Under-16 Western Challenge: British Columbia ends Alberta’s championship reign
Kamloops, British Columbia (July 16, 2019) – After two straight years of domination, Alberta’s reign as Under-16 Western Challenge is over.
On Monday evening in Kamloops, British Columbia, British Columbia handed the province that has won the last two championships, a 26-21 defeat.
With the win, British Columbia will battle Saskatchewan for the gold medal on Thursday July 19, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. PST. Meanwhile, Alberta will meet Manitoba for the bronze medal game on Thursday July 19, 2019 at 3:00 p.m. PST. Both games will be played at Hillside Stadium.
Alberta opened the scoring in the first quarter. Dale Clendennin rushed all the way down to the 1 yard line. About three and a half minutes into the frame, quarterback Saint McKenzie pushed into the end zone for the major.
With 4:51 remaining on a 3 and 1 situation, British Columbia Jovyn Sangha opted to air out the ball to Gavin Whittingham for a touchdown to tie the game up.
In the second quarter, McKenzie threw an interception into the hands of British Columbia linebacker Pedro Cabanas deep in Alberta territory. Whittingham rushed into the end zone for a score but it was recalled because of a holding penalty British Columbia drew on the play.
British Columbia had to settle for a Cameron Neal field goal with 8:27 remaining in the half to give the team the lead over Alberta.
Both teams continued to make great defensive plays making huge stops on opposing offences.
On a fake attempt Ziad Sebry took the ball down the field for a good rush and ideal field positioning for British Columbia. However, with 1:36 remaining before the half, Sangha was sacked by Alberta defensive lineman Waylon Becker.
Feeling the pressure, Sangha throws the pass into the hands of Alberta defensive back Beck Robinson.
At halftime, British Columbia held a 10-7 advantage over Alberta.
On the first play of the third quarter, British Columbia’s special teams forced Alberta to turn over the ball.
About three and a half minutes into the quarter, British Columbia would extend their lead when Sangha hands off the ball to Reggie Elie who powers it into the end zone for a touchdown.
Both defences continued to make huge plays. Sangha threw another interception that fell into the hands of defensive lineman Jack Klassen with 5:37 left in the quarter. About 1:27 later, Jayden Strzok stepped up to lead British Columbia’s defence in stuffing Alberta’s offence.
With 1:22 left in the quarter, British Columbia recovered an Alberta fumble and the subsequent drive ended with Reid adding a field goal to increase the host team’s lead.
Alberta would get closer to British Columbia’s lead with 6:19 remaining in the game when pivot Cade Labreque connected with receiver Carter Kettyle for a 57 yard pass and run.
However, British Columbia responded back when Sangha threw the ball to Whittingham who went downtown into the end zone to extend their lead.
With just over two minutes left in the game, Alberta gets within a score of British Columbia as Saint McKenzie sneaks into the end zone for a 1 yard major but it was as close as Alberta would get in this game.
Pulling out the victory was satisfying for British Columbia.
“I am super proud of our boys who battled hard and came back from adversity,” commented British Columbia head coach Trent Schmuland. “We had some banged up guys but we fought through to the end.”
While Alberta came close, they were not able to come away with the win on Monday.
“That was a tough one,” said Alberta head coach Mike Wilson. “It was a great game.”
Full credit to B.C.; they came out played hard and made more plays than we did and at the end of the day, that is what decided the game.”
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