Mission Niners head coach Dave Hicks practised kicking converts for a reason – and all the tedious training finally paid off on Saturday.
One successful two-point kicking convert was the difference in the Valley Community Football League Championship junior bantam final, as the Niners edged Cloverdale 8-6 in Langley.
“The guys would always ask me why we’re doing kicking drills,” Hicks said, laughing.
The VCFL title win concludes a special season for the Niners, in which they didn’t lose a single game all year. Mission only allowed one offensive touchdown all season, on Saturday against Cloverdale.
The Niners fell behind 6-0 in the first quarter, as the teams battled for field position for most of the game. Windy weather put a strain on both team’s offence, but with about five minutes left in the first half, Mission finally broke through.
Niners running back Kurtis Flynn dashed 80 yards to get Mission deep into the Cloverdale red zone, and quarterback Ethan Anderson called his own number to tie the game up. The successful convert put the Niners up 8-6, and that would prove to be enough to clinch the title win for Mission.
“It’s been an absolutely incredible season,” Hicks said. “These kids were focused and dedicated all season long, and it’s been a very special year.”
Mission outscored the opposition 317-0 over eight games in the regular season, and also won Langley’s Golden Helmet and Surrey’s Bronze Boot tournament earlier this year. The Niners also shut out the competition in the VCFL semi-final.
The Niners played the final without most valuable player Tyson Black, and Hicks said the entire team stepped up in his absence. Fullback Jonathan Milne rushed for over 100 yards to fuel the Mission offence.
Defensively, Flynn led the way with over 10 tackles, while Mason Schaufelberger had a pair of quarterback sacks. Anderson and Michael Guitard each grabbed interceptions.
For more information on the team’s run, visit vcfl.ca.