The Hyacks will need to keep up the momentum if they want to succeed this season, and that’s exactly what head coach Farhan Lalji is hoping the boys will do.
The varsity high school squad defeated visiting Centennial 47-14 last Friday, securing their first win of the preseason.
While AAA conference play doesn’t start until the end of the month (and not until Oct. 9 for the Hyacks), the win was nonetheless important for the team, Lalji said.
“I think we executed a higher level than we did the previous week – just our overall execution on both sides of the ball. Guys were blocking the right person, we were sustaining blocks longer, we were getting off blocks better on the defensive side, and just kind of being in the right position,”
Key players during the game included running back Jordan Guzman and quarterback Jamie Shiho, who together rushed for 217 yards and scored five touchdowns. Shiho also threw 122 yards, securing the Hyacks’ lead.
“They both played really well. Jamie has done a good job of running the offence, and he’s not afraid to take off and be an athlete …; we also have some designed runs for him so we want to take advantage of his quickness. He’s playing with a lot more poise and command than he had a year ago,” Lalji said. “He’s been a real strength for us for the first two games.”
This Friday, the Hyacks face off against Port Coquitlam’s Terry Fox, a team that decimated the eastern conference last season and went on to place third in AAA varsity football play in B.C. While the Hyacks don’t actually compete against the Ravens during the regular season, Friday’s game is a good test to see if the team can hold up against a strong program, Lalji said.
“They’ll be a very good challenge at this point. They’ll kind of be similar to what Blaine was, so we hope to do better there than we did against Blaine,” he added.
One thing Lalji will be looking to put a stop to are unnecessary penalties. During the game against Centennial, his team got a little disorderedly, something they shouldn’t be doing, no matter what the score is, he said.
“We’ve got to eliminate the penalties. … Once I think they kind of figured it might be a little easy, they got real sloppy and that has to change quick because you can’t get away with that against good teams,” Lalji said.
Reducing penalties and consistency in the running game are key if the Hyacks want to succeed this season, especially if they end up facing Terry Fox in the quarter finals again.
Overall, Lalji would like to see his team show consistency through the length of the season.
“It’s a work in progress. We’ve been guilty, in the past, of playing some of our best football at the start of the season,” Lalji said.
On Friday, the Hyacks are in Port Coquitlam against the Terry Fox Ravens.
The following Friday it’s the Hyacks’ homecoming game at Mercer Stadium against G.W. Graham. Game starts at 7:30 p.m.