The night belonged to a quarterback named Gideone.
A rare four-year senior varsity player, Mount Douglas’ Gideone Kremler proved to be a one-man wrecking crew to the plans of the New Westminster Hyacks in their defence of the B.C. Subway Bowl AAA football crown.
Kremler, who piloted his Island team to a B.C. title three years ago as a Grade 9, bookended a tremendous senior career by leading Mount Doug to a 48-24 victory over New West on Saturday in the B.C. Subway Bowl final at B.C. Place.
Although shy of their performance a week ago when they shut down the Terry Fox Ravens, even in defeat the Royal City crew displayed a resilience and stubbornness against an imposing Rams offence.
Understandably, the tale of the tape, at least on the scoreboard, was a bit humbling.
“They were better. They were more physical than we were, they executed their game plan better. They out-coached us,” remarked New West head coach Farhan Lalji. “It was all of it. There’s nothing we can say there, there was no fortune, there was no nothing. They played better.”
Although they hung with their Western Conference rivals into the second quarter, the Hyacks ended up having few answers for Kremler, who thread some Elias Petterson-like passes during a 21-point run over 14 minutes in the first half.
The defending B.C. AAA football champions held the lead for exactly 2:42 seconds, thanks to a fumble on Kremler’s first play from scrimmage that New West QB Kinsale Philip converted on a five-yard run just two minutes into the contest. But the Rams would counter quickly on an eight-play drive barely three minutes later, taking a 7-6 lead with the successful convert.
A series of turnovers, including a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, saw the two teams chasing momentum until Kremler completed a 74-yard march, scoring on a one-yard run to go ahead 14-6.
In a first half where the ball seemed to be a hot potato, the Rams extended their lead on Sebastian Hansen’s eight-yard TD catch midway through the second quarter, only to see the Hyacks immediately counter on Taran Birdi’s 75-yard kick-off return to make it 21-12.
In the second half, the QB’s twin brother, Zairech Kremler, rambled in from nine yards to make it a 16-point gap.
While Philip would find Matthew Lalim on a 20-yard pass with 7:12 left in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 10, the guy named Gideone answered back with a 19-yard dash, essentially turning the clock against New West.
“We didn’t get out to the start we wanted, believe me, but we knew that this was going to be a real big challenge for us,” said Rams coach Mark Townsend. “We knew New West was playing exceptional football and the way they played their last game against Terry Fox. That made us just focus that much more.”
Mount Doug’s quarterback said establishing control early was vital, and despite the turnover which gave New West the first score, the Island squad felt very confident in its game plan.
“We knew that was on us, we gave them six on that. We knew actually we hadn’t done anything wrong there, we were still rolling, we were working good on offence, our defence was playing fantastic. We knew we had the ability to win the game, we just had to believe in ourselves,” said Kremler.
He completed 11 of 16 passes for 197 yards and one major, while rushing for 106 yards and three TDs. The tandem of Sam Mosky and Zairech Kremler combined for nearly 250 yards and three touchdowns.
New West’s vaunted running game was effectively muffled, with Broxx Comia held to just 17 yards on nine carries, while Michael Kingsley racked up 100 yards, including a 45-yard kick return.
Lalim registered a pair of second quarter QB sacks, which looked to give the Hyacks a respite heading into the second half. But in his play on both sides of the ball, including a couple of the hardest hits delivered in his defensive back role, Kremler put destiny in his pocket.
“Intensity. We had to show them we were there to play every snap, every whistle, every single quarter. We were there to make plays, we were there to hit them hard, to set the tone and we didn’t stop,” said the Rams quarterback.
Unable to get much traction offensively or capitalize on a string of Mount Doug penalties, New West could have benefited from a few lucky bounces, but none came their way. What had been a six-point loss in their regular season encounter a month ago – when Kremler was just starting to find his rhythm after returning from injury – was now a one-sided pasting in the final game of the year.
“We had some chances, we had some chances early that would have given us some energy and maybe allowed us to play more physically, but we didn’t take advantage of those,” said Lalji. “My hat’s off to Mount Doug. We said it before, they play well in these big games. We were playing well and progressing and thought we were where we should be, but I guess we peaked early.”
For a long list of New West starters it was the final game. Those among the graduating class include AAA all-star lineman Evan Nolli, Western Conference all stars Daniel Dordevic (lineman) and Philip (linebacker), running backs Comia and Kingsley, receiver Lalim, linebacker Shaye Rathjen and tackle Saahil Bhambra. Also moving on are Arjun Bal, Stephen Bowers, Carson Bujnowicz, Darrio Cade, Isaiah Daniels, Farouq Ibrahim, Titgol Jok, Alec Lakusta, Zachery Northgraves, Nathaniel Saenz and Steven Sharma.