Blame it on the snow if you like, but on Saturday the Mission Roadrunners played in the highest scoring game in the history of B.C. high school football.
Mission eventually prevailed 62-61 over the Ballenas Whalers in the Subway Bowl semifinal, which was played at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver. Most of the Roadrunners’ scoring came from senior Jesse Walker, who out-duelled Whalers’ star Coltin Laplante in a rushing battle for the ages.
“We couldn’t stop each other,” said Mission coach Danny Jakobs. “I watched the film and we were closing holes but we just couldn’t finish tackles.”
Walker and Laplante combined for 16 touchdowns (eight apiece), and each ran for more than 300 yards during the game. Four quarters wasn’t enough to determine an eventual victor, overtime was required after the two teams finished regulation tied at 54.
Mission scored in the final minutes of the fourth courtesy of a 48-yard touchdown reception by Reilly Demarco, to tie the game and force overtime. The Roadrunners were under similar pressure in extra time after the Whalers scored an early touchdown, but Walker ran for another score that simultaneously raised his team’s hopes and created a serious dilemma.
Jakobs says that, still down 61-60, the decision to go for the two-point conversion instead of the safer single point was made by his team captains. He let them make the call, and Walker proved them right by squeaking into the end-zone.
Walker would finish the game with 22 carries for 348 yards, an average of 15.8 yards per carry.
The Roadrunners have now knocked the Whalers out of the playoffs in four of the last five years. A Whalers alumnus is claiming that Walker’s knee was down in the backfield prior to his final touchdown run, and is requesting an apology from the B.C. High School Football Association for the alleged officiating error.
Whether or not the non-call was correct, the Roadrunners will meet the John Barsby Bulldogs on Saturday in a rematch of the 2011 Double-A Subway Bowl that Mission won 16-12.
“Barsby has gone back to their double wing, which is the offence they’ve played for years,” said Jakobs. “When we played them and beat them in 2011 they ran that double wing, so I’m intimately familiar with it. I’m just trying to get the boys to grasp how it works and how we’re going to defend it.”
The Roadrunners even tried their own experiments with the double wing offence this season, partially in anticipation of a Barsby matchup in the playoffs.
While Jakobs is obviously happy with his team’s progression to the championship game, he hopes the contest won’t set any further scoring records.
“I have no words for the game [against Ballenas]. I’ve never coached a game like that in my thirty years of coaching. I’ve never seen something like that, and I’m not sure I ever want to see it again. Well… maybe as long as we win,” Jakobs said, laughing.