a lot of problems for us. …. We know that Mount Doug is built for this moment.
“For us, this is four straight years in the semis and second straight year in the final so we’re use to this.”
Tickets are available for the game at nwss.hyackfootball.com.

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