The Meadow Ridge Blue Knights went to Kamloops over the weekend with a mission to prove last year’s provincial atom title was no fluke.
The Blue Knights backed up their 2014 provincial championship with its second consecutive perfect season, taking home the B.C. Community Football Association title with a 22-8 win over the home Kamloops Broncos on Saturday, Nov. 21.
Kamloops also entered the final undefeated for the season, but proved no match against a much more determined Meadow Ridge team, said assistant coach Ricky Hebert.
“In the championship final, our kids were tested again, and like they have done all season, they answered the bell and found a way to come out on top and bring the title back to Maple Ridge,” said Herbert.
The Blue Knights got off to an electric start and set the tone for the finals against the Broncos when their defence shut down the Kamloops offence on the game’s opening drive.
Herbert said strong defence by Santiago Llarena, Steven Bowering, Blake Hebert, Jaxon Allan and Izzy Gema were keys to the team’s victory.
The Blue Knights quarterback Carter Smith got the ball rolling for the offence when called his own number in the team’s first offensive play, broke two tackles and scampered for a touchdown.
Ricky Herbert said was an extremely rewarding year for the kids and coaching staff.
“With so many new kids to football, we started off teaching basic fundamentals and progressed throughout the season to where we were working on positional technique, read keys, and game specific strategy,” he said. “They learned so much about the game of football, but even more importantly, the resolve, persistence and hard work it takes be a champion.”
Getting to the championship game saw the Blue Knights open the day with an 18-0 thumping of the Vanderhoof Vikings. Long touchdown runs by Smith and Blake Hebert along set the pace for the Blue Knights.
Smith was named tournament MVP and Chase Foston earned the sportsmanship award.
The Blue Knights’ road to Kamloops went through the Abbotsford White Falcons in the Valley Community Football League championship final, hosted at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley on Nov. 14.
The back and forth affair was tied 12-12 with just 1:50 left to play when Hebert found the end zone with a 14 yard run to make the score 20-12.
On the next Knights possession, QB Smith called his own number, running for a TD and putting the finishing touches on a 28-12 win. Bowering, Llarena and Hebert were stalwarts on the Blue Knights defensive line for the Blue Knights who did not allow a single point in the second half of play. Smith and Lachlan Bruce provided great secondary play.
Despite coming off a provincial title in 2014, the Blue Knights started the season with just four players having had previous tackle football experience
Ricky Hebert said its was testament to the hard work put forth by head coach Adam Smith, and the other assistants Steve Paulus and Clay Bowering. He said it was the first time in atom Knights’ history team has won back-to-back provincial titles.
Meadow Ridge Football Association president Jay Spencer said the future is looking very bright for the football program and the association is proud of all of the teams this season.
The MRFA will be looking to crown is second provincial champion when the pee wee Blue Knights go to at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley Dec. 6.
2015 provincial atom champions:
Alexander Weeks, Tason Tran, Alex Johnson, Noah Berg, Jaxon Allan, Leia Lammi, Blake Hebert, Colby Waters, Carter Smith, Chase Foston, Izzy Gema, Kevin Mahomet, Adam Paulus, Santiago Llarena, Zachary Golab, Steven Bowering, Wyatt Smith, Lachlan Bruce, Logan Hurtado.