As he lined up for a potential game-winning field goal with 2.4 seconds left in the fourth quarter on Saturday afternoon, Wayde Carpenter’s heart was pumping a mile a minute and his hands were shaking.
But his right foot wasn’t, and he booted the ball through the uprights from 32 yards out as time expired to lift the Mission Roadrunners to a thrilling 24-21 come-from-behind win over the Rick Hansen Hurricanes in AA high school football action.
“I was really nervous, I didn’t know what to do,” a giddy Carpenter admitted afterward. “My hands were shaking. But I kicked it, and it went right though. Happiest moment of my life right now.
“Right when I saw it go up, I knew it was in.”
Carpenter’s kick was the final nail in the Hurricanes’ coffin in a battle of elite AA teams – Mission came in ranked No. 3 while Hansen was No. 5, and both teams were undefeated in Eastern Conference play.
The Roadrunners opened the game with a scoring drive, capped by Evan Horton’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Dayton Robertson. But the rest of the half was all Hurricanes – they tied it up on a one-yard TD sneak by quarterback Alex Ho, and went ahead on Ho’s scoring pass to Zach Toews.
On Hansen’s first possession of the third quarter, Ho and Toews connected again on a 20-yard major, giving the ‘Canes some breathing room at 21-7.
But the Roadrunners rallied behind Horton, who found the end zone on a 17-yard run to turn the momentum. The extra point was missed, but on Mission’s next possession, Horton threw a 45-yard TD pass to Carpenter and then whipped a pass in to Jesse Walker for the two-point convert to tie it up. Walker’s catch was ridiculously difficult, as he was blanketed by three Hurricanes’ defenders.
After three straight Ho incompletions, Hansen was forced to punt, and Horton marched his team down to within field goal range, setting the stage for Carpenter.
“It was a real character test for the boys against a good team,” Mission coach Kevin Watrin said. “It was nice to see them rise to the occasion. When things were down, they could have easily packed it in. But they didn’t, and it was awesome to see.”
It was a bitter pill to swallow for the Hurricanes, who would have essentially clinched first place in the Eastern Conference had they been able to hang on.
“We had our opportunities to win, and we let it slip through our fingers,” head coach Paul Gill said. “The players are upset, and they should be – it’s not fun losing.
“But our kids played tough, played hard and played well. It’s a game of breaks, and they got them this time.”
BATEMAN 54, LANGLEY 0
Hansen’s loss left the door open for the Robert Bateman Timberwolves to sneak in and steal first place in the AA Eastern Conference. They take on Mission this coming Friday (3 p.m., Bateman Secondary) with a chance to create a three-way tie-breaking scenario between one-loss teams.
“It won’t be an easy battle,” head coach Alfred Brathwaite acknowledged, “but I think we’re up for it.”
The T-Wolves took care of business on Friday, blasting the Langley Saints behind another monster outing from Ben Cummings. The senior running back racked up over 300 rush yards and a pair of majors, while QB Tanner Friesen tossed a trio of scoring passes to Daniel Mills.
“(Cummings) had three other touchdowns called back because of penalties – he could have had another 200 yards easily,” Brathwaite marvelled.
ABBY SENIOR 14, SAMUEL ROBERTSON TECH 7
The Abbotsford Senior Panthers rode a stout defensive performance to their second victory of the season on Friday.
“We played really well defensively – for the most part, we shut down their running game and limited their passing game,” head coach Jay Fujimura said.
The Panthers’ margin of victory might have been larger if not for a couple of red-zone turnovers, but Grayson Marquardt rushed for 150 yards and a touchdown to spearhead the attack. QB Jordan Fox connected with Jordan Goheen for Abby Senior’s other major.
“It was really important for our guys to taste to some success,” Fujimura said. “They’ve been working really hard … and I was pleased to see them come out and play well for four quarters.”
MOUAT 48, KELOWNA 6
The Hawks improved to 4-2 in AAA Eastern Conference play with a dominant victory in the Okanagan.
Maleek Irons (11 carries, 182 yards, one TD), Manpreet Chhina (eight carries, 100 yards, two TDs) and Jacob Dodd (six carries, 56 yards, one TD) paced an outstanding rushing attack, while QB Hunter Struthers tossed scoring passes to Slater McRae and Jake Firlotte. McRae also returned a punt 75 yards to the end zone, while Levi Hua led the defence with three tackles.
The Bateman-Mission game is just one highlight on a terrific slate of games this week as the high school football regular season wraps up.
Hansen and Abby Senior re-ignite their crosstown rivalry on Saturday (1:30 p.m, Hansen Secondary), as the Hurricanes try to keep pace with the top teams in the AA Eastern Conference.
On the AAA scene, Mouat visits St. Thomas More on Friday (7:30 p.m., Burnaby Lakes) in a match-up of elite teams.