The Mission Roadrunners couldn’t score a single point through two quarters of the Nov. 14 game against the Robert Bateman Timberwolves, but when they finally developed a taste for the end zone, the offence quickly became unstoppable. The Roadrunners scored 35 straight second-half points in a runaway victory over the Timberwolves that set up a semifinal clash against the Carson Graham Eagles.
Bateman perplexed the third-ranked Mission team early with a new offensive tactic the Roadrunners weren’t prepared to counter. Led by running back Austen Zacher and receiver Keenan Adams-Barausse, the Timberwolves put together several successful drives, but didn’t manage to put any points on the board.
“They really surprised us with their offence. It was a wildcat-type offence and they ran it well and we were slow to make adjustments,” said Mission coach Danny Jakobs. Understandably concerned after his team entered halftime tied 0-0, Jakobs gave his version of “the speech” to his players.
“I said, ‘Most of you have been with us since Grade 8 … and you’re pretty much putting in half an effort right now,’ ” recalls Jakobs. “ ‘Is this how you want it to end? You’ve worked your butt off in the weight room, you’ve played years of football with us. If you’re going to go out, you’re going to go out with a full effort.’ ”
It worked. Stymied on the first drive of the half, the Timberwolves botched the snap to their punter on the fourth down, and handed the ball back to Mission deep in Bateman territory. Roadrunners quarterback Jesse Walker made no mistake as he powered the ball through into the end-zone for the first score of the game.
Walker would add another touchdown rushing, and then a third one on a 75-yard punt return. Inder Herr added an 11-yard rushing score, and then threw a 45-yard TD reception to Reilly Demarco after taking over quarterback duties from Walker late in the game.
Landon Rayburn had 12 tackles and two sacks for the Roadrunner defence.
The game was played at Abby Senior’s Panther Field, since all playoff competitions must take place on turf. It’s the same field where Mission experienced their only conference loss (14-12 courtesy of Abby Senior) on Nov. 7, but Jakobs actually considers that memory a good incentive for his team.
“We needed a game like that against Abby where we were pushed, things didn’t go our way, we took too many penalties, and we lost,” he said. “It was a good loss for us. It refocused us and let us know that there are teams out there than can beat us.”
The Roadrunners are now one of eight teams remaining in Double-A competition for the Subway Bowl championship. They will take on Carson Graham at Panther Field on Friday at 3 p.m.